Bills defense shuts down Rodgers, Packers
Orchard Park, N.Y. — The Bills' defense has a dynamic duo: "Super Mario" and a newcomer named Rambo.
Credit them for helping rattle Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Bacarri Rambo came off the bench to replace injured backup safety Duke Williams to intercept Rodgers on consecutive drives in the second half. And veteran end Mario Williams put the finishing touches on a 21-13 victory Sunday by forcing Rodgers to fumble into the end zone for a safety with 1:51 left.
"It's a testament to what we do," defensive tackle Kyle Williams said, assessing how a dominating defensive effort contributed to keeping the Bills (8-6) in a jumbled playoff picture. "We've played against great quarterbacks, so the only expectation that we had was to play well and win a football game."
Marcus Thigpen scored on a 75-yard punt return, while Dan Carpenter hit all four field-goal attempts, including three in the second half.
The Bills are assured their first eight-win season since going 9-7 in 2004.
A week after ending Peyton Manning's consecutive game touchdown streak at 51 in a 24-17 loss at Denver, the Bills came away with a victory by putting the clamps on one of the NFL's most prolific offenses.
"I wouldn't say statement win," safety Aaron Williams said. "We went up against a Hall of Famer last week, why couldn't we do it again this week?"
The defense made up for a sputtering Kyle Orton-led offense, which was limited to 253 yards and 13 first downs. Orton finished 14 of 27 for 158 yards and an interception.
In the process, Buffalo put a halt to the Packers' five-game winning streak, and knocked Green Bay (10-4) from first place in the NFC North. The Packers and Lions are tied but the Lions own the tiebreaker.
"It was frustrating," Rodgers said. "Some days are going to be like this."
Rodgers went 17 of 42 for 185 yards, with two interceptions. He had been picked off just three times this season, and none since throwing two in Green Bay's last loss, 44-23 at New Orleans on Oct. 26.
It wasn't all on Rodgers, either, as he had little support from his receivers. That includes the usually reliable Jordy Nelson, who had a key drop late in the third quarter.
From his 6, Rodgers found Nelson wide open running up the right side. The pass hit Nelson in stride, but the ball glanced off the receiver's fingers.
"We had exactly what we wanted. We just didn't make the play," Nelson said. "I short-armed it and dropped it."
The Packers were limited to Eddie Lacy's 1-yard touchdown run and two field goals by Mason Crosby.