Rodgers shoulders load as Packers rout Bills 34-7
Aaron Rodgers already shouldered plenty of pressure with the Green Bay Packers before losing starting running back Ryan Grant to a season-ending ankle injury last week.
Rodgers is even picking up the slack in the running game, too.
Rodgers ran for a touchdown that was punctuated by an ugly ''Lambeau Leap,'' threw for two more scores and didn't commit a turnover in Green Bay's 34-7 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
While Rodgers scrambled for 20 of Green Bay's 91 yards rushing, the rest of the running game was quiet. Starter Brandon Jackson gained 29 yards on 11 carries with one score and fullback John Kuhn added 36 yards on nine attempts.
''Any time you get a win, 34-7 looks good, but again we feel like we can play better in this offense for sure,'' said Rodgers, who also finished 19 of 29 with 255 yards to eight different receivers.
The quarterback certainly has a lot more options by air and the Packers (2-0) appear ready to rely on that until they can figure out how to mount a significant running attack again without Grant, their back-to-back 1,200-yard runner.
Jermichael Finley and Donald Driver caught four passes each, while Greg Jennings and James Jones added three more receptions apiece.
Coach Mike McCarthy was more curious than concerned about what Green Bay showed on the ground.
''It's a little difficult when you use running back by committee,'' he said. ''It's a little harder for those guys to get into the flow, and I understand that.''
It also took a fiery, expletive-laced halftime speech from the coach with the Packers ahead only 13-7.
''If we had lost this game, it would be devastating,'' linebacker Nick Barnett said. ''He was very levelheaded but at the same time, at the end, I'm sure he was frustrated. ... You could see it in his face, the intensity.''
Intensity is something the Bills seem to be lacking. They haven't been able to get into any flow with a second straight anemic offensive performance. Buffalo (0-2) had 186 total yards, 20 more than in last week's loss to the Dolphins.
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews sacked Trent Edwards three times to give him six this season and Green Bay forced two interceptions.
Edwards finished 11 of 18 for 102 yards for a passer rating that was a 37, more than two points lower than if all 18 of his passes fell incomplete.
''Let me just get one thing straight, this is a new year right now, we're not sitting here, a lot of the guys that are here weren't here the past couple of years so there's no reason for them to be frustrated if they weren't here,'' said Edwards, who had dried blood on his right elbow and grass stains all over his No. 5 uniform. ''We've put in a lot of effort, a lot of time, a lot of coaching, to have this result is pretty frustrating.''
Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson didn't run the ball well. Rookie C.J. Spiller was sharp on special teams, but not a factor on offense. The Bills' top playmaking receiver - Lee Evans - didn't catch a pass and was only targeted one time, when he drew a pass interference call for an offense that just keeps sputtering.
''I don't know that I have the answers right now,'' first-year coach Chan Gailey said. ''It's probably taking longer than I had hoped that it would. But we're going to find the answers to whatever it is and make whatever adjustments need to be made. That's my job, to get it fixed.''
Gailey was brought in to revive the dormant offense. It hasn't happened yet.
Buffalo didn't gain a yard in the first quarter and only looked in rhythm momentarily when Jackson scored on a 3-yard run to cap an 80-yard drive early in the second quarter to cut Green Bay's lead to 13-7.
In the second half, Edwards was picked off by Brandon Chillar in Bills' territory after receiver Steve Johnson couldn't haul in the ball.
''That's all on me,'' Johnson said. ''It wasn't 5's fault. It wasn't the line's fault. I take that blame because it did touch my hands. I should have come up with it.''
Rodgers then threw a touchdown pass to Driver on third-and-goal from the 7 and scored again late in the third quarter with a 9-yard scramble that had his teammates laughing when he had a hard time leaping into the stands to celebrate with fans.
''I think that's my third one and the guys were giving me a hard time on the sideline,'' Rodgers said. ''Look, I was tired. That was a long way to run, my calves are cramping and that wall's pretty high.''
Rodgers capped his day by hitting Jones with a 30-yard TD pass to make it 34-7 with the Bills being flagged for having 12 men on the field.
''It was definitely a better decision-making day for me,'' Rodgers said. ''The second half was more the way I'm capable of playing and the rhythm I feel like I should be playing with.''