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By the Numbers: Drops and Run/Pass Ratio Doomed Packers' Offense in Buffalo

We take a close look at the stat sheet to find out what numbers can explain the Packers' poor performance on Sunday.

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Numbers and statistics, as they so often do, tell us far more than the final score of a football game can. As we look through the detailed stat sheets, we find out details that both the naked eye and the simple box scores might hide. Let's take a look at the stats that can help tell the story of the Green Bay Packers' 21-13 loss to the Buffalo Bills.


That was the number of combined quarterback pressures allowed by starting center Corey Linsley and right tackle Bryan Bulaga (according to Pro Football Focus). Both drew tough matchups, with Bulaga mainly matched up on Mario Williams and Linsley dealing with Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams; however, both players threw a clean sheet in pass protection and were big reasons why Aaron Rodgers was only hit twice on the day.


Aaron Rodgers threw 41 passes on Sunday. Players not named Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson caught only five of them. Eddie Lacy had two, while James Starks, Andrew Quarless, and Davante Adams had one each. Furthermore, Quarless and Adams each received four targets. The Packers' secondary receiving weapons had poor performances in a game which required them to be bigger factors.


Though the NFL does not keep track of dropped passes explicitly, PFF credited the Packers' receivers with six of them (by our count it was seven, with a second drop for Jordy Nelson not being accounted for). Obviously, the most egregious of these were Nelson's drop on a sure-fire 94-yard touchdown and a bullet over the middle to Jarrett Boykin, who let the ball bounce off his hands and over to Baccari Rambo for an interception.


This was the difference between the teams' average starting field position on Sunday. The Bills' drives started on average at their own 35-yard line, while the Packers began back at their own 21 instead.


The Packers ran just 22 called running plays in their 67 offensive snaps that did not involve penalties (a number which does not include Aaron Rodgers' three scrambles on passing plays), for a called run/pass ratio of 33/67. With the success Green Bay had on those plays -- just under 6 yards per carry -- it is a little stunning that the team did not stick with the run game more, especially since the game was within one score for almost the entire 60 minutes. Whether the blame for that lies with Rodgers or Mike McCarthy is an interesting debate.


The Packers were more base-heavy in their defensive formations this week, which makes sense since the Bills are a run-oriented offense without high-level quarterback play. One of the ways this can be seen is in Letroy Guion's snap count - he participated on 45 of the defense's 68 snaps, or 66%. That can be compared to last week, when Guion played on just 42% of the team's plays (28 out of 67 total).


This was Aaron Rodgers' "true" accuracy rate, which eliminates batted passes and accounts for accurate throws that were dropped by receivers. For a quarterback like Rodgers, this is astoundingly low; this number was 69% against the Falcons on Monday and 75% against the Patriots the week before, and even with this week's performance it sits at about 75% for the season. This gives further credence to the idea that Rodgers was off on Sunday.


We mentioned the running game earlier, but it bears discussing yet again. The Packers picked up 158 yards on the ground in Buffalo, which was the fourth straight game in which the team rushed for at least 130 yards. Eddie Lacy has been a big part of that success, averaging just under 100 yards per game himself in that span and has reached at least 4.6 yards per carry in each of those contests.