Jclombardi’s highlights Packers headlines.
Guest senior writer jclombardi @ http://lombardiave.com
Rogers’ day goes from ho-hum to hubba-hubba: The Aaron Rodgers who was uncharacteristically off target in the season opener and pretty mediocre in the first half Sunday against the Buffalo Bills is not the quarterback who will lead the Green Bay Packers to the Super Bowl. The only guy who has a chance to do that is the Aaron Rodgers who lit up the Bills in the second half of a 34-7 victory at Lambeau Field. It was enough to win the home opener and the second half should stand as some kind of impetus for next week when the Packers travel to Chicago to meet the Bears on Monday night. “We’re 2-0, they’re 2-0, it’s going to be a big game,” Rodgers said.
Finley makes Bills pay for single coverage with big day: Packers tight end actually saw the light of day against the Buffalo Bills, who were not as intent on double- and triple-teaming him Sunday in the Packers’ 34-7 victory. The result was the return of the big play for the tight end position. Finley grabbed four catches for 103 yards, and while he didn’t score a touchdown, all four of his receptions – 34, 32, 22 and 15 yards – came on scoring drives. “He caught the same amount of passes (last week), it was just finding ways to get him the ball in space, down the field,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said.
Green Bay running backs feel loss of Grant–gain only 71 yards: The whole point of this game, said Kuhn, was to build some confidence for the backs – “to know without Ryan we can still be productive,” he said. “There’s definitely room for improvement out there.” “As a group, we could do a little bit better job,” said tackle Mark Tauscher. A combination of things went wrong. Jackson confessed that he didn’t always hit the hole with the right timing. Jackson admitted that there weren’t always major holes at the line, either. “Well, some were there, some weren’t,” he said. “It was clogged up most of the time, but you’ve just got to watch the film and learn from it.”
OT Bulaga gets his opportunity–Clinton hurt: Bryan Bulaga era at left tackle for the Green Bay Packers might get under way much sooner than later. Venerable Chad Clifton was lifted for the Iowa rookie midway through the second quarter and didn’t return Sunday in the Packers’ 34-7 victory over the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field. Clifton clearly struggled in his four-series, 27-play stint. Using subjective judgment, he had nine poor plays before being replaced by Bulaga. “He has an issue with his knee,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I felt that he just didn’t look like he was fully recovered, so I thought it was important to get Bryan in there. “He didn’t look good today. He didn’t look healthy. We’ll assess it in the morning and set our plan for next week.”
LB Hawk goes from zero to prominent on defense: He played almost the entire game at Lambeau Field, matching linebacker Nick Barnett with a team-high nine tackles. The performance came after Hawk expressed displeasure to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he didn’t play a snap on defense in the regular-season opener at Philadelphia. Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Hawk and Chillar were used in separate variations of the nickel package. Hawk was able to stay in the game more because Buffalo likes to run when in a three-receiver set.
Halftime jolt inspires Packers to rout of Bills: McCarthy was so anxious to get to the locker room that he held on to his only remaining timeout with a minute left in the first half instead of using it to stop the clock. We’ll spare you the specific details on McCarthy’s dive into the Ryan playbook — the New York Jets coach’s foul mouth has become legendary, thanks to HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series — but it seemed to have produced the desired result. Playing like an actual Super Bowl contender in the second half, the Packers stomped the hapless Bills. Rodgers had two touchdown passes and ran for another over a span of three drives that helped the Packers (2-0) turn a 13-7 halftime lead into a rout. Afterward, McCarthy’s players pointed to his fiery speech as the wake-up call they needed to throttle a Buffalo team that might struggle to win a game this season. “You could see it in his face, the intensity,” Packers linebacker Nick Barnett said. “Everybody felt the same. You could feel it in the locker room.”