Insider: Thumbs up to Lacy, down to penalties

Robert Zizzo
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Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) fights for extra yards while making a run in the fourth quarter during Sunday's game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y.

The Big Picture

This loss wreaked havoc on Green Bay's playoff scenarios. It sent the Packers from the second seed in the NFC to the sixth seed. Essentially, they need to win out in their final two regular-season games to win the NFC North Division with a 12-4 record. That would place them anywhere from the first to the third seed. There are too many wild-card scenarios to get into in this space.

Thumbs Up

Eddie Lacy appears to be getting stronger as the season goes on. His 97 rushing yards Sunday pushed his season total to 940 and means he's averaged 98.25 yards in his past four games. On the Packers' lone scoring drive, the second-year running back accounted for 57 yards on five carries and scored on a 1-yard run. With John Kuhn at fullback, Lacy started the possession with runs of 15, 17 and 22 yards. Lacy also had two receptions for 11 yards.

Thumbs Down

Green Bay was uncharacteristically sloppy. Overall, the team had nine penalties, tying a season high, for 70 yards. The most costly came on offense. Four that stood out: Bryan Bulaga was called for a false start on third-and-4 that led to a three-and-out; Kuhn had a false start on first down at the Packers' 40; Sam Barrington was called for unnecessary roughness at the end of Tramon Williams' interception return, costing them 15 yards in field position; and the biggest might have been Josh Sitton's holding penalty that wiped out a 21-yard Lacy run.

Turning Point

There were a few plays worthy of being called the turning point, but one that might not be as obvious as Jordy Nelson's drop came with Buffalo holding a 19-13 lead and attempting to run down the clock. The Bills faced a third-and-4 at their 26-yard line with 4 minutes left in the game. If the Packers hold them and force a punt, they have the ball with between 3 and 4 minutes left and all three of their timeouts. But Green Bay blitzed dime corner Casey Hayward and Buffalo quarterback Kyle Orton hit tight end Scott Chandler for a 12-yard gain over the middle before safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix could make a play. That cost the Packers the rest of their timeouts and 2 minutes before they got the ball back.

Did You Notice?

• The Packers' third-down offense entered the game ranked third in the NFL (47.8 percent), while the Bills' third-down defense was ranked second in the NFL (33.7 percent). Something had to give, and it was the Packers' offense, which converted only 4-of-14 (29 percent).

• Randall Cobb's 96 receiving yards put him at 1,076 for the season. He joins Jordy Nelson (1,320) as the first Packers teammates since Donald Driver (1,061) and Greg Jennings (1,113) in 2009 to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving each in the same season.

• Mason Crosby's seven points pushed him past New England's Stephen Gostkowski (1,023) for the most points by an NFL player in his first eight seasons with 1,025.

• The Packers are winless in six games played in Buffalo.

• Green Bay's three second-half points were the fewest it's scored in the second half of a game since a Week 3 loss at Detroit, when it was shut out.

Rants and raves

• RANT: Midway through the third quarter and trailing 13-10, the Packers had a defensive blunder that kept alive a drive and led to a Buffalo field goal. It was third-and-4 for the Bills from their 41 when running back Bryce Brown split out wide left. Cornerback Sam Shields was covering him in the dime defense but blitzed at the snap. No other defensive back adjusted to cover Brown, who was all alone when he hauled in the pass and ran 40 yards to the Packers' 19.

• RAVE: Clay Matthews sacked quarterback Kyle Orton on consecutive second-half series. The first was on third-and-17 on a blitz up the middle and forced a punt, and the second was on third-and-6 from the Packers' 28-yard line. Matthews finished with four tackles, including two for losses, and two quarterback hits.

• RANT: The back-shoulder pass play, which Aaron Rodgers has perfected with Jordy Nelson in particular, was a mess. Three times, once each to Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, the play failed because the quarterback and receiver didn't read the defense the same way.

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