Offense Stalls As Lions Maul Packers
Quarterback Matthew Stafford scored his first career win over the Packers, throwing for 330 yards and three touchdowns, leading his team to a 40-10 blowout and their first win on Thanksgiving in nine years at Ford Field.
After losing to the resurgent 3-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers during week 11 of the season, it seemed the Packers had an opportunity to capitalise on the Lions’ inconsistencies after a dramatic comeback against the Minnesota Vikings. But on both sides of the ball the Packers never seemed up to the task – allowing 561 yards of total net offense from Detroit while only managing 126 yards themselves.
During the first half, it appeared that the Lions may make enough mistakes to keep the Packers in the game until the end, as two costly fumbles – one recovered for a touchdown – and a missed field goal allowed the Packers to limp into the dressing room with the score tied at 10-10.
The second half saw more dominance from Detroit, who ran the ball without much resistance against the woeful Packers’ defensive front, allowing 117 rushing yards on 20 carries and a touchdown from Reggie Bush and 97 yards and a score from Joique Bell.
Stafford’s passing game too, was firing on all cylinders during the remaining 30 minutes, despite two interceptions by the Packers’ defense that had major difficulties trying to cover the deep and bulky Detroit receiving corps.
Benefitting from the variety of offensive firepower were Calvin Johnson – who had yet another monster day with 101 yards – and former Packer Jeremy Ross who caught a touchdown pass and was very dynamic on special teams – returning punts and kickoffs.
Johnson’s 20 yard touchdown grab, which tore through the Packers’ secondary in the third quarter to make the score 17-10, put all but the final nail in the coffin, sparking a run of 30 unanswered points. The Green Bay offense continued to struggle mightily against Detroit on the ground and through the air.
Quarterback Matt Flynn on the other hand failed statistically to live up to the high bar he set the week before, with just 139 passing yards and a pick, due to a lack poise and crucially a pocket to pass in.
Flynn was sacked seven times (including one for a safety), and had no help from running back Eddie Lacy to help open up the passing game, as the rookie from Alabama suffered the worst full game performance of his short career with a measly 16 yards on just 10 carries.
There really wasn’t much to write home about for the Packers aside from Mason Crosby’s 54 yard field goal in the first half, which only adds to what has been a stunning bounce back year for the formally embattled kicker.
It was another crippling defeat for the Packers, adding to what has been a disastrous 0-3-1 month of November. It is clear now that head coach Mike McCarthy is finding it hard to stay positive as the number of games remaining on the schedule gets smaller.
“We’re in a hole. We thought we were in a hole going into the Detroit game,” said McCarthy
“We’ve got two division losses and a tie. That’s not where you want to be. This league is exciting each and every week, and that’s the way you have to approach it. Let’s get back to .500 and see what happens.”
Aaron Rodgers is hoping to return for this weekend’s matchup against the free-falling Atlanta Falcons, whether it’s too late to make a playoff run now remains to be seen as the team find themselves at a crossroads.
The Packers are now 1.5 games back from the Lions in the NFC North standings with just four regular season games left to play.