The Green Bay Packers fell behind early and couldn’t make a second straight miraculous comeback as they fell to the Lions 34-20 at Lambeau Field. The Lions controlled the trenches on both sides of the ball and clearly looked like the better team. The Packers rally was too little, too late. The loss dropped the Packers to 2-2 on the season, the Lions took over sole possession of first place at 3-1. Here are 10 things we learned from the Packers loss to the Lions:
First Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: The Packers Had a Chance to Get a Big Advantage Early
The highlight of the game for the Packers may have come on the first possession. Rudy Ford picked off Jared Goff and gave the Packers the ball deep in Lions territory. Unfortunately, the offense went three and out and took a sack. The Packers had to settle for a 34-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Had the offense scored a touchdown, the Packers would have had more momentum and a better chance. Instead, Detroit got inspired after their defense held the Packers to a field goal and they never looked back.
Second Thing We Learned: The Packers Offensive Line Was Dominated
The Lions defense outplayed the Packers offensive line in this game from start to finish. The Packers allowed five sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Jordan Love spent much of the game trying to escape wave after wave of Lions pass rushers.
The left side of the offensive line couldn’t stop Aiden Hutchinson who led the Lions with 1.5 sacks. Left tackle Rasheed Walker struggled throughout the game and left guard Royce Newman was overwhelmed by the Detroit pass rushers. The right side wasn’t great, but they were better than the left side.
The Packers need to get Jenkins back quickly and figure out a way to protect Love better or they will struggle to move the football again.
Third Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: The Running Game Never Clicked
The Packers didn’t run the football early and never really got the running game untracked. Aaron Jones played but only had five carries in the game for 18 yards. A.J. Dillon only carried five times and gained 11 yards.
The offensive line couldn’t open holes for the runners when running plays were called and that didn’t give the running backs much of a chance.
By the time Matt LaFleur started to call running plays, the Packers were behind by three scores. When you rush for just 27 yards on 12 carries in a game, you don’t win too often. Basically, the running game was a non-factor in this game and that’s not a recipe for success.
Fourth Thing We Learned: The Packers Run Defense Was Also Overwhelmed
The Packers run defense couldn’t stop the Detroit running game. David Montgomery carried 32 times for 121 yards while Jahmyr Gibbs added 40 yards on just eight carries. Add a 40-yard run on an end around by Kalif Raymond and the Packers allowed 211 yards on the ground and 4.9-yards per carry.
Detroit’s offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage especially in the first, second and fourth quarters. The Packers simply had no answer.
Fifth Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: The Play Calling Failed to Adjust
Throughout the first half, the Packers offensive line struggled to protect Love. However, LaFleur continued to call for passes that took seven-step drops that required the offensive line to block for long periods of time.
In the third quarter, the offense started to change their approach, but this should have happened sooner before the Packers trailed by 24 points at the half.
Sixth Thing We Learned: Quay Walker Played Well But…
Inside linebacker Quay Walker led the Packers with 19 total tackles, more than double the total of any other defensive player. He was all over the field making plays and had a good game when fellow starter De’Vondre Campbell was inactive due to an injury.
But then Walker made another boneheaded play at a key moment in the game. The Lions led by 10 points and the Green Bay defense forced them to attempt a field goal. The kick was good to put Detroit ahead by 13 but Walker was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after lining up a yard behind the line of scrimmage and jumping over the long snapper.
This is against the rules. The Lions took the points off the board and finished the drive with a touchdown run by Montgomery. Instead of having a chance to overcome a 13-point deficit with roughly eight minutes left, the Packers trailed by three scores with six minutes remaining. Game over.
Walker cannot take foolish and unnecessary penalties which undermines his otherwise strong play.
Seventh Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: Romeo Doubs Played Well
The second-year man out of Nevada caught nine passes for 95 yards on 13 targets and was Love’s most reliable target over the course of the game.
Watson finished with two catches for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Eighth Thing We Learned: Jordan Love Finally Hit a Long Pass But…
Love has struggled to complete long passes in the first three games although he did draw many pass interference calls on long throws. Against the Lions, he finally hit one deep downfield, a 44-yard pass to Jayden Reed on the final play of the third quarter.
It was a perfect throw delivered under pressure and the ball was placed right where it needed to be.
The only problem was the game clock had clearly expired just before the Packers snapped the ball so the play shouldn’t have taken place.
Nobody hesitated so the play itself wasn’t any different, but the Packers were fortunate it counted.
Ninth Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: Another Starter Was Lost Injured
Starting tight end Luke Musgrave left the game with a concussion and did not return. He finished the game with one catch for one yard.
The Packers don’t play again until a week from Monday and then have their bye, so hopefully Musgrave won’t miss more than one game at most.
His replacement, fellow rookie Tucker Kraft, caught two passes for five yards. Those were the first two catches of Kraft’s NFL career.
Tenth Thing We Learned: The Lions Are the Class of the NFC North Right Now
The Packers didn’t quit after falling behind, but the Lions were the better team on this night in all three phases of the game.
Detroit is 3-1 and they already have road wins in Kansas City and Green Bay. Their offensive and defensive lines were dominant, and they look to be a team on the rise.
If the Packers hope to win the NFC North, they will need to beat out the Lions for that honor. The rematch is Thanksgiving Day in Detroit.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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