The Detroit Lions (1-2) comeback attempt fell short to the Green Bay Packers (2-1) at Lambeau Field. It was a beautiful day for football with yours truly in attendance. Unfortunately, I witnessed my first Lions loss ever in person.
The Lions lost the game 34-27 after the referees handed the Packers 15 extra points in the first half of the game. Green Bay’s second TD of the game had obvious holding by the Packers offensive line that was uncalled. The defensive pass interference called on Nevin Lawson against Trevor Davis was about as bogus as you can get as their feet were tangled up only which is incidental. Also, it is incredibly dumb that the penalty is a spot foul. The rule needs to be changed to 15 yards.
Finally, Jordy Nelson clearly pushed off for OPI on Darius Slay for the Packers 4th touchdown. Given the “OPI” called on Eric Ebron last week, this was the most egregious non-call of the entire game. The Lions found themselves down 31-3 late in the second quarter. The Lions led by Stafford (112 rating) and Marvin Jones (205 yards and 2 TDs) made a valiant effort outscoring the Packers 24-3 the rest of the game but a Rodgers scramble saved the Packers in the end. If Ziggy Ansah and DeAndre Levy play in this game, the Lions could have continued their streak at Lambeau.
First Half Packer Dominance plus Referee Incompetence
Green Bay had a great drive to start the game and marched down the field 75 yards. Davante Adams scored on a nice slant route for 14 yards for the early 7-0 Packers lead. A 15 yard first down to Jared Cook and 33 yard first down to a wide open Randall Cobb highlighted the drive for the Packers.
Detroit responded with a long drive of their own but had to settle for a field goal. Detroit went 15 plays for 52 yards eating up over 8 minutes of the first quarter. Prater nailed the 42 yard field goal to cut the score to 7-3.
Green Bay got the ball on the 40 yard line after another stupid rule was enforced. Sam Martin had a great golf shot to pin the Packers inside their own 5 yard line but the Packers player was out of bounds. The Packers get awarded the 40 yard line for doing absolutely nothing. Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson matched up on linebacker Thurston Armbrister for a 49 yard gain. The Lions forced a 3rd down in the redzone but the Packers were able to score to Jordy Nelson after egregious holding by the Packers offensive line. It should have been a penalty and 3rd and very long but the Packers went up 14-3.
The Lions went 3 and out and the Packers got the ball again with decent field position on their own 33 yard line. Green Bay was stuffed on a run but went deep on second down. Nevin Lawson was unjustly penalized when his legs got tangled up with Trevor Davis. Bogus spot foul of 66 yards. Rodgers hit Richard Rodgers for the easy 2 yard score and erroneous 21-3 Green Bay lead.
The Lions did not respond well as Damarious Randall had a fluke interception ripping the ball out of Eric Ebron’s hands as he was going to the ground. Ebron has an injured back which explains this interception. The Lions defense held strong despite the Packers starting in the Lions redzone. Green Bay led 24-3 after Crosby nailed his field goal.
The Lions countered with another long drive. The Lions marched into Packers territory with Dwayne Washington running well. However, Prater missed the 43 yard field goal and it was just that kind of day for the Lions.
Green Bay again marched right down the field. However, on a crucial 3rd and 2 on the redzone, Rodgers went for Jordy Nelson in the endzone. Nelson clearly pushed off on the fade route against Darius Slay but the refs kept the flags in their pockets. Green Bay was award yet another touchdown when they should have had a penalty against them. The Packers led 31-3. This is unbelievable referee incompetence.
Detroit woke up. Stafford hit Marvin Jones on the sidelines who stayed in bounds and ran all the way down the field for a touchdown for 73 yards. The Lions saved some face and were down 31-10.
The Packers had a chance for more points with 3 time outs but a Kerry Hyder sack (his 4th of year) ended that and forced half time.
Second Half Lions Come-Back
Detroit got the ball to start the second half and again marched down the field for the fourth time on the day. This time Detroit converted a 4th down into a touchdown to Anquan Boldin in the redzone. The Lions had life down 31-17 early in the third quarter.
The Eddie Lacy show too over with four good runs. The Packers got into field goal range but finally the referees decided to properly call holding on a Rodgers scramble. Rodgers scrambled a second time and got into field goal range. Crosby converted his second attempt the Packers were up three scores again (34-17).
Detroit had the momentum and moved the down field 50 yards with ease. The drive stalled with more referee incompetence. Stafford hit Marvin Jones for 19 yards on a 2nd and 20. Jones really got 20 yards but they spotted it poorly. Laken Tomlinson committed a false start and then Stafford was sacked by Nick Perry on 3rd down. Prater still converted the 52 yard field goal to change the score to 34-20. The referees could have cost the Lions four more points here.
The Lions defense finally woke up and stopped the Packers in five plays. Quandre Diggs had great coverage on third down to break up a pass intended for Randall Cobb. Detroit got the ball back but their offense did not take advantage. Detroit punted after five plays due to 2 sacks by Green Bay. Kyle Fackrell and Nick Perry both sacked Stafford on 1st and 3rd down. Detroit had to punt unfortunately.
Detroit defense was there to stay and forced another punt. A key drop by Trevor Davis helped the Lions on first down and then the Lions bottled up Starks on a run and a screen. The Packers nearly had a disaster with a high snap on the point but Schum got it off just in time.
Detroit earned a 6 play 62 yard drive when they needed it. Marvin Jones was wide open in the endzone for 35 yard score. Jones had 205 yards and 2 TDs on the day. Marvatron.
The Lions had 3 timeouts and just needed a quick stop like the last two drives. The Lions forced a key 3rd and 8 but Rodgers had all day without Ziggy Ansah rushing and ended up scrambling 11 yards for a first down. Adams caught a 9 yard pass and Lacy ran for a first down on 2nd and 1. Green Bay could kneel from there. The Lions come-back attempt was thwarted but it was come-back they never should have had to make.
Stafford had a 112 rating with 3 TDs and 1 interception (not his fault) with 385 yards. Rodgers had 4 TDs and 128 rating with 205 yards on 24 attempts.
The Packers stuffed the run with Ameer Abdullah out. Dwayne Washington ran well other than a goal line stuff but had 10 carries for 38 yards. The Packers held Detroit to 2.2 YPC but Detroit still scored 27 points and missed a field goal.
The Packers and Lions didn’t get enough pressure but had 3 sacks and 2 sacks respectively. Nick Perry had 2 big sacks in the second half and Fackrell had the key sack to hurt the come-back.
Eddie Lacy had 17 carries and 103 yards. Lacy had a big day and the Lions didn’t have an answer with ailing linebackers. The Packers ran for 5.1 YPC despite James Starks struggles. Aaron Rodgers had some huge scrambles including the game clincher in the end. His legs are a weapon.
Jordy Nelson led the way for Green Bay with 101 yards and 2 TDs. However, Detroit was stupid and put a back-up linebacker on him in the slot for 49 yards and he pushed off on Slay for 17 yards (TD). We’ll see if Nelson is back or if this was just a fluke.
Marvin Jones had a monster day and Eric Ebron had a nice day with 69 yards. Golden Tate had four crucial first downs and Boldin had another red zone touchdown. The Packers did a good job bottling up Theo Riddick rushing and receiving (39 yards).
Detroit did not force any turnovers which was costly. Green Bay got the one pick (Ebron’s fault) which they turned into 3 points on a short field.
Green Bay gets an early bye (Week 4) and 3 more home games (Giants, Cowboys, Bears). The Packers are set up nicely in the first half of the season at 2-1. The Cowboys and Giants may be a bigger test than expected though.
Detroit travels to Chicago for a must win game at Soldier Field. The Bears (0-3) are awful and the Lions must rebound after falling to 1-2. The Eagles, Rams and Redskins should be decent challenges and the Eagles actually look really good. We’ll see if Detroit can get in the playoff race these next four weeks.