Three NFC North teams played games on Sunday. Only one of them won. The Detroit Lions topped the Rams 31-28 at Ford Field. The Cowboys pounded the Packers 30-16 at Lambeau and the Bears lost a heartbreaker 17-16 to the Jaguars at Soldier Field. Let’s break down the games.
Rams at Lions: 31-28 Lions
The Lions and Rams played an unexpected shootout on Sunday. The Lions marched down the field on the opening drive with a touchdown. Zenner had a 15 yard run and key 4th down conversion. Stafford hit Tate for 34 yards on a nifty screen and Stafford completed to Marvin Jones on a toe tap touchdown.
The Rams responded with a 10 play 75 yard drive. Case Keenum had all day to throw and Todd Gurley started the drive with a 15 yard run. Gurley rushed for two other first downs and Keenum hit Kenny Britt wide open for a 20 yard touchdown.
The Lions offense failed on the next drive as Tate dropped a ball and Zach Zenner was stuffed on 3rd and one. The Rams responded with another long drive with Keenum scrambling one yard for the rushing score. Los Angeles led 14-7.
Detroit countered with a TD drive again. Detroit marched 14 plays for 75 yards and tied the game on a 4th and 2 TD pass to Andre Roberts. Stafford made a great throw and Roberts made the grab despite interference by the Rams.
The Rams moved down the field with ease again. This was a 10 play 80 yard drive that was highlighted by a 43 yard grab by Kenny Britt. The Lions held strong in the redzone. Devin Taylor forced a fumble but the Rams luckily recovered. Glover Quin was charged with a bogus personal foul that gave the Rams a first and goal. Kenny Britt was stopped just short on the one yard line on 3rd down. The Lions stuffed Todd Gurley on fourth down with great plays by Tyrunn Walker and Stefan Charles. The Rams missed a big opportunity with no points.
The Lions defense was riding high and forced a three and out to start the second half. Detroit took advantage of an offside and hit Golden Tate deep for 62 yards. Stafford then converted a 4 yard pass to Anquan Boldin for the touchdown. Lions led 21-14.
The Rams weren’t done and hit Kenny Britt deep again who made an insane catch between his legs on the ground. Keenum hit Gurley to convert a 3rd down and Lance Kendricks for a TD beating Kyle Van Noy. The Rams tied the game.
Detroit melted with a three and out. The offense was out of synch for the only drive of the day. The Rams responded with a fourth long scoring drive. The Rams went 10 plays 80 yards capped by a 9 yard TD on 3rd down in the redzone to Kenny Britt. Britt broke two tackles for the score.
Detroit was not phased and went 84 yards in 13 plays. Detroit had 3 drops and a holding penalty on the drive but still moved the ball. A clutch 19 yard run on 1st and 20 by Zach Zenner really helped Detroit. Roberts and Tate caught 3rd down conversions and Tate had a nice 23 yard TD pass on a short throw. Golden had a monster 165 yard 1 TD day. Detroit tied the game.
Detroit defense became clutch and forced a three and out. Slay knocked down the pass and Detroit got the ball back. Detroit did what they do best and drive for a game winning score. Detroit went 44 yards in 9 plays with a clutch catch by Anquan Boldin and two nice runs by Zenner. Prater converted the 34 yard field goal.
Los Angeles had one final shot and for the second week in a row Detroit came up with a big interception. Keenum went deep down the middle and made his only major mistake of the day as Rafael Bush hauled in the interception. Detroit sealed the win and a 3-3 record. Stafford had a 138 rating and looks elite. Zach Zenner had 4.1 YPC filling in for three injured Lions running backs. Golden Tate finally exploded with a great game. The Lions protection was good most of the day against a solid Rams front 7. Anquan Boldin continues to be a clutch WR converting first downs and touchdowns. The Lions pass rush needs improvement
Jacksonville at Chicago: Jacksonville wins 17-16
Chicago built a 13-0 and 16-7 lead in the game. However, Chicago fell 17-16 with poor late defense. Hoyer had a 78 rating despite 302 yards but Borltes had an 84 rating in the comeback with a late touchdown. A 51 yard TD to Arrelious Benn was the back breaker for Chicago to fall behind 17-16. Jordan Howard didn’t run well at 2.3 YPC but Kadeem Carey did have some nice gains (5.6 YPC). Cameron Meredith had 113 yards and Jeffrey had 96 yards. The Bears defense just couldn’t hold on in the end and the offense fell flat with a lead. The Bears are now 1-5 and not looking good.
Dallas at Green Bay: Cowboys win 30-16.
Ezekiel Elliot ran wild with 156 yards and a TD. Dak Prescott was efficient again with 117 rating, 3 TDs and only one interception. Green Bay turned it over 4 times with 3 fumbles lost and one terrible Rodgers interception. Green Bay allowed touchdowns and only responded with field goals for the first three quarters. Lacy had 3.8 YPC battling a bum ankle and Rodgers had time but looked lost. This was a bad loss for Green Bay.
Green Bay (3-2) hosts Chicago (1-5) on Thursday night. Detroit (3-3) hosts the Redskins (4-2). The Vikings (5-0) travel to the reeling Eagles (3-2). The Vikings have control but Detroit is rising quickly. Rodgers needs to relax. The Bears are in trouble.