The Green Bay Packers take on the Detroit Lions in front of their home crowd on Thursday Night Football. Their first primetime matchup of the season comes against the division rival who knocked them out of playoff contention a season ago.
The Packers are coming off of a thrilling comeback win over the New Orleans Saints in the first home game of QB Jordan Love’s young career. The offense will be getting back Aaron Jones and Christain Watson this week, the latter making his first appearance this season. For the first time we will see the full potential of this offense, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
Defensively, the Packers will be without De’Vondre Campbell and top cornerback Jaire Alexander is questionable to play. Reports a couple hours before gametime claim Alexander is “leaning towards” not playing tonight, leaving Corey Ballentine and rookie Carrington Valentine to fill the void.
The Detroit Lions are no pushovers. With a 2-1 record, they are currently tied with the lead in the NFC North with the Packers. With convincing wins over the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs and the same Atlanta Falcons team that came back against the Packers earlier this season, the Lions are serious playoff contenders.
The winner tonight will take sole control of the division heading into week five. Who will come out on top in this sure-to-be thrilling matchup against two hot teams?
Despite a strong start off of a Rudy Ford interception on the third play from scrimmage, the Packers were simply dominated in the first half. They opened up the scoring with a field goal off of the turnover, but that would be their only points scored in the half. Detroit’s defense simply dominated them in all aspects.
The Packers couldn’t get a run game going, and the Lion’s pass rush wreaked havoc on the Packers injured offensive line. The Packers went three-and-out on every single drive in the first half save for two. One of these two drives ended in a Jordan Love interception, while the other drive was extended by a Detroit offsides penalty, but ultimately also ended in a punt.
The defense couldn’t stay off the field. They also couldn’t stop Detroit’s offense for the most part. Outside of the first drive, which ended on a Rude Ford interception, and one other drive in the second quarter, that featured two Detroit penalties, the Lions were able to score every time they touched the ball.
Before they knew what hit them, the Packers were down 24-3 to Detroit, responding to the game-opening interception with a touchdown on three of the next four drives and a field goal on the other. Just before the half ended, Detroit snuck in another field goal to extend their lead 27-3 heading into the locker room.
The second half was an improvement but not enough of one to change the outcome of the game. The Packers flirted with a comeback early in the half, scoring two touchdowns on their first three drives while holding Detroit’s offense to two straight punts.
With eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Green Bay was down 27-17. Detroit had the ball but faced a fourth down in Packers territory and attempted a field goal to extend their lead to 13. The field goal was good, but Packers linebacker Quay Walker, who had been having a stellar game thus far, got penalized for leaping over the long snapper. This penalty extended the drive, leading to one more Detroit touchdown, extending their lead to 17.
A second Love interception on the following drive put the game out of reach, and the Packers only mustered one more field goal the rest of the game, falling to Detroit 34-20 in their first matchup of the season.
Players of the Game
- Rashan Gary: Gary has been a frequent resident of our “players of the game” list and with good reason. Despite being on a snap count, Gary has still impacted the game in the limited amount of time he’s given on the field. On 14 pass rushing snaps, Gary logged another four pressures. Gary currently holds the highest pass rush productivity rate among edge rushers with at least two pass rushing snaps, according to PFF. When fully healthy, Gary will be a force on the defense, and the Packers need to do whatever they can to sign him to a long term extension.
- Romeo Doubs: Romeo Doubs had an excellent day despite the loss. Racking up nine catches for 95 yards, Doubs was the whole offense. Whenever the offense was able to get anything going, it was through Doubs. His connection with Love is fantastic and will be a vital part in this offense going forward. With Watson and Jones back long term, Doubs may get more looks as defenses will focus on containing them.
- Honorable Mention: Quay Walker: Despite the stupid penalty that essentially ended the game, Walker had a pretty solid outing. Walker recorded 19 total tackles, over double that of anyone else on the Packers, and did an excellent job shutting down Jahmyr Gibbs in the passing game. Walker has been off to a great start this season, and if he can limit the dumb penalties that have plagued his young career so far, he will be a great linebacker for the Packers for a while.
- David Bakhtiari was placed on IR in the hours leading up to the game due to his lingering knee injury. Later reports stated he’s timetable to return is unknown and he is likely to miss the rest of the season.
- Luke Musgrave suffered a concussion early in this matchup, he did not return. With 11 days before the Packers next matchup, he will likely return in time for it.
There’s no sugar coating it, this was an embarrassing loss for the Packers.
There were many issues with the Packer’s performance today, but one group that can receive the most blame in my opinion is the offensive line. Love was pressured on 20 of his 42 drop backs, a rate of 47.6%. This is atrociously bad. Inexperienced QBs like Love will struggle in these situations and it cannot happen again.
The Packers have had an issue at guard recently and now may be the time they consider bringing in someone else to replace Royce Newman or Jon Runyan. The Packers’ two starting guards have been easily the worst players on the Packers offensive line all season, and they won’t win many games with both of them in the lineup. With Jenkins out for a couple more weeks minimum, the Packers need to seriously consider other options.
Aaron Jones had six total touches in this matchup. It seemed like every single time he was on the field they used him as a decoy. This question has been asked too often for too long, but why does Matt LaFleur refuse to utilize his best offensive weapon in Aaron Jones? LaFleur is failing this offense by not using Jones and they won’t win games if he’s not involved.
The Packers drop to 2-2 on the year, a better start than many predicted. A loss to a division rival hurts, as now it is an uphill battle to remain competitive in the division. The Packers get plenty of time to rest, as their next matchup isn’t for 11 days. They will head to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders, who are currently 1-2 pending their matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. This will be the Packers second straight primetime matchup as they will play during Monday Night Football.