I know what you're thinking, "There were five good defensive plays against the Packers?" Believe me, it was a struggle to put together a list this week. Not only did the Lions not force any turnovers, but they only had two total sacks. The defense did play pretty well in the first half, but things quickly fell apart in the second half.
Anyway, here is the rundown of the top five defensive plays for the Lions on Thanksgiving:
No. 5 - Lions' stop of Packers on third-and-one in second quarter
The theme of the first half for the Lions defense was dominance on third-and-short. As you will see below, the Lions experienced a lot of success in short-yardage situations in the first half on Thanksgiving, including at the end of a long drive early on in the second quarter. The Packers needed only one yard to move the chains, but they decided to pass instead of run and pressure on Aaron Rodgers forced an incompletion.
No. 4 - Lions' stop of Packers on third-and-three in first quarter
The Lions also forced a three-and-out on Green Bay's second drive of the game thanks to Eric Wright pushing Greg Jennings out of bounds a yard shy of the first down marker. This isn't an extremely noteworthy play, but it was another solid stand on third-and-short.
No. 3 - Lions' stop of Packers on third-and-two in first quarter
The final stop on third-and-short to make this list came on the first drive of the game. The Packers had easily moved down the field and into Lions territory, but the defense stood tough and forced two incompletions in short-yardage situations. This allowed Detroit to escape the first drive without allowing any points and set the tone for the rest of the first half (as seen above).
No. 2 - Justin Durant's zero-yard sack on Aaron Rodgers in fourth quarter
After scoring a touchdown and converting a two-point conversion to make this a two-possession game, the Lions needed their defense to step it up and make a stop. On third-and-four near midfield, that's exactly what they did thanks to Durant sacking Rodgers. The offense went three-and-out after getting the ball back, but Durant at least gave the Lions a chance to make things interesting with the sack.
No. 1 - Cliff Avril's seven-yard sack/forced fumble on Aaron Rodgers in third quarter
Although the scoreboard already read 24-0 at this point, Avril deserves recognition for getting yet another sack that forced a fumble. The Packers unfortunately got the ball back, but Avril now has 7.0 sacks and five forced fumbles this season. He needs two more sacks to set a career high in that category, and he has already forced more fumbles this year than any other season in his career.