The Detroit Lions didn't make it easy early on thanks to a rough first half, but they absolutely dominated the Green Bay Packers for their first win on Thanksgiving since 2003. The Lions outgained Green Bay by a margin of 561-126 and won by a score of 40-10. The victory was quite impressive, and this easily could have been an even more lopsided score if not for some bad turnovers. Needless to say, it was finally a fun Thanksgiving in Detroit for a change.
From a yardage standpoint, the Lions came out absolutely roaring in the first half, and Green Bay didn't really have an answer for how to stop them. Actually, I take that back. The answer was to let the Lions shoot themselves in the foot, which they did often in the first half. Case in point: On the game's opening drive, the Lions moved down the field with ease before Reggie Bush broke his guarantee and fumbled the ball away to Green Bay inside the 10-yard line.
After the Lions forced a stop, the offense put together another excellent drive. It included a 13-yard run by Bush and a 12-yard run by Joique Bell, who later went for 27 yards on a screen. The drive stalled inside the 10, but at least the Lions got a 27-yard field goal out of it to take a 3-0 lead.
The Lions continued to make mistakes on the ensuing kickoff, as Sam Martin booted it out of bounds. The Packers took over at their own 40 as a result, and they managed to get in field goal range despite not having much success outside of a 16-yard pass to James Jones. This led to a 54-yard field goal by Mason Crosby, tying things up.
The game wasn't tied for long thanks to yet another brutal turnover. On the opening play of the next drive, Matthew Stafford had the ball knocked loose by Detroit native Nick Perry. Morgan Burnett picked it up and returned it for a touchdown, putting the Packers on top by a score of 10-3.
Things continued to go poorly for the Lions with Stafford throwing an interception on the next drive. The Lions quickly drove into Green Bay territory thanks to a 24-yard end-around by Jeremy Ross on third-and-1, but Stafford was picked off two plays later.
After the Lions defense came up with a big stop by forcing a three-and-out, the offense finally managed to finish a drive. A 32-yard pass to Bush down the sideline on third-and-4 got things rolling, and a 26-yard pass to Dorin Dickerson of all people on third-and-1 put the Lions in position to score. They did just that two plays later on a 5-yard pass to Ross, who came to play against his former team.
Following another Packers three-and-out, which included a sack by Stephen Tulloch, Ross had a 35-yard punt return. This put the Lions in excellent position to score again, and they made it happen on a 1-yard run by Bush. One play earlier, he had a 23-yard run to set up the touchdown, which gave the Lions a 17-10 lead.
Ziggy Ansah helped force another Packers three-and-out with his second sack of the game. The Lions wisely used their timeouts, and they got the ball back at their own 37 with around a minute left. Stafford put the Lions in field goal range with passes of 16 yards to Calvin Johnson and 18 yards to Kris Durham, but David Akers somehow pushed the 31-yard attempt wide right. As a result, the Lions went into halftime leading the Packers only 17-10 despite outgaining them by a ridiculous margin of 340-43.
The Lions opened the second half by forcing another three-and-out, this time thanks in part to a sack by Louis Delmas. The offense picked up where it left off in terms of moving the ball, and it did actually find the end zone. Johnson had gains of 19, 12 and 20 yards on third downs on this drive, and the 20-yard gain went for a touchdown. Now up 24-10, the Lions were hoping to turn this into a blowout.
After another kickoff went out of bounds, Devin Taylor bailed out Martin by forcing a fumble on the first and only play of the next drive. Matt Flynn had the ball knocked out of his hand and it was recovered by C.J. Mosley at the Green Bay 37. The Lions were unable to turn the great field position into points, though. On third-and-10, Stafford threw it up for grabs in the end zone and Johnson couldn't come away with it. Sam Shields did for the interception, keeping the Packers in the game for the time being.
Green Bay finally moved the chains on the second play of its next drive, and the Packers got another first down on an unnecessary roughness penalty by DeAndre Levy. It was one of those hits that gets flagged in today's NFL despite the fact that there wasn't much he could do. In any case, Levy made up for the penalty on third-and-6 a few plays later by picking off Flynn. It was Levy's sixth interception of the season, putting him in the NFL lead in that category.
The Lions failed to turn the turnover into points, but they did get down to the Green Bay 38. A nice punt by Martin was fair caught at the 5-yard line, and the Lions' defensive line feasted on Flynn down by his own goal line. Taylor sacked him again on first down, and Ndamukong Suh dragged him down in the end zone for a safety on second down.
Following the safety, the Lions quickly put the nail in the Packers' coffin with a 1-yard touchdown run by Bell. The TD was set up by a 36-yard pass to Durham and a 19-yard run by Bell, and it made this a 33-10 game.
After another three-and-out for Green Bay, the Lions poured it on with a dominant drive, which came after a 60-yard punt return by Ross was negated by a questionable holding call. It worked out for the Lions in the end, because they went 75 yards on 11 plays and took 7:18 off the clock. Detroit ran the ball on the first 10 plays of the possession before Stafford found Kevin Ogletree in the end zone for a one-handed touchdown grab. The 20-yard TD was the exclamation point in this one, as it put the Lions on top by a score of 40-10.
The Packers did finally do something positive on their final drive of the game with a 56-yard pass to Jones (Darius Slay was covering him), but it didn't matter considering Flynn fumbled the ball away to Willie Young on a botched snap one play later. The Lions put Shaun Hill in the game to take a knee and run out the clock as the celebration began for an impressive 40-10 victory.
Especially after that rough first half, the Lions really needed a game like this. They showed how dangerous they can be when they aren't making mistakes, and they now have control of the NFC North going into Week 14, when they will take on the Philadelphia Eagles on the road.