The Lions defense is for real
Teryl Austin is a magician. Despite being down numerous players in the secondary and losing Stephen Tulloch on Sunday, the Lions defense dominated the Packers. Aaron Rodgers finished with only 162 yards and one touchdown, and the Packers rushed for only 76 yards on 22 carries (3.5 average). This was one of the most impressive defensive displays for the Lions in a long, long time.
Aaron Rodgers threw for just 162 yards, or his second worst total in a game he's started and finished (142 v. MIN in 2008).— Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) September 21, 2014
Fewest points in a game Rodgers started and finished. Also just the sixth game of less than 16 points in his career— Packer Report (@PackerReport) September 21, 2014
Darius Slay and DeAndre Levy in particular had an impressive game for the Lions. Slay has been outstanding as the Lions' No. 1 cornerback this season, and he held Jordy Nelson to only five catches for 59 yards. And Levy is going beyond simply getting into the mix for the Pro Bowl. After recording 10 tackles, one tackle for loss, two pass defenses and a safety on Sunday, he is getting himself into the defensive MVP discussion.
Matthew Stafford needs to be sharper going forward
On paper, Stafford's numbers don't look that bad. He went 22-for-34 on Sunday and threw for 246 yards. However, he had no touchdowns, two interceptions and one lost fumble, and he just seemed off from the start of Sunday's game. He got better as the game progressed, and his performance in the second half was quite good, but the Lions need him to play at a higher level than he did on Sunday. The turnovers have to stop, and the Lions need him to be more consistent from an accuracy standpoint.
LaAdrian Waddle needs to return ASAP
In fairness to Stafford, the blocking situation in front of him was downright bad on Sunday. The offensive line as a whole seemed to struggle, and the right tackle spot in particular was a huge issue yet again. Garrett Reynolds continued to look overmatched at right tackle, and it's clear that Cornelius Lucas just isn't ready for regular playing time. Stafford was hit nine times by the Packers, and although he was only sacked twice, he took a beating. What's more, the Lions only managed to pick up 115 yards on 38 carries (3.0 average). They really need LaAdrian Waddle to return soon, and if he can't play this week, they need to consider bringing in outside help.