Ugh. Possibly the only way to sum up this game. The Lions went out and laid an egg early. Despite a solid effort late they could never recover and they lost 34-27 to the Green Bay Packers. Despite the ugliness of this game and the fact that it's upsetting to talk about, there were thoughts that popped into my mind during this game. These are those thoughts.
Congrats Lions. You're the "Pack is back" team
This happens every year. The Packers don't get out to the start that everyone thinks they should. Everyone says "What's wrong with the Packers?" or "Is Aaron Rodgers regressing?" Then the Packers go and have a great game against a subpar team and then those quotes turn into "The Packers are back" or "Aaron Rodgers is just fine." The Lions got to be that subpar team today. So good work.
It wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be
When the Packers got out to a 31-3 lead in the second quarter, I'm sure most of us thought that the Lions were in for a really long day. And in many ways they were, but you have to give credit where credit is due. Matthew Stafford and the offense never backed down and continued to fight. Ultimately, he brought the Lions within seven points. Unfortunately, the defense did Detroit no favors all game long, including the final drive where they failed to get a stop that would have given them a chance to tie. More on the defense now.
Offense good. Defense really, really bad
How bad is "really, really bad"? Jake Schum punted exactly one time. That's really bad. That means the Packers scored on every drive except the one they punted on, the one where the half ran out and the one they went into victory formation on. The Lions defense is quickly making a case to find themselves ranked 32nd in the league. This team has given up 84 points in three weeks. They have to be better.
Stafford and Marvin
Just the two of them. Building castles in the sky, just the two of them: Jones and Matt. Say what you will about everything else, but on this day, Stafford and Marvin Jones were money. As they have been all season. It's odd. Most would have thought that Golden Tate would be in Jones' role right now. Whether it be injury related or Tate just not playing as well lately, there seems to be no connection or chemistry there. Marvin Jones has slid right in and taken that spot. On Sunday, Marvin had the best game of his career—may have saved my fantasy team, too. Six receptions for 205 yards and two touchdowns. 38.50 fantasy points. You're a bad man, Marvin. Stafford has to feel happy about this relationship he's developed with with Jones at the very least.
Paging all linebackers
This past week, I spoke with the guys over at Acme Packing Company on their podcast. Basically my thoughts were that Aaron Rodgers would eat all day when he saw Thurston Armbrister and Tahir Whitehead lining up across from him. I was apparently spot on. Aaron Rodgers attacked and attacked and attacked that area on the field some more. He threw for four touchdowns until the Lions could somewhat figure out how to stop the bleeding. This is not going to work anymore. The Lions have to get on the phone this week and bring in one or two guys to help out until their guys are healthy. Call A.J. Hawk, DeMeco Ryans, or maybe just call this more than willing participant:
Ashlee Palmer (@ashpalmer58) September 25, 2016
Let me just settle in for a second and be a crybaby fan for once. The Lions are infuriating to me sometimes. Sunday was one of those times. One year the offense is the problem. The next year, the defense is the problem. Why can't this team just fix both problems at the same time for once? Not sure if that's asking too much or not. It's sad to look at the Vikings without Adrian Peterson and a quarterback that looks like a poor man's Ryan Reynolds—and has been a poor man's version of himself. The Vikings are a team that should be failing apart, but they have their defense to bail them out. At this point, wouldn't that be slightly nicer than Stafford setting another passing record?
When is enough, enough for Bob Quinn?
This is way too early to bring this up, but I question it today because this is not the start the Lions hoped they'd get out to. Injuries can only account for so much of the bleeding. At some point, you have to look at Teryl Austin and wonder if he's a one-hit wonder. Then you have to wonder if Jim Caldwell is easily expendable. Like I've said before, it's too early. But losing games to opponents you can't afford to lose games to has to bring up the idea that maybe Jim isn't the man for the job anymore. Even if the Lions do wind up making the playoffs. there's a clear hump. It doesn't seem like Caldwell is going to get them over it.
A favorable stretch
The Lions may be 1-2, but they find themselves entering a really nice stretch starting next week. In this stretch, the Lions will take on three back up quarterbacks, a rookie quarterback and and a first-year starting quarterback. Time to take advantage of that. Go on a nice run and find yourself going into the bye week with a winning record. You still have to hope this team gets healthier. A broken down defense can make the lousiest of quarterbacks look incredible. The Lions have had a bad habit of doing that in the past.
Here's the fork in the road Lions fans. This team either rolls in a favorable stretch, or finds themselves firing somebody before the bye week again. Which will it be? Be sure to leave your comments below or come chat with me on Twitter @POD_Payton.