The Detroit Lions picked up a huge division win in Week 5 against the Green Bay Packers with a 31-23 victory. The Lions jumped out to a huge 24-0 lead, and then clung onto it desperately the rest of the way. Here’s how it played out.
The Lions’ offense got off to a promising start thanks to a couple solid runs from Kerryon Johnson to start the game. A few plays later, Matthew Stafford connected with Kenny Golladay on a beautiful 46-yard strike, but a penalty on Frank Ragnow nullified the play and put the Lions into a third-and-21 situation. The Lions essentially gave up with a draw play and Detroit wasted another good possession to start the game.
However, the Lions got a little lucky on the very next play. A short Sam Martin punt bounced in front of the Packers returner and appeared to have glanced off a different Packers player. The ball bounced all the way to the Packers’ 1-yard line before a Lions player scooped it up. It was ruled Lions ball, and replay was inconclusive. On the very next play, LeGarrette Blount punched it in from the 1. Lions 7-0.
Aaron Rodgers got the offense moving early thanks to picking on Teez Tabor. A 21-yard pass interference penalty moved them into Lions territory, then a 17-yard pass with Tabor in coverage put Green Bay in field goal position. However, the Lions’ defense stiffened up from there and Mason Crosby missed the short 41-yard kick, keeping the Packers off the scoreboard.
On the next drive, the Lions went full attack mode with the ball and Kenny Golladay made one of the best plays we’ve seen from a Lions player this season. RIP Ha Ha Clinton-Dix:
#Lions WR Kenny Golladay is a manpic.twitter.com/hYaCDrxTBX— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 7, 2018
Blount punched it in a few plays later and the Lions pushed their lead to 14-0.
Rodgers was back out there to try to bring the Packers closer, but they didn’t even get a chance to go three-and-out. On third down, Romeo Okwara hammered Rodgers from behind, forcing the ball loose, and Devon Kennard recovered, putting the Lions in great field position as we moved to the second quarter.
#OnePride#GBvsDET pic.twitter.com/c5wG8pzobl— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 7, 2018
Unfortunately, the Lions were only able to move the ball a single yard in the next three plays, and had to settle for a field goal. 17-0 Lions.
Much like the Packers’ first offensive drive, Rodgers put the Packers in field position thanks to a solid running game. But, again, Mason Crosby missed a short field goal, keeping the Lions ahead three scores, and giving Detroit’s offense solid field position.
Detroit got to midfield, and Stafford hit Golden Tate to move into the red zone, but another penalty negated the big play. Detroit would end up punting, but pinned the Packers at their own 12-yard line.
Mason Crosby continued to have a horrible, horrible first half. After Rodgers moved the Packers into field goal position yet again, Crosby missed his third field goal—this time from just 38 yards.
The Lions quickly gave the ball back to the Packers and it looked like Rodgers may lead the Packers to points before the end of the half. Da’Shawn Hand had other plans. The defensive end (tackle) strip-sacked Rodgers and recovered on his own.
ANOTHER ONE! pic.twitter.com/cfvbP5LUAP— Detroit Videos (@DetroitVideos) October 7, 2018
A few plays later, Matthew Stafford found Marvin Jones Jr. in the back of the end zone for a fantastic grab and a 24-0 lead. WHAT IS GOING ON?!
Pick your poison with the Lions receiving trio. Each one can kill the defense. pic.twitter.com/ONcWzXq05W— Detroit Videos (@DetroitVideos) October 7, 2018
LIONS 24-0 AT HALFTIME.
You aren’t going to keep down Rodgers forever, and the Packers quarterback made sure of that early in the second half. Green Bay methodically drove down into Lions territory and capped off an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a touchdown to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. They added a two-point conversion, bringing the deficit down to 16 points. Lions 24, Packers 8.
A terrible taunting from the Packers kept the Lions from going three-and-out, and Detroit started to move the ball. However, they stalled in Packers territory and a 56-yard attempt from Matt Prater was nowhere close to good.
Green Bay took the good field position and wasted no time scoring. Thanks to another fourth-down conversion from Aaron Rodgers, the Packers got into the red zone, and eventually punched it in with a 1-yard pass to Lance Kendricks. But this time, the two-point attempt was no-good, keeping it a two-score game. Lions 24, Packers 14.
Detroit’s offense worked its way into Packers territory, and set themselves up for a third-and-1 at Green Bay’s 38-yard line as we moved into the fourth quarter.
LeGarrette Blount converted with ease, and Kerryon Johnson bounced a run around the edge for 24-yards, giving the Lions another red zone possession. Again they punched it in with Kenny Golladay for a 5-yard touchdown. Lions 31, Packers 14
But Rodgers kept the pressure up. In just eight plays and under four minutes, the Packers answered, and Mason Crosby continued to be cursed, missing the extra point. Lions 31, Packers 20.
The Lions offense needed to keep scoring to keep Rodgers at bay, but an offensive pass interference penalty on Marvin Jones Jr (his second of the day), put Detroit behind on down-and-distance. Jim Bob Cooter essentially folded on the possession, running a draw on second and third downs, giving Rodgers the ball back with 5:47 to go.
You’ll never guess what happened next. Mason Crosby missed ANOTHER field goal, this time from 56-yards, giving the Lions good field position and a chance to put the game away.
Detroit did just that. A huge third-and-11 pickup from Golden Tate allowed the Lions to bleed all but one minute from the clock. Rodgers wouldn’t end up with some sort of miraculous comeback this time, and the Lions moved to 2-3 heading into the bye week.
We’re just a day away from the Detroit Lions’ bye week, and that means Sunday is going to set the tone for the next two weeks. A loss will drop the Lions to 1-4, and have fans checking out on the team for the foreseeable future. A win brings Detroit to 2-3, but 1-0 in the division, giving the Lions newfound life for the 2018 season... at least for another game.
The Green Bay Packers aren’t in quite as desperate of a situation, but at 2-1-1, they could use another win, especially inside the division. Unlike the Lions, who haven’t played an NFC North game yet, this will be the Packers’ third divisional game in this young season, and a move to 2-0-1 against the Black and Blue division would send a message that they’re real contenders for the crown this year.
Any divisional game is big this early in the year, but for both teams, this game could set the tone for the rest of the season.
Here’s how you can watch.
How to watch Lions-Packers
Date: Sunday, October 7, 2018
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Ford Field—Detroit, MI
Week 5 TV Map: Courtesy of 506 Sports here
Announcers: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake
Online streaming: Fox Sports Go
Local radio: WJR-AM NEWS TALK 760
Radio announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown
Odds: Packers by 1