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Officiating controversies allows Packers to mount comeback, defeat Lions 23-22

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Gross.

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Well, this is going to be a horrible week to endure. The Detroit Lions, once again, got out to an early lead. Once again, they blew it and couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch. Aided by a couple of very, very questionable calls, the Green Bay Packers mounted a nine-point fourth quarter comeback and defeated Detroit 23-22. Here’s how it happened.

First quarter

The Detroit Lions got the ball first and boy did they come out swinging. On the very first play, Darrell Bevell called a flea flicker and Matthew Stafford found Kenny Golladay for 66 yards.

Unfortunately, Stafford flubbed two of the next three plays, fumbling the snap on first down and tripping over his own feet on third down. Still, the Lions quickly got on the board with a chip-shot field goal. 3-0 Lions.

Detroit’s defense answered with a quick three-and-out. Justin Coleman picked up where he left off, knocking a ball loose from Packers receiver Geronimo Allison to force the incompletion on third down.

Stafford answered with another bomb on the second drive. This time, he hit Marvin Jones deep for a 58-yard bomb and the Lions were in the red zone again.

However, the team wouldn’t waste the opportunity on this one. After a clutch third-down conversion by T.J. Hockenson, Kerryon Johnson just barely crossed the goal line on fourth-and-goal and the Lions were up two scores. 10-0 Lions.

It looked like the Packers were about to counter, as Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay to midfield with a few checkdown passes. But A’Shawn Robinson stripped Aaron Jones and the Lions recovered the fumble at their own 32-yard line.

Detroit responded with another solid offensive drive, but struggled in the red zone. Hockenson appeared to pull in a 2-yard touchdown catch, but the ball jarred loose when he hit the ground. The Lions settled for another chip-shot field goal. 13-0 Lions.

The next drive got off to a rough start, as Sam Martin sent the kickoff out of bounds, giving Rodgers the ball at the 40. Green Bay worked their way down the field methodically, with questionable holding penalties called on both teams—one bailing the Packers out on a failed third down. And just as it looked like the Lions had the Packers stopped again, they fielded 12 men in the huddle as Green Bay lined up for a field goal, giving them a fresh set of downs. Two plays later, Jamaal Williams broke two tackles on his way to the end zone. 13-7 Lions.

Detroit was hoping to make it four scoring drives straight, starting off strong with a 22-yard pass to Kenny Golladay, but Detroit stalled at midfield and punted for the first time in the game. Martin was able to pin Green Bay at their own 6-yard line.

But Green Bay’s offense started to roll. Thanks to a 45-yard run from Williams, the Packers were just 10 yards away from taking the lead after a somewhat dominant half from Detroit. But a holding penalty on first down set them back and they couldn’t recover. Still, they ran the rest of the clock and tacked on a field goal to bring it to a three-point game. 13-10 Lions.

Third quarter

The Packers got the ball to start the second half, and they quickly moved down the field thanks to a personal foul penalty on Tracy Walker and a 25-yard pass to Marcedes Lewis. But Detroit stiffened up from there and forced another field goal. 13-13 tie.

The Lions couldn’t answer, and went three-and-out, but the Packers made a fatal mistake on the punt. Darrius Shepherd was blasted by Dee Virgin, forcing the fumble and Detroit recovered on Green Bay’s 25-yard line. Unfortunately for Detroit, they couldn't do anything it and had to settle for a 41-yard field goal. 16-13 Lions.

Thanks to a first-down sack from Damon Harrison Sr., the Lions defense got a quick three-and-out, giving the offense a chance to go ahead two scores. Detroit was able to draw their way over midfield, but still struggling to run the ball, the Lions stalled. Thankfully, Matt Prater was good from 51 yards, pushing the Lions’ lead to 19-13 Lions.

The two teams would trade punts as the third quarter ended with six-point Lions lead.

Fourth quarter

But Green Bay would open up the final stanza with a huge 46-yard pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The Lions defense would be opportunistic, though. Shepherd bobbled a potential touchdown pass, and Justin Coleman picked it off and took it to midfield.

The Lions could only turn that into three points as a reviewed pass showed that Kerryon Johnson dropped a third-down conversion. Luckily, Matt Prater converted from 54 yards, pushing the Lions’ lead to two scores. 22-13 Lions.

It, once again, looked like the Lions had themselves a stop, but a brutal (and objectively incorrect) hands to the face penalty gave Green Bay a free first down on what should have been a third down sack.

A couple plays later, Rodgers hit Allen Lazard for a 35-yard touchdown and the Packers would not go slowly into the night. 22-20 Lions.

The Lions were able to move to midfield, but Marvin Jones Jr. dropped a third-down pass (after a potential pass interference went uncalled on the previous play). The Lions punted the ball away with under seven minutes left, giving the Packers a chance to take the lead late.

Chunk by chunk, the Packers worked their way into field goal range and bled nearly all the clock along the way. And when Detroit finally got their stop, yet another illegal hands to the face penalty called on Trey Flowers gave the Packers a first down and the opportunity to run out the clock. This one was just as bad as the first.

The Packers would kick their chip shot field goal and win the game. That’s all I have to say about that.

Pregame

Week 6 proved just how good the NFC North may be. The Minnesota Vikings obliterated the Philadelphia Eagles, moving to a 4-2 record and second place in the division. As it currently stands, the NFC North is the only division in which all four teams have a winning record. In fact, no other division even has three teams over .500. This division will not be decided in October or November. This is coming down to the final couple weeks of the season.

That being said, the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers have an opportunity to make a statement on “Monday Night Football.” The winner takes first place in this competitive division, but much more is at stake in terms of perception.

The Packers already have two wins in the division and a third would make them the odds-on favorite to run away with this thing.

The Lions are coming off a bye week after a close loss to the Chiefs that suddenly doesn’t look quite as impressive. In fact, their entire 2-1-1 resume is not looking all that great given the current trajectory of the Eagles and Chargers. They need an undeniable statement win to prove they belong in the “contenders” category. Monday night is that opportunity.

The Lions have won four straight against the Packers, but Aaron Rodgers has only played in a full game in one of those. If Detroit is going to truly own this rivalry, a win in Lambeau in front of a national audience is a good way to do it.

Here’s how to watch the game.

How to watch Lions-Packers

Date: Monday, October 14, 2019
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: Lambeau Field — Green Bay, WI
TV: ESPN
Week 6 TV Map: Courtesy of 506 Sports here
Announcers: Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lis Salters
Online streaming: WatchESPN,Yahoo Sports app
Local radio: WJR-AM NEWS TALK 760
Radio announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown
National radio: Westwood One
Radio announcers: Kevin Harlan, James Lofton, Hub Arkush
Odds: Packers by 4.5