The Detroit Lions were hoping to respond to their Week 1 heartbreaking loss to the Chicago Bears with a big upset against the Green Bay Packers this week. Unfortunately, they didn’t even come close. The defense was lifeless, the offense made far too many mistakes and the coaching staff, again, let the team down.
In the end, the Lions lost 42-21 in a game that wasn’t competitive after the second quarter. Here’s how it happened.
The Lions will be missing six starters due to injury: cornerbacks Justin Coleman and Desmond Trufant, wide receiver Kenny Golladay, guard Joe Dahl, right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai and defensive tackle Nick Williams. Additionally, the Lions have scratched third-round pick Julian Okwara. Okwara wasn’t listed on this week’s injury report, so it’s unclear as to why he isn’t playing on Sunday. The rookie only played in seven snaps last week against the Bears.
Meanwhile, the Packers will be missing defensive tackle Kenny Clark, weakening Green Bay’s already struggling run defense. This could be an opportunity for the Lions to keep the ball on the ground and play keep away from Aaron Rodgers. We’ll see if they can succeed, as kickoff is just a few minutes away.
The Lions offense got off to a hot start. T.J. Hockenson immediately picked up 29 yards on a nice catch from Matthew Stafford. Then Kerryon Johnson took over. On the first drive alone, Johnson rushed the ball five times for 20 yards and the game’s opening score. From 2 yards out, Johnson saw little resistance from the Packers defense, as he gave the Lions a 7-0 lead.
The Packers responded with a nice drive of their own. Detroit almost has Green Bay stopped at midfield, forcing a fourth-and-6. However, Aaron Rodgers connected with Alan Lazard for a 10-yard play on fourth down to keep the drive alive. Detroit would stiffen up there, holding the Packers to a 43-yard field goal and keeping the lead for the Lions. 7-3 Lions.
But the Lions offense stayed hot. D’Andre Swift caught passes of 9 and 14 yards to get the Lions downfield. Adrian Peterson popped off a big 25-yard run driving Detroit into the red zone. Then Stafford found Marvin Jones Jr. at the goal line for a 4-yard touchdown.
Rodgers and the Packers offense responded with ease. In 10 plays, Green Bay went 75 yards without even facing a third down until the final play of the drive. Rodger found running back Aaron Jones in the flat wide open, as he strolled in for an easy 7-yard touchdown catch. 14-10 Lions.
The Lions could add to their lead on the next possession. Oday Aboushi took a personal foul penalty, forcing the Lions into a tough third-and-25 situation. A screen pass later, and the Lions were punting from midfield.
The Packers couldn’t produce a score on the next drive, giving the Lions an opportunity to go up two scores with a two-minute drill. Unfortunately, the Lions came out passive, running the ball, hoping to make sure Rodgers didn’t get the ball back. After Stafford took a sack on second down, a holding penalty on third down stopped the clock, and give Green Bay all the time they needed to score, and Rodgers did exactly that.
Aided by two personal foul penalties on Will Harris, Rodgers easily led the Packers down the field on a four-play, 62 yard drive. Rodgers found Robert Tonyan for the 11-yard score that put Green Bay up for the first time in the game.
The Lions managed to get to midfield and attempt a 57-yard field goal, but Matt Prater pushed it wide right and the Lions went into the second half down.
Aaron Jones made the Lions pay on the very first play of the second half. Jones split the defense entirely on a 75-yard run to open the third quarter.
The Lions offense responded with their second three-and-out in a row, and it felt like the wheels were coming off.
However, just as it looked like the Packers were going to score again, Jamie Collins Sr. picked up a sack on third down, pushing Green Bay out of field goal position and keeping it a 10-score game.
But on the first score of the Lions’ subsequent drive, Matthew Stafford threw the ball right into the hands of Packers cornerback Chandon Sullivan for a pick-six. 31-14 Packers.
Detroit offense continued to struggle. A failed third-and-1 conversion resulted in the Lions’ third three-and-out in five possessions. The Packers would add a field goal as the game moved into the fourth quarter 34-14 Packers.
The Lions offense finally responded. A good mix of runs and passes got Detroit into Packers territory. From there Stafford needled a nice pass to Marvin Hall for a 24-yard touchdown, bringing the Lions within two possessions. 34-21 Packers.
But the Lions defense just continued to hemorrhage yards both on the ground and through the air. The Packers went 74 yards in just seven plays, capped by 14 yard run from Jones, his third touchdown of the day. 42-21 Packers.
Detroit didn’t put up much of a fight from there.
In the end, the Lions just looked completely out of gas by halftime. The defense can’t stop the run nor the pass. The offense has its bright points, but goes through too many dry spells to keep up.
The Lions are 0-2 and the hot seat is getting hotter for Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn.