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Notes: National media blown away by Lions’ stomping of Packers

Everywhere you look, experts are amazed at the transformation of the division signaled by Thursday’s beatdown in Lambeau.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

Immediately following the game, the post-game crew on the Thursday Night Football broadcast absolutely glowed when it came to the Detroit Lions’ performance against the Green Bay Packers, as well as the Lions’ fanbase. They had quarterback Jared Goff on the post-game show and talked about how he came back from a bad start to play extremely well.

Then there was also this:

What about the rest of the football world? Well on Friday morning, Good Morning Football on NFL Network opened with 15 minutes of coverage on the game and it was basically all about the Lions. Instead of blaming the Packers' miscues for handing the game to their opponent, this was the Lions taking the win in commanding fashion. A big chunk of the segment is up on YouTube and makes for great watching. Former pro defensive back Jason McCourty kicked off the review with a hilarious take on the home team’s entrance:

JASON MCCOURTY: “It was all downhill for the Packers once Lil’ Wayne was running out of the tunnel with them.”

KYLE BRANDT: “Really?”

MCCOURTY: “Yeah, it’s not a boxing match. What are we doing? We got Lil’ Wayne, he’s way down here (makes a gesture showing short height) and the players are way up there (gestures way up above his head). I’m like rewind that (peers into the camera), what was that?”

The message he had regarding Goff and the play of the field was similar to the post-game show crew’s reaction, though:

MCCOURTY: “But this Lions team. You just talked about Jared Goff, you talked about resilience. Yesterday you talked about his story, you said this is a guy that was on top of the world. Opportunity to win the Super Bowl, then he’s traded to Detroit. And then you watch him last night.

“The way the game starts. He throws a terrible interception to Rudy Ford and then you’re like ‘all right this Packers team, they’re ready to go!’ It’s at Lambeau. Second play of that drive, Aidan Hutchinson sacks Jordan Love. They end up kicking a field goal from the same exact spot they got the ball. They gained zero yards.

“This Lions team, in the first half, put the game to rest. That very next drive we see a double move by Amon-Ra St. Brown (that) leaves Rasul Douglas in his steps. Shoes are still there, he’s trying to run barefoot to get to him in the end zone, how bad he shook him on that double move.

“And then they just kept going for the rest of the half. It was unbelievable. You’re watching two teams here, and you’re just like ‘I didn’t realize the Lions overmatched the Packers this bad.’”

Verdict from McCourty: “Lions dominated that one from beginning to end.”

Next up was Peter Schrager, who agreed: “Primetime game. National TV in the home where they have lost for the last three decades, and they go in there and they absolutely own it. By the end of it, not only is Jared Goff talking that bleep, it’s all Lions fans in Lambeau celebrating. And they’re there to the end of the game. It’s quite a surreal scene if you’ve been watching football in recent history.” What’s really interesting is what came after that, though. Pointing out the Packers mounted a comeback to pull the game close in the second half, Schrager “thought the drive that will define this Lions team this season—their toughness, their physicality—was the drive in the fourth quarter.”

Schrager continues as the highlights roll: “They get the ball at their own 20, and they just decide to shove the ball down this Packers defense’s throat. Basically saying ‘we are the new heavies in this division. It’s no longer you guys. We did it last year in Week 18. We’ll do it again’... they drive all the way down the field and they eat up the clock. They totally take the souls of the Packers out of their bodies.”

Verdict from Schrager: “The last two games? This team? It’s not the razzle-dazzle Lions we thought we were going to get. It’s shove the ball down your throat, play good defense, get out of there with a victory. They absolutely owned the Packers. They are clearly the number one team in the NFC North as we start Week 5.”

When it was Kyle Brandt’s turn, he pointed out “they’re exciting for more reasons than just their record. When you watch them, they’re clearly well-built. Like, they just have good personnel. And they showed Brad Holmes a lot on the broadcast last night. Their D-Line is really good. Their O-Line is really good.” Then staying on personnel, he raved about David Montgomery and brought up this graphic:

Verdict from Brandt: “They’re making the right choices. They come up, they’re rolling the dice and it’s coming up exactly what they want. That’s just so new and it’s so fresh. And you watch them, and whether it’s Hutchinson or Penei Sewell, or all these guys. They’re a little bit bully-ish, they’re a little bit mean, and they out-physicaled the Packers. It’s not like this cool Calvin Johnson down the field Matthew Stafford. It’s just like ‘we’re tougher than you, we run it a LOT.’ Montgomery’s a big part of that and they are by far, BY FAR the best team in the NFC North. It’s really, really cool.”

How powerful was the Lions’ ground game? Former lineman Geoff Schwartz had a fantastic breakdown of one of David Montgomery’s three touchdowns on Twitter to show the all-around excellence in both execution and scheme. Let’s take a short sidebar with Schwartz for a minute.

“This play right here might answer the question of: ‘could an average joe score an NFL touchdown?’ I don’t know, feels like you can with the way the Lions scheme this up,” Schwartz said.

It’s four minutes and absolutely worth watching for the explanation of the way Sam LaPorta’s assignment widens the hole by design (plus a great block by Josh Reynolds).

To close the GMFB video out from earlier, Jamie Erdahl observed how surprising and “old school” the Lions ground game is but changed gears and marveled at the performance of the pass rush. “The defensive line. From the get-go. That was unbelievable.” She flashed back to Peter Schrager picking Alim McNeill as one of his players to watch last year and continued to praise the entire unit:

JAMIE ERDAHL: “The way the line is putting things together and just rushing guys and collapsing down in on the pocket. It shouldn’t surprise us that the Steelers and the Cowboys are the league leaders right now in sacks. It’s like 13 and 12. The Lions are right there. They’re at 13.”

“I know they played last night, but what they are piecing together in terms of making the quarterbacks uncomfortable... and in their division? Kirk Cousins should be worried. The Vikings should be worried, the way their offensive line has played. Justin Fields should be scared. This Lions defensive line is remarkable.”

All around the national media, experts were equally impressed by how thoroughly the Lions handled the Packers. Here is a sampling of extremely enjoyable viewing.

Rich Eisen had a 14-minute segment of his show posted to YouTube breaking down the big win where he said (at 5:06 in the recording) the “Lions are a better team on the road. They are excellent at shutting you up. They have a certain presence when they show up in your house that they are prideful, these Lions. To come in and show you what they are made of. In front of your home fans and undress you and beclown you. And the Lions now lead this division by a game and a half over a Packers team that is banged up and is left wondering what the HELL was that?

Colin Cowherd on his show said “Detroit’s better than Green Bay. Even with Aaron Rodgers, they were better than Green Bay, but Aaron was good enough to keep the games in suspense. Jordan Love’s not there yet. This was a blowout. This was UGLY. So you give Detroit the better quarterback in this matchup with the better roster, yeah it’s not close. Also, Detroit, both their coordinators are gonna get interviewed for head coaching jobs next year. Their O-Line? Top 3 or 4 in the NFL. What you’re seeing with Detroit—and this is what good businesses and good teams do—they had a vision, and they’re patiently putting it together.

Dan Patrick echoed that sentiment of the Lions being a well-constructed team on his show. “Look at how the Lions were built. If you go back... March of 2021. The Lions trade Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff and some draft picks. The draft picks turned into Jameson Williams, Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta, and a few others. In 2021 they got Penei Sewell with the seventh pick overall. In 2022 they took Aidan Hutchinson with the second pick overall. Those are impact players.” Patrick goes on to argue Jared Goff is often overlooked because he doesn’t get “style points” even if he puts up great numbers that almost every other team would die for. As with Cowherd, Erdahl, and Brandt, he makes the case that the quality in the trenches are crucial to the Lions’ success.

On NFL Network’s show The Insiders, Tom Pelisserro and Adam Schefter were joined by Judy Battista to react to the Thursday Night Football game. Battista was shocked by the prevalence of blue in the stadium and said in disbelief “the Lions have gone into arguably the two hardest places for a visiting team to play in the entire NFL and won both games—Arrowhead and Lambeau—in prime time and it’s only Week 4 of the season! Really impressive by the Lions.” Adam Schefter thinks “they’re really good, but they’re also just tough, physical, and pretty nasty. And to (him), these are the kinds of things that can win in like December and January. Which, you know, it’s starting to look like that’s where the Lions may end up this year.”

Now, on to the rest of your weekend Notes:

  • Trench Warfare’s Brandon Thorn posted his first True Sack Rate update, which tries to adjust credited sacks for how much the sacks depended on things the credited player did. Aidan Hutchinson is just outside the top ten through Week 3 at the 13th spot on the list.

  • Relevant information to the above Aidan Hutchinson is doing very well even when he doesn’t get a sack, and James Houston was crushing it in situational usage before he got hurt:

  • Yeah, Hutch is pretty good.

  • Also from Trench Warfare’s Brandon Thorn we have some Graham Glasgow appreciation:

  • Happy Birthday to Lions Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson:

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