For the second week in a row, the Detroit Lions struggled in all facets of the game against a division rival. After dominating the Green Bay Packers in Week 4, the Lions made mistake after mistake in a game that was not as close as the 29-22 final score would indicate.
Let’s take a look at who performed well and who struggled in the Lions’ third loss of the season.
Dud: Jared Goff
Stat line: 29 of 44 for 332 passing yards, 103.6 passer rating, 2 touchdowns, 3 fumbles lost
After looking confident and decisive for most of the season, Goff has regressed over the past two weeks. His final stat line doesn't look that bad, except for the turnovers, but for those who watched the game, you could see how his decision-making was holding the team back.
Outside of the final drive, with less than two minutes remaining in the game and down two scores, Goff failed to consistently push the ball downfield. Yes, he had some splash explosive plays, but the lack of a downfield threat shortened the playing field and allowed the Packers to bring defenders closer to the line of scrimmage.
Now that’s not all his fault—more on that in a bit—but Goff’s confidence looked rattled by pressure, and he ended up forcing in this game more than he has all season. Goff got happy feet in the pocket and that often reduced the field for him. As he would flee the pocket, he would cut the field in half, and when you combine that with the Packers pinching up, the windows were too difficult to hit. That also often left some wide-open targets on the opposite side of the field that he no longer had as an option.
Additionally, his three turnovers were brutal but so were the three failed fourth down attempts (four if you count the failed fake punt). That’s six drives where the Lions ended up giving the ball back to the Packers in advantageous spots.
Goff can do better, he’s shown it. But today was rough.
Stud: Kalif Raymond
Stat line: 5 receptions on 5 targets, for 90 yards receiving, 1 carry, 6 yards rushing
The Lions shuffled their receivers a ton in this game, but none were more reliable than Raymond. In a game where Goff was forcing throws, Raymond consistently found himself open, typically over the middle of the field.
Dud: Offensive line
Stat line: 3 sacks allowed, 12 quarterback hits allowed
There aren’t many people who love good offensive line play more than I do, and the Lions offensive line is one of the best in the NFL, but today they struggled.
Before we jump into this section, it’s important to recognize that watching and judging offensive line play live is very challenging and you see much more when watching the game later, so take some of these thoughts with a grain of salt. That being said, while final blame on a sack allowed could shift to a different player, the bottom line is, the unit as a whole still gave up a lot of bad plays.
The Lions offensive line allowed three sacks to Rashan Gary (lining up on the Packers' right side), and a lot of the blame falls on Taylor Decker's shoulders. Again, all three sacks are not totally on him, as Goff scrambled and held onto the ball too long, leading to issues, but Decker has had better overall days.
Decker was not alone. Penei Sewell gave up multiple pressures on the day, after an incredibly impressive season where he has not allowed many pressures at all. It was also the timing of when he allowed his pressures, including on third and fourth downs.
Graham Glasgow was overpowered more than once in this game, Frank Ragnow got called for a rare hold, and rookie Colby Sorsdal was benched in favor of Kayode Awosika at the end of the first half. Awosika was also flagged for an illegal man downfield call.
A rough outing overall, but one they can and surely will bounce back from.
Stud: David Montgomery
Stat line: 15 carries 71 yards rushing, a touchdown, and a 2-point conversion
The Lions insisted on running the ball and Montgomery got the tough yards when they needed it. While Jahmyr Gibbs had a better statistical day and found different ways to contribute, Montgomery is the rock on which this running game is built.
Dud: Lions coaching staff
The Lions opening defensive strategy remains to play contain up front and zone defense behind them, but the massive hiccup in this strategy is that when they don’t generate pressure, it makes for easy targets downfield—and Packers quarterback Jordan Love took advantage.
Something has to give. Either they need to switch back to more man coverage downfield, and/or get home on the quarterback. Because this concept of sitting in contain and allowing the quarterback time to wait for receivers to uncover is not working.
Clock management was also an issue in this game and the lack of urgency and use of timeouts when playing from behind was frustrating. A few simple procedural decisions could have left the Lions with more options down the stretch.
Coach Dan Campbell is going to live and die by his decisions on fourth down. And while I love that about him, he died with those decisions in this game. The fake punt with 4 yards to gain inside your own 30 was predictable and the Packers were not fooled. The offensive playcalling from Ben Johnson on fourth downs also left much to be desired. There was little creativity or layering in the strategy, and more simple routes you would run on any given down.
Bottom line: Predictability and lack of adjustments put the players in tough spots.
Stud: Sam LaPorta
Stat line: 5 receptions, 8 targets, 47 yards receiving, a touchdown, a two-point conversion
LaPorta has been a stud for the Lions all season and with his production today, he became the rookie tight end leader in receptions and receiving yardage, as first pointed out by Detroit News Justin Rogers.