Legendary senior writer, Packers lead blogger & NFC featured columnist jclombardi’s insider reviews & grades.
GAME BALLS: WR Jones. OLB Matthews. CB Shields. LG Sitton.
INJURY REPORT: Center EDS (knee).
PASSING OFFENSE: F vs D- vs F. With little protection, QB Flynn had a horrible performance. He only completed 10 of 20 passes for 139 yards, interception, 2 fumbles, and 51.9 passer rating. He got sacked seven times with some sacks due to holding on to the ball too long. He completed only 2 passes longer than 10 yards. WR Jones had 3 receptions for 79 yards. RB Lacy had 2 receptions for 23 yards.
Lions played a heavy dose of what’s called trail coverage. In trail coverage, a corner will stay tight to the receiver and run hip-to-hip with him. They’ll do that against a quarterback with a weak arm for two reasons: No. 1, they figure the chances are the ball will be underthrown or thrown behind the receiver; No. 2, they figure even if they get beat, they’ll have time to recover because the ball will hang in the air.
RUSHING OFFENSE: F vs F vs F. To stop Lacy, defenses stack the box bringing safeties down, bringing corners in, and bring personnel off the slot. In this game, the Lions stacked the box daring the Packers to throw the ball. Even worse, the offensive line got overmatched with RB Lacy devoured by the Lions. He had only 10 carries for a paltry 16 yards, although he had 18 yards after contact.
GRADING OFFENSIVE LINE (7 sacks): LT Dakhtiari was awful (4 pressures & 3 sacks), Center Dietrich-Smith was generally solid, RG Sitton was solid, C/RG Lang was shaky (½ pressure & 3 bad runs), RG Newhouse was awful & RT Barclay struggled (3 ½ pressures & 3 bad runs).
PASSING DEFENSE: C vs C- vs C. The Packers gave up 561 net total yards & 330 net passing yards in a shaky secondary performance. While the Packers had 2 interceptions, Lions QB Stafford had a field day facing very little pass rush. Early, OLB Perry had the lone sack & forced fumble. Stafford completed 22 of 35 passes for 330 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions & 98.5 passer rating. CB Shields & CB Williams had interceptions for the only positive highlights. In the negative highlights, CB House allowed two touchdown passes to WR Ross & WR Ogletree. Meanwhile, Lions WR “Megatron” Johnson had 6 big receptions for 101 yards.
BM provided insightful analysis about shortcomings in Packers pass & run defense:
Pickett was more effective than Raji or Jolly. Pickett got off a few blocks to reach the ball, made a big hit on the goal line, showed some pursuit and had the only pressure by a D-lineman. That should tell you how bad the pass rush was. Raji was displaced only once or twice. However, there were too many times that Sims blocked him [alone]. This probably was the worst rush game of the year for Daniels. [OLB] Matthews split a double-team block to force Lions RB Bush's fumble and kept flattening down inside to curtail running plays. [Yet] Matthews managed merely one-half pressure. [OLB] Neal was almost comically out of position[s]. [ILBs] Jones and Hawk had losing efforts. Their deficiencies in speed and quick-twitch prevented them from cutting off running backs. Their discipline in run fits didn't appear sharp.
RUSHING DEFENSE: D- vs D- vs D. Based upon the above insightful analysis, the Packers allowed a whopping 241 rushing yards. Lions RB Bush had 20 carries for 117 yards in 20 carries averaging a whopping 5.9 ypc. In a positive highlight, Packers OLB Matthews poked the ball out on a run up the middle inside the Green Bay 10 resulting in a recovery by Burnett to thwart a long game-opening drive. Lions RB Bell had 19 carries for 94 yards in 19 attempts averaging 4.9 ypc. Each had easy single yard touchdown run.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C vs C- vs B-. Kicker Crosby had a 54 yards field goal. On his 3 kickoffs, he averaged 70.7 yards and 3.61 seconds hang time. On 6 punts, punter Masthay averaged 47.8 (gross), 40.2 (net) and 4.30 (hang time) with 2 inside the 20 Lions KR/PR Ross returned 3 kickoffs averaging 23 yards with the longest being 30 yards. He returned 4 punts averaging 11 yards with the longest being 35 yards. Packers KR/PR Hyde returned 2 kickoffs averaging only 20.5 yards (longest 26 yards).
COACHING: F vs D- vs ?. For fifth straight week HC “Nero” McCarthy was outcoached, outmuscled & outplayed by another motivated physical team. His awful play calling throughout the game was mind boggling. While Shields, Perry and Jolly were back bringing DC Capers' defense to full strength with reserves playing, they gave up 561 total yards with little pass rush.
OVERALL: D- vs ? vs F. We are not surprised at this road loss to the motivated Lions. It was over when McCarthy thought getting a field goal to tie it at 3-3 was a big deal. While the defense produced early turnovers for an early lead, it quickly fell apart allowing the Lions to score at will leading to the embarrassing blowout. Meanwhile, the boring fluff Packers sports press will go on forever (talk, talk, talk) about whether QB Rodgers might be back for the Falcons home game, but it is probable that the Packers will not make the playoffs.