Legendary senior writer & Packers lead blogger gives great, good, bad & ugly about Packer win over Lions 24-20.
Photo credit: Rick Osentoski AP.
1. WR Randall Cobb with 7 catches for 74 yards and touchdown.
2. Strong situation & pass defense--strong performance with big turning point plays by young players including safety M.D. Jennings 72-yard interception return for a touchdown, the fifth interception of the season by rookie cornerback Casey Hayward, the forced fumble by rookie OLB Dezman Moses, a fourth-down pass breakup by rookie safety Jerron McMillian, and more.
3. Cornerback Hayward with 4 tackles and 1 big interception. PFF's game review focused upon cornerbacks House and Hayward saying:
Davon House and Casey Hayward, the Packers’ two most-targeted defenders, allowed only two completions for 14 yards. While House did most of his work preventing catches with positioning, recording a pass defense on just one of his four incompletions, Hayward was incredibly active playing the ball. The Packers’ second-round pick got his hands to four of Stafford’s passes, intercepting one and breaking up three more. In a season of incredible metrics this was one of Hayward’s best and for the second time this season he allowed an NFL Rating of 0.0 on passes targeted to his coverage.
4. Safety Burnett with 10 tackles and 1 sack, but he missed a big interception leading to the catch by Lions WR Johnson for touchdown.
5. Safety Jennings with 1 big interception for a touchdown.
1. LB Hawk with a strong defensive performance with 10 tackles
2. OLBs brought strong pressure throughout the game. OLB Walden had 6 tackles & 2 sacks. OLB Moses had 1 sack & 1 forced fumble.
3. Tight end Finley with 3 catches for 66 yards and 1 touchdown.
4. Running back Starks with 20 carries for 74 yards.
5. Game winning offensive drive with QB Rodgers throwing a 22-yarder to WR Cobb with nearly 2 minutes left in the game. Packers QB Rodgers--“We just had to have it. You know, we talked about it on the sidelines and said if our defense holds, it gives us a chance to win it and we've got to make the most of it. … We wanted to get [WR Randall Cobb] in space and get the ball to him as much as we can. … [The game winning TD catch I] didn't really throw the best ball there, but it gave him a chance. He made an incredible catch.”
1. Ball control balanced grind-it-out offense game plan? Head Coach Mike McCarthy's strange game plan that failed to make early adjustments, while the Packers played down to the competition and gave another awful flat team performance. Why did the Packers offense look weak with constant quarterback pressure? Simply, McCarthy failed to adjust to the Lions game plan that took away the Packers vertical & deep game, while McCarthy wasted too much time establishing gound game to nowhere. Yet, the Packers failed to take advantage of the fact that the Lions left the middle zone passing game open. With a relentless rush keeping Rodgers constantly ducking and chucking leading to few offensive executions and no game plan adjustments, the consequential predictable results were only 7 points after 3 quarters. As Head Coach McCarthy admitted: "Didn't adjust as quickly as we should have on some play calls. Would have gone in different direction early in game."
Fox's Aikman knew the adjusted game plan to work against the Lions:
But you see the safeties deep here. The middle of the field is where you need to go with the football. I’ve seen it now throughout this game. . . . You’ve got to get to the middle of the field and yet he is staying up the seam. There is nowhere then for the quarterback to throw the football. "I don’t know how they are coaching these receivers versus that coverage – why they are not getting to the middle, Because that’s where the opening is within that two-deep coverage that they have seen throughout this game today. . . . I would tell you knowing what I know of this young man (Cobb), if you are going to give me the middle of the field with him in the slot position, they should be eating that up throughout this half. But they have been unable to do that.
2. Awful game clock management. As an example, with the ball on the Lions’ 32 and roughly 25 seconds remaining in the first half, the Packers allowed the clock to wind down to 3 seconds before using their final timeout. The Packers should have gotten better field-goal position instead of settling for an iffy 50-yard attempt that kicker Crosby missed.
3. High octane offense--7 points in 3 quarters. QB Rodgers summed up the slogging offense's performance saying, “We had no tempo, no rhythm, I wasn't on today, we couldn't get the ball going on the ground, bad on third downs … should I keep going?”
1. "Choke" Kicker Crosby missing two of three field goals. Crosby missed field goals of 50 and 38 yards. Early, the Packers went for a fourth-and-4 instead of attempting a 48-yard kick.
2. Left Guard Evan Dietrich-Smith was dominated by DT Fairley. Fairley got two sacks and 7 tackles. The entire offensive line struggled allowing interior pressure and big plays by DTs Fairley and Suh limiting the Packers' offense to few scoring opportunities. Beyond RT Lang admitting that they played a bad game, fan can look at PFF's review to support our position. Dietrich-Smith had a sack, hit and two hurries. Lang had a sack, hit, and hurry. Sitton had a sack and three hurries. With negative grades for all three, Dietrich-Smith received the worst grade. Interestingly, left tackle Marshall Newhouse graded out to +2.4 with no pressures.
GREAT NEWS COMMENTARY: Packers win their fifth straight game going 7-3. With "WINDY CARP" Chicago Bears' loss on Monday night football, the Packers have the NFC North lead.