Packers Defeat Lions in Defensive Battle
By Guest Writer Martin Milahy:
In an ugly, much-needed game, Green Bay came away with a 22-9 victory at home against the high-powered Detroit offense. This was a much different game than fans had expected. It was a game that featured six field goals, five by Packers Kicker Mason Crosby. Each team only scored one touchdown, on throws from Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. Neither team turned the ball over. Lions star Receiver Calvin Johnson was a late decision to sit out the game due to a knee injury. His absence surely affected the game.
Green Bay’s defense turned their attention to stopping the Lions explosive Running Backs, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, and limiting Quarterback Matthew Stafford. Both backs are capable of big time plays at any point in a game. However, Green Bay’s defense was outstanding. Reggie Bush finished with 44 yards rushing and 25 yards receiving. Bell had 21 yards on the ground and 30 through the air. Stafford was pressured throughout the day, as he was sacked five times, twice by second year linebacker Nick Perry.
Offensively, it was a balanced attack for the home team. Green Bay finished the day with 31 pass plays and 33 rushes. The Packers got 274 yards from Aaron Rodgers through the air, and 99 yards rushing from Rookie Running Back Eddie Lacy.
The biggest offensive plays of the game came from Receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb. Midway through the third quarter, with the Packers holding the ball at their own 11 yard line, Randall Cobb was lined up as a Running Back and took a handoff 67 yards, which led to Mason Crosby’s third field goal of the game and gave the Packers a 9-3 lead. On the Packers next possession, they finally got the play that broke open the game. Rodgers connected with Jones on an 83 yard touchdown with just over three minutes left in the third quarter. Detroit Cornerback Chris Houston may have been expecting help from his safety, as he tried to jam Jones five yards off the line of scrimmage but missed.
The touchdown gave Green Bay a 16-3 lead. The Lions offense was stopped a couple more times before they finally scored a touchdown to make the final score 22-9.
The stars of the game were Green Bay’s defense, whose run defense is vastly improved, and Mason Crosby. They were able to shutdown Bush and Bell, and forced Detroit to have to throw the ball more than they probably would have liked with Johnson sitting out the game. Stafford completed 25 of his 40 pass attempts for 262 yards and a touchdown, but not having the star receiver clearly affected the Lions offensively. The Lions longest play of the day was a 25 yard reception by Tight End Brandon Pettigrew. Detroit was also plagued by key dropped passes and untimely penalties. The team finished with seven penalties for 50 yards on the game.
Mason Crosby finally had a big game for the Packers. Green Bay struggled getting into the endzone. Crosby, however, was able to still put points on the board for Green Bay. The kicker had struggled mightily last season, connecting on just 21 of his 33 field goal attempts, good for 63%. On Sunday, Crosby made all five of his attempts, including a 52 yard attempt early in the second quarter. Following Sunday’s performance, Crosby has made all nine of his attempts in Green Bay’s first four games of the season.
Running Back Eddie Lacy also had the best game of his young career. Lacy, in his first game back since suffering a concussion in Week Two, finished the game with 99 yards on 23 carries, good for a yards-per-carry average of 4.3. Lacy’s success on the ground was a key factor in the Packers balanced offensive attack. This helped keep the Lions defense a bit more on its toes as Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked just one time.
Green Bay did suffer what could be a major blow late in the game. Linebacker Clay Matthews left the game after breaking his thumb. Matthews’ injury may require surgery which would keep him out for several weeks.
The Packers face another tough opponent next week as they play the defending champs. The team will travel to Baltimore for a match-up next Sunday to face the 3-2 Ravens.