Detroit Lions can’t hold on to 14-point lead against Green Bay Packers and dropped 22nd consecutive game in Wisconsin
By Justin Rodgers, mlive.com
~GREEN BAY — On a snowy night at Lambeau Field, the Detroit Lions started off on fire, but the offense cooled off in the second half as the team was defeated, 27-20, for their 22nd consecutive loss in Wisconsin.
After winning the coin toss and electing to receive the kickoff, the Lions drove 80 yards on 12 plays, capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by Matthew Stafford.
After forcing a fumble on the Packers’ ensuing drive, the Lions put together another long touchdown drive, going 79 yards to take a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Packers cut the lead to four points by halftime after the Lions turned it over twice in Green Bay territory. Dropping back for a pass, Stafford lost his grip on the ball. The fumble was picked up and returned for a 49-yard touchdown by Packers defensive end Mike Daniels.
Green Bay took the lead early in the third quarter, 17-14, when quarterback Aaron Rodgers bounced outside to escape pressure and scrambled 27-yard.
It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Lions, dropping the team to 4-9 on the season. With the victory, Green Bay moved to 9-4 and into sole possession of first place in the NFC North after Chicago’s loss in Minnesota earlier in the day.
— The Lions started off the game aggressively, going for it on 4th-and-1 deep in Packers territory. Stafford faked a handoff to running back Mikel Leshoure then went untouched on a bootleg for a 4-yard touchdown run.
— Also on the opening drive, the Lions ran a reverse to wide receiver Mike Thomas. Stafford got out in front of the play and delivered a perfectly executed block on Packers linebacker Frank Zombo to spring Thomas for a 22-yard gain.
— Green Bay drove into the red zone on its opening drive, but Lions defensive end Lawrence Jackson came off the right edge and knocked the ball out of Rodgers’ hands. Middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch recovered the fumble.
— Kris Durham, signed off the practice squad earlier this week, made an impressive, diving, one-handed catch down the right sideline. The 27-yard gain gave the Lions a 1st-and-goal from the 6-yard line. Detroit punched it into the end zone two plays later on a short pass to tight end Tony Scheffler.
— Packers kicker Mason Crosby missed a 51-yard field goal in the third quarter one play after Nick Fairley sacked Rodgers for a seven-yard loss.
— On Scheffler’s touchdown, running back Joique Bell jumped in and took part in the tight end’s celebration. That drew a 15-yard penalty that was assessed on the kickoff.
— In Packers’ territory in second quarter, Stafford threw an interception trying to connect with Durham deep over the middle of the field. Based on the ball location and Stafford’s reaction, it appears Durham ran the wrong route.
— On a 3rd-and-6 in the third quarter, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was flagged for roughing the passer, extending the Packers’ drive. Green Bay scored a touchdown five plays later to take a 17-14 lead.
— Defensive ends Willie Young and Lawrence Jackson, along with Suh up the middle, couldn’t get to Rodgers on a pass rush, allowing the Packers quarterback to bounce outside for a 27-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career.
— Jason Hanson missed a 51-yard field goal with 14:49 remaining that would have given the Lions a 20-17 lead.
— The Packers slammed the ball down the Lions throats, running it seven consecutive times on a 59-yard touchdown drive to take a 24-17 lead.
— Trailing by 10 points, the Lions turned the ball over on downs with 2:21 remaining.
— Stafford’s rushing touchdown was his fourth of the season. That’s the most by a Lions quarterback since Scott Mitchell in 1996.
— Brandon Pettigrew left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.
— Johnson went over 1,500 yards on the season becoming only the third player in NFL history to accomplish the feat in back-to-back seasons. The other two players were Marvin Harrison and Andre Johnson.
— With 118 yards receiving, Johnson now has 1,546 yards on the season. He needs 303 yards over the final three games to break Jerry Rice’s single-season record.
ISSUE OF THE WEEK REVISITED
We said the Lions needed to find another receiving option to replace Ryan Broyles and Titus Young. Detroit got solid production out of Durham and Scheffler early. Durham actually led the team in receiving at the half with three receptions for 41 yards. Scheffler added three receptions for 20 yards and a touchdown in the first two quarters.
Unfortunately for the Lions, the pair disappeared in the second half. Neither had a catch until Durham hauled in a 13-yard reception with less than two minutes to go in the game.