Lions vs. Packers recap: Detroit gets blown out 15-9.
This week began with the Detroit Lions firing defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant. It ended with the Lions defense forcing three interceptions – more than doubling their season total – and tallying nine passes defensed – doubling their season total in a huge win over the Green Bay Packers.
Rookie Kerby Joseph made two of those interceptions, while another rookie—a player named Aidan Hutchinson—caught the other. On offense, another rookie, tight end James Mitchell caught one of the Lions’ touchdowns on the day.
Detroit didn’t make things easy for themselves with a controversial late-game Dan Campbell decision and a big play that gave up a late fourth-and-2. But Detroit got the one defensive stop they needed to cruise to victory.
Here’s how it happened.
The Lions offense got off to a good start, with a nice mix of running and passing. A 20-yard pass to D’Andre Swift got them into the red zone, where the Lions eventually faced a fourth-and-1. Detroit went for it with a strange empty backfield formation. Jared Goff was hit while throwing from an untouched Packers blitzer, unable to connect with an open Tom Kennedy.
The Packers were able to get out of their own end zone thanks to Aaron Rodgers’ 16-yard run on third-and-10. A couple more third-down conversions put Green Bay in the red zone. But Derrick Barnes—filling in for the injured Malcolm Rodriguez—deflected Rodgers’ pass (with his helmet) and was intercepted by rookie Kerby Joseph.
Note: Rodriguez would return the next defensive series.
The Lions’ offense couldn’t capitalize on the turnover, quickly going three-and-out after a holding penalty pushed them back, and Goff nearly threw an interception on a screen pass, but two Packers defenders collided after the pass was deflected.
Facing third-and-10 at midfield, Rodgers connects with Allen Lazard after Jeff Okuda goes down. The play went 47 yards and put the Packers at the 1-yard line.
Detroit would make some nice defensive stops, setting up a fourth and goal from the 2 yard line to start the second quarter.
The Packers tried to be sneaky on fourth down, targeting their offensive lineman, but Aidan Hutchinson fumbled it for a touchback, keeping the game scoreless.
The Lions were able to get the ball up the middle on the ensuing drive, but were a little conservative on third and 8. They tried to catch the Packers sleeping with the running game, but after picking up only 5 yards, the Lions punted. However, Jack Fox was able to punt Green Bay at their 1-yard line thanks to a nice fumble recovery by Anthony Pittman.
The Packers, again, converted a third down rush to get out of their own end zone and into Lions territory. However, after Derrick Barnes’ sack, the Packers found themselves on third-and-18. After picking up 15 yards on third down, they decided to go for it on fourth-and-3. Rodgers threw a perfect pass to Lazard for 26 yards, but replays showed the ball went away when Lazard hit the ground, leading to a turnover on downs.
On the ensuing first play, Goff found Tom Kennedy for 16 yards and Detroit got 15 more carries for a late touchdown. Detroit picked up a clutch third-and-4 with a corner route to D’Andre Swift—the same one that scored a touchdown a week earlier. This time it was Detroit’s first-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 28 seconds left. Two plays later, Goff found Shane Zylstra wide open for the game’s first score.
Michael Badgley missed the extra point, but the Packers ran into the kicker. Detroit decided to go for two instead and converted. 8-0 Lions.
The Packers made a nice comeback to start the second half at the Lions’ 33-yard line. Again, Green Bay was able to convert an early third down, moving the ball up the middle on an 18-yard pass to Christian Watson. But on the next set of downs, Rodgers tried to target Samori Toure for a big play, but Joseph broke it up nicely — forcing Green Bay’s first punt of the game.
The Lions were initially cleared after Jared Goff was sacked, but the Packers were called for roughing the passer after hitting Goff in the head. However, on the very next play, Goff tried to shoot at Amon-Ra St. Brown, but he didn’t see Packers cornerback Jair Alexander, who stepped in front of the pass and deflected it:
Rodgers, however, gave it right back to the Lions with his third interception of the day – his second to Lions safety Joseph.
The Lions quickly went three-and-out again, as Goff was nearly thrown out on several errant throws.
Rodgers would finally score on the ensuing possession. The Packers quarterback found Lazard on a beautiful ball just over Jeff Okudah’s head.
Okudah would get his revenge on the next play, deflecting the two-point conversion to keep the lead with Detroit. 8-6 lions.
The next offensive action of the Lions was saved early. On third-and-15, the Packers were called on the defensive end, nullifying what would have been a 3-and-out. That seemed to be the kickstarter the Lions needed, as the running game began to open up. Then on third-and-6, Goff found St. Brown for a huge 25-yard gain. Justin Jackson’s run got them to the 5-yard line, setting the Lions up for a potentially big score as we entered the fourth quarter.
Facing a critical third down, Goff stood in the pocket for several seconds and eventually found rookie tight end James Mitchell for a 3-yard TD and 15-6 Lions lead.
The defense of the Lions was beaten in the continuation of the drive. In a scary collision, Jeff Okudah ran into Kerby Joseph, hitting the Lions rookie in the head/neck area. Both players would head to the locker room at the game. Okuda will return later in the ride.
On the field, Rodgers picked up a third-and-17 with a crucial 18-yard scamper. A pass interference call on Jerry Jacobs put Green Bay in the red zone. But Jacobs got his revenge, forcing an incomplete pass on third-and-3. The Packers would settle for a 25-yard field goal to make it a one-score game. 15-9 Lions.
Again, a Packers penalty started the Lions’ offense. This time, a personal foul penalty took the Lions out of third-and-12 and near midfield. A clutch third-and-one pass to Mitchell kept the chains moving with less than five minutes left. Detroit, however, failed to pick up a third-and-one. Coach Dan Campbell got aggressive again and went for it on fourth-and-3. Goff failed to complete a pass and Green Bay took over with two minutes left at its own 43-yard line.
The Lions had a chance to win the game on fourth-and-2, but Rodgers found Toure for 32 yards. The Packers’ reception fumbled, but the Lions were unable to recover in bounds.
Three plays later, the Packers faced another fourth down (fourth-and-10), but this time Rodgers had no magic. The Lions pulled out the win.
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