© Tim Fuller | 2015 Nov 22 | USA Today

Instant Analysis: Detroit Lions Lose to Green Bay Packers

With the NFC North division on the line, representing a chance to host a playoff game next week, the Detroit Lions came up short against the Green Bay Packers to close out the 2017 regular season. Enclosed is an instant analysis of the game.

Week 17 against the Green Bay Packers was the biggest home game the Detroit Lions have played at Ford Field because there was an opportunity for the Lions to win their first ever NFC North title. 

Unfortunately, the Lions couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity and lost 31-24.  Here are some observations from the game.

  • Aaron Rodgers was undoubtedly the difference in this game.  He had 300 yards and 4 TDs with no interceptions. 

  • Rodgers was lethal when he got out of the pocket and the Lions simply didn’t have an answer.  Not only did they refuse to put a spy on Rodgers, they got beat while in man coverage.  The Lions have shown a willingness to adjust this year but it was puzzling that they didn’t make some obvious moves in this game – even Barry Sanders tweeted to put a spy on Rodgers.

  • One of the biggest swing plays in the game was a 13-yard run on third-and-one by Rodgers.  If the Lions stop them on that fourth-quarter play, they get the ball back with a chance to win – down by six with plenty of time and time outs.  Instead, Rodgers faked the hand off and escaped to the left.  Defensive End Ziggy Ansah should have stayed home on Rodgers and would have had a clean shot, instead he collapsed inside.

  • That drive eventually turned into back-breaking points that put the Lions down by two touchdowns.  Another key play was a third-and-ten that Rodgers turned into a third-and-five by quick snapping the Lions, creating a 12-men-on-the-field flag.  On the third-down play, Green Bay got nine yards.

  • The Lions uncharacteristically missed several tackles on defense, allowing Green Bay to extend drives.  The Packers had five drives of eight plays or more, including three touchdown drives of 10 plays or more.  The Lions defense is predicated on keeping their opponent in front of them and making the first tackle.  If they fail to do that, they will always be overmatched against good offenses.

  • Although Rodgers seemed to have his way with the Lions defense, the offense wasn’t able to deliver in a game where it was obvious they would need to score a lot of points to win. 

  • Stafford threw for 347 yards and two touchdowns but those numbers are misleading.  He missed Tate on a probable touchdown early in the game and had three other drive-killing misses where he and his receiver weren’t on the same page.

  • I asked Stafford about those plays after the game and he said it was a situation where the receiver needed to react to the coverage and the two weren’t on the same page.  There was no finger pointing, as he said the responsibility was 50/50 in those cases.

  • Some of Stafford’s inaccurate throws may be related to the glove he continues to wear on his throwing hand due to injury.  Although Stafford has not faulted the glove, Jim Caldwell admitted it likely is impacting his quarterback.  Stafford confirmed to me he will be wearing the glove against the Seahawks.

  • The Lions need to get healthy on the offensive line before they head to Seattle.  Corey Robinson wasn’t a disaster at right tackle but had some missed blocks that were costly.

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