(GREEN BAY) - Ahman Green rushed for 160 yards and a touchdown while the Packers defense held Detroit to 6 yards rushing and harassed Joey Harrington into three interceptions as the Green Bay Packers throttled the Detroit Lions 31-6.
Green Bay took charge of the game from the opening snap, after a pass completion by Brett Favre, Ahman Green charged through the Detroit front four and into the secondary, taking the ball 60 yards for a touchdown. Green Bay's offensive front used mis-direction to fool an eight-man Lions front.
Once Corey Harris missed the only shot at tackling Green it was off to the races. Despite Detroit's attempt to stop the run, Green Bay was able to handle Detroit's defensive tackles one-on-one, allowing the guards to get into the secondary and block down on linebackers Earl Holmes and Barrett Green.
Shoddy tackling by Detroit safeties and linebacking corps exacerbated the problems stopping the run. Green Bay's second series was a case in point of Detroit's futility at stopping the run. The Packers put together a 13-play drive consisting of 11 runs and just two passes. Starting on their own 41-yard line, Green Bay rushed for -2, 13, 8, 9, 19, 16, 13, 4, 2, 5 and 5 yards when Favre ended the drive with a shovel pass to Tony Fischer who ran through an attempted tackle by Barrett Green to put Green Bay up 14-0.
Meanwhile, Detroit's best offensive play was made by the defense. John Jett's punt ricocheted off the foot of linebacker Marcus Wilkinson and was recovered by safety Bracy Walker, setting Detroit up on the Green Bay fifteen-yard line. But Detroit couldn't even punch it in from there, settling for a Jason Hanson field goal to cut the lead to 14-3.
Lions fullback Cory Schlesinger had a poor day blocking and was unable to set a good lead for running back Olandis Gary. Schlesinger also dropped two of the five passes thrown to him, catching three for just four yards.
Green Bay added a Ryan Longwell 46-yard field goal to increase their lead to 17-3. But Lions defensive back Dre' Bly picked off Brett Favre's pass intended for Robert Ferguson setting the Lions up at their own 45-yard line with :27 remaining. A costly holding penalty by guard Eric Beverly wiped out a 15-yard screen pass to Shawn Bryson.
Detroit's Jason Hanson one-upped Longwell, kicking a 52-yard bomb to end the half at 17-6.
"I thought we settled down on defense for a while there. [In] the second and third quarters, I thought we were making them punt," said head coach Steve Mariucci.
There were some 'three-and-outs' and that sort of thing." But the defense didn't receive the help it needed from the offense. Instead, a costly turnover by Joey Harrington put the Packers on a short field. Harrington's throw intended for Charles Rogers was intercepted by corner Mike McKenzie.
While Green Bay was unable to capitalize, Harrington gave them a second chance. On his next series, Harrington's hit Mikhael Ricks in the helmet, deflected off the hands of Charles Rogers and was intercepted by rookie linebacker Nick Barnett. Barnett returned the ball to the Lions 18-yard line.
Three plays later, Favre connected with Ferguson to put any doubt as to the outcome, putting the Packers ahead 24-6. It was just one more miserable moment in a miserable game for Ricks, who dropped three passes and was in the wrong area on the interception.
Ricks was benched in favor of undrafted rookie free agent Casey Fitzsimmons.
Detroit was unable to establish any sort of running game which led to Harrington throwing the ball a team record 55 times, completing 26 for 241 yards, but unlike last week against Arizona, the three turnovers caused Harrington's passer rating to plummet this week to a horrendous 37.0.
Running back Shawn Bryson seemed to move to the top of the heap of the Lions running backs, rushing for 43 yards on seven carries. Olandis Gary rushed nine times for just eight yards.
The lone bright spot for Detroit was the play of its special teams which didn't allow a Green Bay punt return of longer than six yards.
Detroit still has yet to show any signs of a pass rush, however.
With the lack of a push on the inside from their tackles, Detroit may elect to activate rookie Cory Redding, who is close to being ready to play. Neither of Detroit two newly acquired corners Rod Babers or Alex Molden were active for this one.