Ultimate Game Review: Packers vs. Lions

The play of the game, the players of the game, a look into the crystal ball and 20 incredible numbers that explain how the Lions beat the Packers in record fashion on Thursday. If you want to get ill after your Thanksgiving feast, this is a must-read.

DETROIT – Packer Report reviews the Green Bay Packers' 40-10 loss to the Detroit Lions on Thursday.

PLAY OF THE GAME

In X's and O's, Scott Linehan beat Dom Capers.

In athleticism, Reggie Bush beat A.J. Hawk.

Thanks to its defense producing three turnovers, including a fumble returned for a touchdown, the Packers led 10-3 in the second quarter. On third-and-4 from their 21, Linehan lined up the electric Bush as a receiver along the left sideline.

How did that happen, even with the Packers in their dime personnel? Cornerback Davon House had Kris Durham, Tramon Williams had Nate Burleson, Sam Shields had Calvin Johnson (with help from Morgan Burnett) and dime defender Micah Hyde was on tight end Brandon Pettigrew. That forced Hawk into one-on-one coverage.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford knew where the ball was going from the get-go. Johnson ran a crossing route to get Burnett out of the way. Stafford looked to his right to keep safety M.D. Jennings from cheating over, then went back to his left and fired a pass to Bush. Hawk wasn't in awful position but the pass was perfect, with Bush hauling it in for a gain of 32.

Moments later, the Lions exploited the athleticism of the other inside linebacker, Brad Jones. Stafford faked a handoff, booted to his right and dumped it to tight end Dorin Dickerson, who gained 26 yards to the 12. One play later, Stafford hit Jeremy Ross for the tying touchdown.

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

On an offense centered on stars Stafford, Johnson and Bush, Joique Bell forever will be Mr. Underrated. However, he rushed 19 times for 94 yards and caught three balls for 27 yards. His 22 touches resulted in eight first downs. One of them was a 27-yard screen that set up the Lions' opening field goal, and another was a 19-yard run that set up his 1-yard touchdown.

Bush, meanwhile, overcame his early fumble. He rushed for 117 yards and added five catches for 65 yards to total 182 yards. That's 66 more yards than the entire Packers offense. The Packers simply do not have anyone – especially on turf – who can keep up with him.

Combined, those backs were the difference. They powered Detroit to a staggering 241 rushing yards and finished with 310 total yards. Its backfield entered the game ranked second with 1,834 total yards.

GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL

Now what? The Packers, while mathematically alive, are practically finished. They're 0-4-1 without Aaron Rodgers, with that being the team's first winless November since 1988.

Rodgers might come back but this defense is a dysfunctional mess. The injuries are an excuse on offense but not on defense. Really, the only key player missing on Thursday was cornerback Casey Hayward. A run defense that allowed 474 yards in the first six games has allowed 473 yards in the last two games.

The players say they believe in defensive coordinator Dom Capers but you wonder if coach Mike McCarthy will need to shake up a unit that – on paper – has plenty of talent.

NUMBERS WORTH NOTING

minus-15: Yards by the Packers on five consecutive series in the second and third quarters in which they failed to get one first down.

0: Rushing first downs by the Packers. They'd done that only one time in franchise history: Dec. 9, 1990, against Seattle.

1: Sack by Green Bay's defense, which entered the game tied for first in sacks.

2: Losses by Green Bay this season when it has forced at least three turnovers. The Packers are 0-2 in those games.

4: Yards on Green Bay's longest rushing play. The Packers entered the game ranked fourth in the league with 4.8 yards per carry.

4: Plays of more than 10 yards by Green Bay. Detroit had eight plays of at least 20.

5: Losses by Green Bay under coach Mike McCarthy when it forced at least three turnovers from 2006 through 2012. The Packers were 31-5 in those games.

7: Sacks by Detroit's defense, which entered the game ranked 29th in sacks.

21:53: Time, in minutes and seconds, between first downs, spanning James Jones' 16-yard catch in the second quarter (14:51 to play) and Eddie Lacy's 3-yard run in the third quarter (7:58).

24: Rushing yards by the Packers, the fewest allowed by Detroit against Green Bay since at least 1950, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

30: Margin of defeat was the largest in Green Bay's Thanksgiving history since a 31-0 loss to the Pottsville Maroons in 1925.

56: Yards on a completion to James Jones on the Packers' final possession.

71: Yards on Green Bay's first 10 possessions.

79.0: Rushing yards allowed per by Green Bay in the first six games.

102: Net passing yards by the Packers. That's their fewest against Detroit since 1979, when Detroit yielded 92.

126: Yards by the Packers, their fewest since producing just 120 against New England on Nov. 19, 2006.

180.3: Rushing yards allowed by Green Bay in 1979, when it yielded a franchise-record 2,885 yards on the ground.

185.2: Rushing yards allowed by Green Bay in the last five games.

219: Rushing yards allowed by the Lions in their last six games. That is less than the Packers allowed on Thursday alone. Detroit has not allowed more than 62 yards or a rushing touchdown in a game in that span – a first in the NFL since 1933 -- and has yielded 38, 40, 22 and 24 the last four weeks.

435: The difference in yards between the teams was the largest for Detroit since at least 1950 and the largest in the NFL since Philadelphia beat San Francisco in 2005.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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