Packers Report Card vs. Lions

You know it's been a bad game when pictures like this one being used. The NFL experts at The Insiders take a look at last Thursday's game, and offer their analysis and grades for the effort. On a personal note, if I had brought home a report card like this, I would have been grounded for a bit, until my marks improved. We'll see if Mike Sherman takes a similar approach...

Here are grades for the Packers on offense, defense and special teams in the wake of their 22-14 Thanksgiving Day loss to the Detroit Lions:

PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus -- Brett Favre threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Javon Walker behind Otis Smith and Corey Harris. It was a beautiful throw and catch. He also passed for 296 yards. However, Favre also had three interceptions, fumbled once and was sacked four times. For the first time all season the offensive line didn't protect well.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D-minus -- The Packers had a season-low 52 yards. For the NFL's No. 1 rushing team it was a lousy performance. The coaches didn't call enough runs (16). The blocking against subtle adjustments by the Lions' stout front seven were ineffective. Ahman Green couldn't get anything going (13-57). Two of his runs for 26 yards came on shotgun draws at the end of each half.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- Joey Harrington, the NFL's second-worst ranked passer coming in, had too much time to do what he wanted until coordinator Ed Donatell began blitzing heavily in the second half. Na'il Diggs gave up a 38-yard pass to tight end Mikhael Ricks on a crossing route. The Lions have so few weapons, you wouldn't expect them to make big plays.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Lions, the NFL's worst rushing team, hammered out 100 yards, their third-highest total of the year. They did it by starting fast and staying patient. The long gain was a 17-yard burst by Olandis Gary late in the game when safety Curtis Fuller blitzed but didn't take on FB Cory Schlesinger's lead block with the proper shoulder. The tackling wasn't good.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus -- The Packers had covered kicks extremely well all season. On the first punt their coverage was awful and Reggie Swinton made an easy return for 17 yards, setting up a short touchdown drive. Josh Bidwell punted six times and had a gross average of just 38.8 yards in a dome. Najeh Davenport had a 57-yard kickoff return. Antonio Chatman ran backward on a punt and lost 10.

COACHING: F -- Coach Mike Sherman's storm warnings about how tough the Lions would play went unheeded. The Packers fell to 5-8 in Detroit domes with Brett Favre at quarterback. Sherman and his offensive coordinator, Tom Rossley, called 16 runs against 41 passes, a nutty ratio for the NFL's best ground team. Ed Donatell's defense came out of the locker room and let the Lions' poor offense mount three sustained drives on its first three possessions.


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