Game Recap: Packers Rally Back, Beat Lions 23-22

A little bit of luck can go a long way and for the Green Bay Packers (5-1, 3-0 NFC North) a little bit of luck was the difference Monday night, topping the Detroit Lions (2-2-1, 0-1 NFC North) 23-22 in a comeback win.

Kicker Mason Crosby redeemed himself after missing five field goals against the Lions last season and hit a 23-yard field goal as time expired to win the game 23-22. The win was not the prettiest, but the implications are so, so pretty. Monday night’s W pushes the Packers to an impressive 5-1 start and puts them alone and undefeated at the top of the NFC North.

How they pulled out the win was certainly not the cleanest and perhaps, even the fairest, with a few controversial calls against the Lions late in the game that fell in the Packers favor.

"I don't even know where to begin. That was a tough four quarter battle against a North opponent,” Coach Matt LaFleur said at the post-game press conference. “We knew they were going to be a tough challenge. Speaks a lot to the character in the locker room for those guys sticking together."

The Lions wasted literally no time getting started on offense. They opened the game with a cheeky flea flicker play to wide receiver Kenny Golladay for a 66-yard gain that had the Packers defense totally tuned around. Luckily, the Packers were able to hold them to a field goal to only put the Lions up 3-0.

Right when Packers fans thought they could breathe, the Lions were right back at it, driving all the way down the field on a massive drive that took nearly five minutes off the clock for a touchdown on fourth and goal to put them up 10-0.

The Packers could not find any response and when it seemed like they finally did ,running back Aaron Jones fumbled and the Lions recovered it. Detroit responded with another strong drive, but the Packers were only able to hold them to another field goal, as the Lions went up 13-0 in the second quarter.

Que, the comeback King.

We have seen him do it time and time again and Monday night was no different. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, without his number one wide receiver, and eventually without wide receiver Geronimo Allision put the team on his back and responded with 13 unanswered points to tie the game.

Running back Jamaal Williams, just two weeks after getting stretchered off Lambeau Field, was the first to find the endzone for the Packers off a 5-yard reception. Then, it was Mason Crosby closing the half and opening the half with two field goals to tie the game at 13.

The Lions were not quitting though. Kicker Matt Prater was a weapon for them Monday and drilled three additional field goals to give them a 22-13 lead.

With Rodgers’ options at wide receiver dwindling, LaFleur said that Rodgers called for undrafted free agent Allen Lazard to get in the game. Lazard had not seen a minute of play in the first three quarters Monday, but he was the answers the Packers needed. Rodgers threw an unreal 35-yard pass to Lazard for his first career touchdown to cut the Lion’s lead to three.

With a controversial hand to the face call on the Lions on the Packers’ final drive of the game, they were able to get in field goal range for Mason Crosby to hit the walk off winner.

With a classic Aaron Rodgers comeback, questionable (as always) officiating and an answer in Lazard, there was plenty to take away from Monday’s game.

 

What we learned: The NFL officiating has reached a new low

The Packers are no strangers to NFL refs blowing a game, but it seemed to finally fall in their favor Monday night. Yes, it is the name of the game. You win some, you lose some, some calls go your way, and some don’t, but I hope every NFL viewer can agree that NFL officiating has to change somehow.

The hands to the face penalties against the Lions were absolutely questionable, but the officiating has been questionable all year long. Whether it is reviewing pass interference or reviewing what is a catch and what is not, I do not think any of us ever have the answers and that is a problem.

 

What went right: Allen Lazard

Who would have thought that the undrafted free agent out of Iowa State was the Packers’ answer Monday night, but Lazard was exactly what they needed to get things moving. Rodgers praised Lazard for his work ethic all off-season and after calling for him to come in in the fourth quarter, connected with him quickly.

“It starts with the preparation and the way he practices. He was definitely disappointed when he was released at the end of training camp,” Rodgers said at the post-game press conference. “The big first down on the out route, that was him coming back to the huddle telling him what play he wanted.”

Lazard only played in one quarter Monday night and still led the team in receiving with 4 receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown (ESPN stats). I have a feeling we will be seeing more of him against the Raiders Sunday.

 

What went wrong: Turnovers/Missed Opportunities

The turnovers and missed opportunities for Green Bay were brutal Monday. After a stellar performance last week, Aaron Jones really let things slip away for a bit. Fumbling early in the game was bad enough, but dropping a WIDE-OPEN touchdown pass the next drive was just painful to see.

Wide receiver Darrius Sheppard had his share of mistakes as well. He has done an average job of handling punt returns so far, but got caught slipping Monday, get drilled and letting the ball pop out, which the Lions were able to recover. Sheppard also dropped a pass that deflected off him that the Lions were able to pick off and return nearly half the field.

Although the Packers were (barely) able to afford those mistakes Monday, that may not always be the case.

 

Offensive Standouts: Aaron Rodgers, Jamaal Williams, Allen Lazard

Aaron Rodgers finished the night 24/39 for 283 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception and rushed on 3 carries for 10 yards (ESPN stats). Rodgers, even though he looked frustrated at times, remained patient with the group he was working with Monday and it paid off. He was putting trust in receivers that have barely seen an NFL field and making spectacular plays because of it. 12 is older and wiser now and it is only helping this team continue to win.

It was great to see Williams back out there Monday after his scary collision two weeks ago. He had a nice night leading the team in rushing off 14 carries for 104 yards and 4 receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown (ESPN stats). Williams was the difference on a lot of first down conversions to keep some big drives moving. It is great to see Jones come up huge last week and Williams be able to fill the role this week.

I have talked plenty about Allen Lazard already, but his brief and impactful performance absolutely makes him an offensive standout. Before tonight, he had one career NFL catch and had never even caught a pass from Aaron Rodgers. Hats off to him.

 

Defensive Standouts: Smith^2, Jaire Alexander

Another week, another strong showing from the Smiths. Za’Darius was able to come up with another sack this week and led the team in tackles and Preston was able to record 1.5 sacks and had 2 tackles for loss (ESPN stats). I tweeted it before, but it is truly just their world and we are living in it, and I am totally okay with that.

Corner Jaire Alexander had a quiet but great game Monday as well. The flashy corner did not do anything that was super eye catching, but he locked down Marvin Jones Jr. all night long. If you are going to re-watch the game or any highlights from it, make sure to keep your eye on that matchup.

 

Up next, the Packers get a visit from the Oakland Raiders, Sunday Oct. 20th. Kickoff is set for 1 PM EST.

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

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Comments (20)

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johngalt's picture

October 15, 2019 at 12:09 am

Loved Crosby’s leap.
Rodgers was awesome.
Booger was right.
Robbed em tonight
Go pack

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4thand1's picture

October 15, 2019 at 12:23 am

JA also saved 4 points by running down the receiver on the 1st pass.

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Mojo's picture

October 15, 2019 at 12:47 am

People will say GB got lucky, but so did Detroit. How about having a ball deflect off a receivers helmet and into an INT instead of GB with the ball at Detroits two and a first down. Or having Aaron Jones drop a for sure TD right in his hands. Now that's luck.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

October 15, 2019 at 06:28 am

I'd also add in the ONLY TD the Lions had last night. I still don't believe he got over the goal-line and neither did 2 of the Refs. The ONLY Ref who called it a TD IIRC wasn't even on the LOS.

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GBPDAN1's picture

October 15, 2019 at 01:04 am

. We've been on the wrong side of plenty of calls in the past. Unfortunately, it's part of the NFL that all teams have to deal with now and then.

. D. Lowry was much better against the run this game. Actually , the whole run D was great.

. Aside from the 2 long bombs in the 1st quarter against King, the D played a good game.

. Getting Adams back will be huge, obviously.

. The Oline did a good job of keeping Rodgers clean.

It was nice seeing M. Lewis catching a deep pass.

. Hope Savage heals up fast

. 5-1 feels good

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 15, 2019 at 02:55 am

Lewis needs to take more of Grahams snaps. Graham somehow has lost his hands too. There isn't much talent left if he catches less than half the balls in his catch radius.

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rdent's picture

October 15, 2019 at 11:00 am

It's time to start Toynyan and put Lewis as back up.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 15, 2019 at 07:30 pm

Plus he runs like an old lady.

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Oppy's picture

October 15, 2019 at 03:30 am

When the QB "puts the team on his back" to score "13 unanswered points to tie the game", what that really means is the defense put the team on it's back when you think about it.

The Lions were in Packers territory most of the game, and the defense only gave up one TD- a TD that, frankly, I'm not sure was a legitimate TD in the first place.

It wasn't a pretty defensive performance, but they kept on making stops when their backs were against the wall.

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Turophile's picture

October 15, 2019 at 05:23 am

In Oppy's first sentence I do like the 'alternative take' that when you read or see one thing, it can mean something else as well.

I get the feeling that last year the Packers would have lost that game by a margin, but this is a tougher team that can grind out the close ones.

The word is that the Packers locker room is a good place to be this year. Is it the change from McCarthy, the veteran player additions, or good drafting...............all of the above.

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porupack's picture

October 15, 2019 at 06:00 am

This could have been an easy win if WR Corps done their work. Its obvious they aren't getting the separation and ARodgers has to take 4+ seconds to find a receiver. Dropped easy passes are unprofessional.

Marcedes Lewis deserves 3+ targets per game. I always felt he was underutilized, assigned only to block. But with him targeted as receiver, it will slow the pass rush, and present a challenge for Defenses.

Great game for JWilliams. Oline also opened up holes against a very tough Lion's front 7.

Give Blake missle Martinez an extension now.

To win without a key player on offense and defense DAdams, AAmos is a good win, and shows there is depth and resilience. I'll take that.

Holding Detro to 5 field goals is kudos to Pettine and the defense. Detro has a prolific offense. Their run was contained. They got pressure on Staffie. Blake sets the tone.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

October 15, 2019 at 06:32 am

Sarah is right... It was GREAT to see Jamal Williams back on the field AND having the game he did.

Aaron Rodgers is playing REALLY well right now. There were several drops again tonight which I hope makes Gute work those phones and pull off a trade. Some want Parker from Miami...Some want Saunders from Denver. Right now I'd love to see Saunders in Green & Gold but the possible upside with Parker and Rodgers is REALLY interesting.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 15, 2019 at 09:31 pm

I wish there was an affordable WR that was available right now. Gutie is good but I can’t see it happening this year. Besides it would take a while for the acclamation to a new offense and Aaron’s trust anyway.

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Leo Van Groll's picture

October 15, 2019 at 08:11 am

I get the feeling someone put a bug in the refs ear about hands to the face. ESPN overblew it, but what I saw was Flowers grabbing Bakhtiari by the collar & shoving his knuckles into his chin. It doesn't look like hands to the face but it is. (they made a point that Flowers never got a hands to the face call before, maybe that's why) I just watched Flowers hilights from last year & he was doing the same thing on every pass rush.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 15, 2019 at 03:36 pm

Flowers play is dangerous and deadly. It was one of techniques that the league wanted to stop. Flowers could easily snapped Bakhtiari's spine with that move. It's the main reason the league came down on high hits. That was a clean call last night. Yeah, the Refs have gone rouge. But the league office have left the game officials without the ability to control game play and flow. And the league refuses to take responsibility for the mess they have created this season. So I don't blame the refs for declaring independence this season.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

October 16, 2019 at 04:06 am

AND the penalty is called when it's hands to the face OR neck isn't it? I'd say that was to the neck/adams apple FOR SURE!

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WMA's picture

October 15, 2019 at 11:17 am

Smile. Be happy. We won. It is only a game.

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Since'61's picture

October 15, 2019 at 10:22 am

As I posted on another thread this game was not as close as the final score indicated. The Packers should have had over 500 yards of offense and at least 10 more points without their unforced turnovers. The Lions offense was unable to do anything after their first 2 drives in the first quarter. The Packers stuffed their run game and kept them out of the end zone after our turnovers which were huge stops.

Dropped passes especially another TD dropped by Graham kept points off the board for the Packers. Chuck Graham and give the snaps to Lewis and Tonyan. Despite everything Rodgers and Jamaal Williams kept the Packers going on offense. Then enter Lazard and Rodgers perfect pass for the 4th quarter TD.

As for the hands to the face calls when the officials see that extended hand pushing back the head of the OL for the entire play they will throw a flag. Patricia bought that move over from the "Cheatalots" who are never flagged for it, or anything else. They got caught last night and Patricia knew it. Also, the Lions could have challenged the non-PI call in the second half but they chose not to. Too bad, the HC should stand up for his players in that situation.

Overall, after the first quarter the Packers won both sides of the LOS and outplayed the Lions without Adams on offense and Savage on the defense. We're 5-1. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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flackcatcher's picture

October 15, 2019 at 03:50 pm

I mentioned this on another thread, but the league wanted that technique gone, so they expanded the no-go area on the upper body. Something the NFL should have done years ago. This falls into the same area as helmet hits. Snapping a players spine which Flowers could have done with Bahk, is well beyond dangerous and is flat out deadly.

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Spock's picture

October 15, 2019 at 10:49 am

I was screaming at the tv for Sheppard to call a fair catch on that punt. I don't fault him for the gimme interception as he clearly slipped and the replay showed the ball hitting his face mask and bouncing into the Lions CB's hands. That said, he needs to make much, much, better decisions. Few mentioning our "Great Scott" punter which shows how much we now "expect" his punts to be fantastic. I know he had at least two over 50 yards last night. What a great late round draft choice. I saw all the angles they showed and still don't see how that Lions player "broke the plane" with the ball. One article compared it to the unmentionable play (rhymes with "Jail Harry") against Seattle with one ref signalling TD and the other Packers ball. The Lions 12 men on the field (for a field goal!) cost them the game far more than some "hands to the face" penalties. Had the Packers players caught their passes this wouldn't have been nearly as close. Redmond subbing for the injured Savage made that first flea flicker play work. It was and ugly win but still a big, big, W in the column. Go, Pack, Go! Next up the Raiders at Lambeau. :)

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