Game Recap: Packers Top Lions 42-21 for Another NFC North Win

Sarah Kelliher recaps the Packers’ week two win against the Lions.

The Green Bay Packers (2-0, 2-0 NFC North) are on a roll to start the 2020 season, stomping the Detroit Lions (0-2, 0-2 NFC North) 42-21, Sunday at Lambeau Field. The win puts Green Bay atop its division and extends head coach Matt LaFleur’s perfect NFC North record to 8-0.

“…It was a good team win,” head coach Matt LaFleur said at his post-game media availability. “Obviously, anytime you get a win in this league you can’t take that for granted, especially against an NFC North opponent…”

Although the end-result was pretty for the Packers, the beginning of the game was quite the opposite. Things looked eerily familiar to last week’s slow start, especially on the defensive side of things. On their opening drive, the Lions ran right through the Packers defense, taking a quick 7-0 lead.

Green Bay’s offense was off to a bit of a shaky start too, with two early drops that would’ve been first downs from tight ends Jace Sternberger and Robert Tonyan. Thanks to a big fourth down pick-up from wide reciever Allen Lazard, Green Bay was able to at least get three points out of the drive, after kicker Mason Crosby drilled one from 43-yards out.

The run defense continued to struggle in the first quarter, as the Lions continued to march right down the field. Detroit went 75 yards in 13 plays and shaved 5:38 off the clock before wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. helped extend their lead to 14-3.

As soon as Packers fans (myself included) started to worry though, Green Bay came to life. The Packers then took it 75 yards the other direction for a score of their own to cut the Lions’ lead to just three. Running back Aaron Jones caught a 7-yard pass to cap off the drive for his first of many touchdowns Sunday.  

From there, Green Bay never looked back. The defense came to life after a monster sack from linebacker Za’Darius Smith and the rest was history. With just 0:46 left in the half, the Packers found the endzone again, this time off a 11-yard pass to Tonyan, to take the lead and make it 17-14 Packers heading into the half.

On the first play of the second half, Jones took it 75 yards to the house to extend Green Bay’s lead to 24-14, and of course, the sunglasses had to come back out for that one.

From there, the two NFC North rivals went back-and-forth for a bit before Packers’ cornerback Chandon Sullivan made a huge play. Sullivan read the Lions' offense perfectly and picked off quarterback Matt Stafford and took it 7-yards for the pick-six and his first Lambeau Leap. 

Heading into the fourth quarter leading 34-14 following another Crosby field goal, the Packers couldn’t get off too easy, since the Lions still had a little fight left in them. Detroit went 75-yards down the field again, this time finding wide receiver Marvin Hall Jr. for the touchdown to make it 34-21.

The Packers still had a little razzle dazzle left too though, getting MVS involved on a huge 41-yard gain and finding who else but Aaron Jones for another touchdown. The Packers put a cherry on top of the drive too, successfully attempting a two-point conversion to give us our final score of 42-21.

With another monster performance from Green Bay’s offense, a stellar performance from Aaron Jones and a perfect start to the season and division, there is plenty to takeaway from the Packers’ week two win.

 

What we learned: The offense is LEGIT

Well, if you thought the Packers’ offense was just a fluke last week against the Vikings, think again.

"It's my second year in the offense,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said at his post-game media availability. “I'm feeling comfortable with things.”

Comfortable almost seems like an understatement at this point. For the second week in a row, the Packers put up nearly 500 yards on offense with Jones leading the way with 18 carries for 16 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns and 4 receptions for 68 yards and 1 touchdown (ESPN stats).

Star wide receiver Davante Adams even left the game early with a hamstring injury (which seems simply precautionary) and the offense was still firing on all cylinders.

Rodgers had another nice showing going 18/30 for 240 yards and 2 touchdowns (ESPN stats).

 

What went right: The run game

I mentioned Aaron Jones’ stellar performance, but it would be a shame if I didn’t mention how well running back Jamaal Williams played too.

Williams and Jones continue to compliment each other so well, and Williams quietly had 8 carries for 63 yards and averaged 7.9 yards per carry on Sunday (ESPN stats).

 

What went wrong: Another slow defensive start

If the Packers could look as sharp as they did in quarters two-four today from the jump, it would really benefit my health. It seems like Green Bay, and especially Green Bay’s defense, takes so long to wake up and get settled into the game. Luckily, the Vikings and the Lions were never able to get too far ahead early but, with an excellent Saints team coming up on the Packers’ schedule next week, there is no room for this kind of sluggishness.

Hopefully next week Green Bay can create its own energy and be ready to go from the jump. If not, the consequences could be lethal.

 

Offensive MVP: Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones had more total yards on offense Sunday than the entire Vikings team did against the Colts. Let that sink in.

If you didn’t think the Packers should pay Aaron Jones yesterday, your mind may have changed today after his career-high 236-yard performance. Jones was all over the field and the Lions had no idea what to do with him. From leaping up for contested catches, to opening the second half with a career-long 75-yard touchdown run, Jones made quite the statement for himself, and the Packers, in week two.

 

Defensive MVPs: Chandon Sullivan and Rashan Gary

After a little bit of a shaky start, cornerback Chandon Sullivan had a really nice game Sunday. I mentioned his pick-six earlier, but in addition to that, Sullivan had two pass deflections and looked strong in coverage.

Rashan Gary’s performance couldn’t be ignored either; the second-year linebacker out of Michigan had 4 total tackles, 3 of which were solo, 1.5 sacks, 1 tackle for a loss and 2 QB hits (ESPN stats). We heard about how good Gary looked in camp this year and it turns out all that hype was real. Last week, Gary applied pressure and forced an interception and, this week, he pressured and forced Sullivan’s pick-six play.

 

Here’s a look at some of your favorite takeaways!

 

 

  • “I feel the defense still has a bit of rust. It has to be rough going from no live contact to full contact and division rivalries. I feel we should give them time, they've earned that right” - @rippleedit

 

 

 

Up next, the Green Bay Packers hit the road for a primetime matchup with the New Orleans Saints. Kickoff is set for next Sunday, September 27, at 8:20 p.m. EST.   

 

 

 

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

 

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Comments (5)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Lphill's picture

September 20, 2020 at 05:14 pm

Gary is for real !

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fansince1959's picture

September 20, 2020 at 06:21 pm

defense is still our achilles heal----gute needs to get to work

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MITM's picture

September 20, 2020 at 07:51 pm

Pettine is awful. I believe every word Blake Martinez said about what his role in the defense was - a mop up guy - because thats exactly what Kirksey is looking like through 2 games. This defense with its lack of a push (and talent outside Clark) from the interior DL and the alignments along said DL that they come out in make it damn near impossible for an ILB to be anything more than what Martinez was and Kirksey has been so far.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 20, 2020 at 08:19 pm

The last two weeks have been fun, but all they show is that either we're great, or the NFCN is really frigging terrible. As of right now, I'm more inclined to believe the latter.

We're going to learn a bunch about this team next week. I hope we're at full strength. The run defense is just awful. Even if Thomas is out, I definitely fear Kamara.

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nostradanus's picture

September 20, 2020 at 10:37 pm

Lazard - Clutch
MVS - explosive
Jones - pay him yesterday
Tonyan - is the #1
Wagner - so far so good
Rodgers- vintage
J. Williams- the yin to Jones yang
Gary - freakish
Sullivan - Says ‘I got this Tramon
Alexander- a baller
Z - timely playmaker
Crosby - Mr. Steady

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