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Lions vs. Packers: The Aftermath

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Lions vs. Packers: The Aftermath

The Packers defeated the Lions 27-20 to complete the season sweep of Detroit.

Strange Days

Lambeau Field was an odd place Sunday evening.

James Jones dropped a pass for the first time all year, Aaron Rodgers lost a rare fumble, Mike Daniels was spotted showing off a Lambeau Leap, the Packers ran the ball with gusto and Mason Crosby hit two big field goals.

Most of the team’s luck this season has been bad, so the Packers welcomed some positive luck on Sunday.

Good luck coupled with a dominating performance in the second half proved to be the equation for victory on Sunday as the Packers moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC North. 

Running the Football

The Packers defense was gashed on the ground for the third straight week. The Lions running backs totaled 135 yards on 32 carries, but when it mattered most, the defense came through. The defensive unit was better in the second half while playing with a lead, but the hopeful return of Clay Matthews next week cannot come soon enough.

After seeing the field for just over seven minutes in the entire first half, the Packers offense made the most of its opportunities in the second session.

The offense, led by the rushing attack, came alive. In fact, the Packers only touchdown drive of the fourth quarter featured seven plays and not a single pass.

Green Bay covered 59 yards in just over four minutes following good field position after a rare Jason Hanson missed field goal. The drive culminated with newcomer DuJuan Harris scoring a touchdown on an untouched 14-yard dash up the middle.

Overall, the Packers totaled 140 yards on the ground and continued their streak of running the ball well in the month of December

Play of the Game

The Packers’ offense faced a third-and-four from the Lions 27-yard line on the eighth play of the opening drive of the second half.

Following the snap, the pocket quickly collapsed around quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Like he has so many times before, Rodgers somehow escaped harm. Sprinting out of the chaos and to his right, Rodgers looked for Jermichael Finley in the flat.

Finley continued his route to the sideline and the Lions’ defender closely trailed the tight end creating a clear path for Rodgers to run to the end zone.

Five yards from the end zone, Rodgers raised the ball into the air to celebrate and upon crossing the end line pulled out a championship belt before heading to the stands for one of the poorer Lambeau Leaps in Rodgers’ history.

The score gave the Packers their first lead of the game and the momentum shift proved too much for the Lions to overcome.

Turnovers Tell the Story

Aside from the final score, the turnover battle is typically the second most telling statistic. And for the second straight game, it was the Packers positive ratio in the category that helped bring the team to victory.

An early Rodgers’ fumble led directly to a Lions touchdown but the sole Packers turnover was overcome with a productive second half by the offense.

Matthew Stafford’s own fumble led to a touchdown with defensive lineman Mike Daniels scooping up the ball and barreling 43-yards for the score.

Sam Shields first half interception of Stafford didn’t lead to any points but did stop the Lions’ drive and helped taper the Lions’ explosive first half.

Both quarterbacks' fumbles proved costly, but the Packers overcame what the Lions could not. As Rodgers pointed out in a post-game interview with NBC’s Michelle Tafoya, “Ugly wins are better than tough losses" and the Packers will gladly take the victory.

Up Next

The Packers came out of the contest unscathed and will happily welcome back Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson for next week's game in Chicago.

A win against the Bears would clinch the NFC North crown for the Packers.


Max Ginsberg is a regular contributor at CheeseheadTV, blogs at and can be reached via Twitter @MaxGinsberg or at maxginsberg[at]

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (29) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

T's picture

4-1 without Matthews and Woodson this year. Never thought I would ever see it. Granted, the Packers played some bad teams during that stretch, but they were divisional games.

Philly the Dane's picture

4-1 not only without Matthews and Woodson, but both interior lines decimated, handicapped inside linebacking all year, running back after running back going down. Proof of remarkable depth, coaching, and grit from the players.

woodson4president's picture

Ugly win, but one of my favorite games all season. A tough grind it out nail biter IN THE SNOW! Loved every minute of it. GO PACK!

Bugeater's picture

I keep hear 'ugly win' on this one, but from my perspective it's the opposite...I loved seeing them stand toe to toe with the supposedly more 'physical' playground bully and, after getting punched in the mouth, not only punching back, but stepping on their throats. That second half was a beautiful display of December playoff ready football. Ground game sapping the life out of the Lions whose best was only a few cheap shots and a Calvin Johnson - who btw, was in a dog fight of his own with one Tramon Williams. There are gonna be a lot of sore bodies in the whirlpool this week on both teams, but the Pack is in the position to drive a knife into the hearts of both the Bears and the Vikings. Life is good my friends. Very good. And what's that I see on the horizon? Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson? Nice.

Derek's picture

Yeah, I'm amazed they keep winning with so many back ups due to injury, an offense not playing anywhere close to last year's team, and no pass rush whatsoever. Wonder the bears are thinking, now knowing that Clay Matthews has been saved for this week's game. Goodnight, Jay Cutler!

imma fubared's picture

I too am amazed at this team. They have zero pass rush. The linebackers are awful. I mean last night I watched Zombo and Walden stand their ground and wait for the runner to get to them giving up three four yards a crack rather than attack the line of scrimmage and play aggressive. Perhaps they were worried about getting hurt of something?

Single man coverage of the best receiver in the game only worked because of the snow and slippery conditions, otherwise Johnson would have had a field day out there.

Again Rogers is holding on to the ball and the receivers just keep trucking down the field on those go routes that all teams now know how to cover. Rogers looks shaky. He is very reluctant to run. Even the TD run was like an afterthought. Fact is, his receivers were covered last night and have been covered well the past several games with teams using the Giants defensive scheme.

The holding calls are killing this team. The refs are looking for it and this team is the most penalized in football for it.

Anyways they won but I do not see them progressing in the playoffs if they reach the playoffs. Way to much deadwood from un-drafted free agents no one else wanted.

PackerBacker's picture

I'm not sure that we're watching the same team.

Does all of this pessimism feel good? Your team won. Take two seconds and enjoy it. I'd hate to hear you if they lost games. Geesh.

murphy's picture

You won't, because he disappears for a while after Viking losses. Just another fair-weather MN mud duck with too much time on his hands.

jack in jersey city's picture

i wonder how he felt at this point in the 2010 season ;)

Corporate cheesehead's picture

Let me get this straight, the pack played with only four healthy DL, two third string linebackers, three rookies in the secondary, a third string right tackle, second string left guard, third and fourth string RBs and still run for 150 yards, looking more balanced than ever and still find a way to win the game ... Hmmm. Color me green and gold, but imagine what this team will look like with nelson, Lang, Matthews, cj wilson, neal and Woodson back and healthy. Mm is setting the team up to win in the playoffs .... Not too many teams will want to play this team in January .... Kudos to mm and TT.

trvs's picture

I agree that the win was tough, but I actually saw some intensity out there. Our D needs more of pass rush from the DL, but they were certainly punching back, especially in the 4 qtr. We shouldn't need to bring a safety down to stop the run, but kudos to the DB's for playing one on one.

Stafford was looking flustered and throwing reckless. The same formula will work against the bears. CM3 will be a huge surge for a defense that is ascending with non-proven players. I really like our momentum heading forward.

Keep Rodgers clean, continue pounding the ball on the ground and those passing lanes will be wide open, no doubt. Let's dominate here on out, and win it all!

Otto's picture

They only ran two defensive linemen all game. It's hard to get pressure from two D linemen.
They were in their nickle D the whole game because they only had 4 healthy D linemen. They had to bring the safety down to stop the run.
The Lions ended up ave about 2.5 yrds/carry. Not bad from a Nickle D.

PacMan's picture

Is the run game better or are they just confusing the defense with change of backfield? Or is that the same thing?
I was happy to finally see Green pounding forward. Grant showed he's still got some stuff left. A few more games like this will pull the defense in a bit more and then we will have a balanced offense. Why is this top notch receiver corp still not getting open enough for the short/medium gainers? Fun to see AR run one in but that's not the game plan.

How come Cobb's one handed grab didn't make the replay reals?

I hope the Giants are peaking too early. They look the team to beat at the moment. What a hyped game that will be if they come back to GB for another playoff game.

denniseckersley's picture

I'll believe that Matthews is playing when I see it. I remember coming out of the bye on Tuesday reading a headline that read "Could Matthews potentially play on Sunday". That was 4 goddamn weeks ago. I've thought he was gonna play every week since then. Not gonna get my hopes up anymore.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

That's a big 10-4... Over.

woodson4president's picture

I hear that......if we gotta save him for the p word then fine save him. But if he's not healthy and not comin back just tell us already.

Mojo's picture

Who the F knows what the real status of the Packer injured are. The trainers room is the Packers version of Area 51. I remember when Perry was hurt, we were all led to believe it was something with his knee, and he'd be back any day. Next thing you know he's having wrist surgery. Only when they end up on IR do we get idea as to the significance of their injuries.

Speaking of injuries, Shields mysterious calf, knee, ankle injury must of healed fine, because he looked as good as before he got hurt. He's been jobbed on a number of bogus PI penalties, else he's played fantastically this year. He's had as tight of coverage as a Snugger Fit condom.

Jake's picture

Remember in 2010 when the corner backs coach said Shields would be one of the best corners in the league in a few years? Could still be true. It is after all only his 4th year playing corner...

Derek's picture

Shields definitely has the speed, ball skills, he can actually catch, just needs to get a bit more physical. Hit the weight room and start kicking some ass!

lisa klingman's picture

were going to the superbowl- i just know it and im going back to green bay,wi,because the south sucks!

pooch's picture

Wow Packer nation, I am sure the Falcons,Bears,Steelers wished they had ugly wins....just win baby thats all that counts....getting healthy,Barclay looking good,Harris looks like nice pick up,wide recievers next week since 2-3 week of this year will we have full WR roster.Secondary may be lights out the last 2 months,much improved Wilson coming back,Shields looking good..cant wait for CM3

trvs's picture

If all of our d-lineman come back healthy and dare I say maybe grab one off of the street, this team could be a well-rounded team. Need to tighten it up a little bit, but the ugly wins are positive motivation to get better.

cow42's picture

can't figure this team out.
they don't consistently do things that good teams consistently do...

-protect the qb
-pressure opp. qb
-stop run

i still don't think they're as good as their record... but they keep winning.

as for the injured guys...
i doubt anyone with a leg injury will play against the Bears.
why on earth would you risk jordy's or clay's hamstrings or tj's ankle on the crappiest field in the nfl?

we'll see them against the titans.

Ruppert's picture

They do manage to do one thing extremely well: keep their heads on straight throughout the ups and downs of a football game.

Lesser teams would have collapsed during the first Detroit win, the Vikings win, and yesterday's win. But the Packers kept their cool, they hung in there, and they won. THIS is one thing this team does exceptionally well.

woodson4president's picture

Your right they shouldn't be 9-4.......should be 10-3.

PackRat's picture

Ordinarily I'm looking at the unfilled half of the cup. Last night's win was fun to watch.

Love Barclay. Reminds one of an "athletic" Taucher. Lang at LG and EDS at Center and we'd be ready to go to war on the O-line.

Seeing Jennings back and uninjured after the game makes me smile at the thought of having the big 5 (yes, even JMike) together for the playoffs. Nearly unstoppable with an adequate OL.

Secondary could be really good at picking the ball off if Tramon can challenge the other team's best the way he did and force throws to secondary receivers. Couldn't believe they went AWAY from Megatron except largely for a few tosses over the middle. Also, secondary coverage will allow us to blitz more.

LBs still a disaster. Hope for DezMoses if he remembers to start on our side. No other LB worth anything. It is amazing AJ is still out there being dragged and beaten in pass coverage. Lucky Detroit didn't have a TE.

Let's hope the Pack win two more and can rest against the Queens.

Mojo's picture

Just did a little homework on the chances of the Pack to win the division. Obviously, they currently are in a great position with three game to play. If they lose to the Bares next week, they can still win the division by winning their last two games. If that happened, the Pack and Bares would tie in the head-to-head, but the Pack would win the division with the next tie breaker; a better win percentage within the division (5 out of 6 to 4 out 6 max for the Bares) even if the Bares won their remaining games.

So as nice as it would be to win next Sunday, the Pack may want to think about holding out some of the walking wounded in preperation for the final push. Or not.

Jake's picture

I agree with everyone in here saying things about how gritty and resilient the team has looked. But I'm still concerned about just how high their ceiling of play is. For a team that's so reliant on the QB, will they be able to protect him in the playoffs against a premier rush team like the Giants or 9ers? They've grinded out a bunch of really tough wins, but can they really perform their best with a banged up o line and defense? That's the only thing I'm questioning, because I know how good they can be when they are healthy (see Texans game).

woodson4president's picture

Aldon Smith just needs to go away...

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"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
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