The Detroit Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers today by a final score of 19-7. This game was dominated by defense on both sides of the ball. The Lions pass defense, decimated by injuries, held Green Bay’s usually potent offense in check, limiting them to 223 total yards of offense. 162 of those yards came in the air. Packers leading receiver Jordy Nelson was held in check with 5 catches for 59 yards and no touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers only completed 59% of his passes which is unusual for him. Eddie Lacy, the Packers best running back, was stifled with only 36 yards and a fumble.
Detroit, on the other end of the spectrum, had a poor day offensively. Matthew Stafford was very inconsistent with some drives looking good and others looking sloppy. He finished the day with 246 yards and 2 interceptions and a fumble. For a player who has been so heavily built around, this is not the type of performance Detroit wanted from him. Three turnovers from their star quarterback can typically be a game decider. Today it was not.
The real story in this game was the Detroit Lion defense. Originally considered a weakness, the Detroit Lions pass defense has stood tall all season. They shut down Eli Manning and the Giants offense, they contained Carolina until the late third quarter, and they shut down Green Bay almost entirely. Keeping Aaron Rodgers under 60% passing and under 200 yards passing was incredible. Especially so when you factor that they have lost Bill Bentley, Chris Houston, Nevin Lawson, James Ihedigbo, and Cassius Vaughn at this point (with Houston being cut in the offseason). The Lions run defense has been equally impressive, if not more impressive considering that in the past three weeks they have shut down Rashad Jennings, Jonathan Stewart, and now Eddie Lacy. They produced on the scoreboard as well with a touchdown and a safety. They have consistently pressured opposing quarterbacks, and really are the only reason Detroit is 2-1 right now.
The Detroit Lions kicking game is still a mess. Kicker Nate Freese missed another 40+ yard field goal today. He was 1-2 on field goal attempts today. This past week the Lions kicked the tires on some veteran kickers before sticking with Freese for another week. Freese did not reward that decision leading to a similar result of inconsistency. Luckily in today’s game it did not matter.
The Detroit Lions found a little bit of running room this week. Joique Bell was held in check today only getting 33 yards on 15 carries, but the story in the running game was Reggie Bush’s 61 yards on 12 carries, one of which was the Lions lone offensive touchdown. With one win over a divisional foe already in the books, Detroit moves into first place in the division with the Chicago Bears game determining if they share that spot or hold it alone. Its early in the season, but its a good start for new head coach Jim Caldwell.