Packers Outlast Lions in Cold and Snow

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DuJuan Harris

Who?

Now that was some NFC North football! The beat-up Green Bay Packers outlasted the overmatched Detroit Lions 27-20 on a cold and snowy night at Lambeau Field.

The game was far from pretty, but the result was the desired one for the Packers (9-4), who now hold a one-game lead over the Chicago Bears in the division race. The Bears dropped their second straight, losing to the Vikings in Minnesota, to fall to 8-5.

The Packers started slowly against the Lions, watching the Leos jump out to a 14-0 lead before getting anything going. They closed the deficit to 14-10 at halftime and then took over in the second half, outscoring the Lions 17-6.

Surprisingly, there weren’t a lot of offensive fireworks.

Both teams relied heavily on the run in the first half, but two of the touchdowns were the direct result of turnovers. Detroit’s second touchdown came after a strip sack, when Lawrence Jackson beat Marshall Newhouse and hit an unsuspecting Aaron Rodgers from behind.

Stephen Tulloch recovered and tight end Tony Scheffler caught at 3-yard touchdown pass shortly thereafter.

Matthew Stafford returned the favor later in the second quarter to let Green Bay back in it. While trying to throw a quick screen, the wet ball slipped out of Stafford’s hand as he cocked his arm to throw. Rookie defensive tackle Mike Daniels was in the right place at the right time, picked up the ball and rumbled 43 yards for the Packers first TD.

His comical attempt at a Lambeau Leap was almost as good as the score itself.

From there, it was NFC North football of yore — good defense and a solid ground game.

Hell, Aaron Rodgers only had 173 yards passing and didn’t throw a touchdown. Likewise, Stafford didn’t surpass 200 yards passing until garbage time.

The Packers got things done on the ground, where Alex Green got 69 yards on 13 carries — a 5.3 average. Rodgers chipped in 33 and a rushing touchdown and DuJuan Harris added 31 and another rushing score.

And just because we’re sure you wanted to know — Ryan Grant: one carry, 13 yards.

The Packers only receiving threat on the evening was Randall Cobb, who had 102 yards on seven catches.

Defensively, the Packers were successful by not letting Calvin Johnson take over the game. Although he had 10 catches for 118 yards, Johnson was played well by Tramon Williams. Most importantly, Johnson didn’t make any huge receptions, as you can see by his yards per catch (11.8).

Johnson was averaging 16.6 per catch coming into Sunday night.

In addition to Williams, Sam Shields was particularly impressive in his return from injury. Shields recorded a pick and nearly had two others.

Where the Packers defense didn’t excel was, not surprisingly, against the run. The Packers gave up 135 on the ground and the number would have been a lot higher if the Lions didn’t have to abandon that facet of the game in the fourth quarter.

The problem?

Wait for it…

A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones.

Yeah, these guys show up in the box score — Jones had 12 tackles and Hawk had eight — but they get pushed around on the field.

Both Jones and Hawk, for some reason, always tend to tackle guys high. They always get pushed back three or four yards when they do so.

When’s the last time you saw either one of these guys knock someone backwards?

Never?

Yeah.

While Hawk and Jones were failing against the run, the Packers outside linebackers — Erik Walden, Dezman Moses and Frank Zombo — were failing as pass rushers. For the second week in a row, the Packers didn’t have a sack.

In fact, Stafford was rarely hurried. Perhaps most embarrassing is that the Lions quarterback took Zombo out on a block early in the game.

In the end, all that ineptitude didn’t cost the Packers though. It was largely the Lions ineptitude and Packers secondary that was the difference in the game.

The good news is, reinforcements are on the way. Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson are expected back for the Bears next weekend. Coincidentally, the Packers can also wrap up the division title with a win in Chicago.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

22 Comments on "Packers Outlast Lions in Cold and Snow"

  1. TyKoSteamboat

    I am a little suprised…down 14-0 & time of possesion…
    Wow.
    We played great.
    I have always hated Minnesota with a passion (& Chicago too, even though i grew-up watching the PACK kick their ass) but i am growing to hate the Kittens, even though i have always had a soft-spot for them in my heart…those dirty bastards (Suh & Fairley are douchers) get what they deserve
    Our offensive line was awesome…(all things considered). Feel blessed, PACK nation.
    We are well-coached & poised…
    Not a champion perfomance tonight, but we’re about to clinch in Chicago!!!
    GO PACK GO!!!!

  2. nurseratchett

    Talk about balance…great game! Defense & O-Line scared me a couple of times as usual, but I LOVE THIS WIN!

    Fairley had BETTER get a post game fine from HRH Roger Goodell….and Suh? Not a dirty player….nahhhh…

    On to Shitcago. Thank God Erlacher is out.

    GO PACK GO!!!

  3. Shawn Iltarion

    Mason Crosby – Welcome to the party, pal!

    Horrible defense in the 1st half, but I am liking this trend of dominating the 2nd half.

    Erik Walden, Frank Zombo and Dezman Moses… WTF?? Not holding the edge and not getting to the passer. Moses can’t stay on side and Zombo frankly doesn’t look like he belongs on an NFL roster. Meanwhile, Walden is MIA.

    Brad Jones in coverage. Wow. We need Woodson to be our dime LB.

    Jerel Worthy… a couple key rushes. We need Mike Neal back though. With Neal AND CM3 out, we miss our 2 best pass rushers.

    Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, and Casey Hayward. Liking it.

    A-Rodge… great plays outside the pocket, but inside it? Not good. Should have hit Jennings to seal the game. The Packers can’t go far in the playoffs if this guy doesn’t get some of his pocket mojo back.

  4. Shawn Iltarion

    Oh, and HUGE win.

    The Packers now make the playoffs by simply beating Tennessee. They win the division by beating EITHER Chicago or Minnesota.

  5. Ryan

    This is ridiculous. Two weeks ago this blog (and many of its faithful readers) all but implied that they wanted McCarthy publicly executed . Thompson as well. Now, after two good division wins not ONE mention of McCarthy and his play calling? Pathetic.

    McCarthy deserves a lot of credit for yesterday’s win. The offense took a while to get going (although its first drive was very promising until that moron Newhouse got burned) but once it did it looked very good.

    The run defense looked awful in the 1st half but they really stiffened up in the 2nd half.

    Meanwhile, the secondary played exceptionally well. Hayward, Shields and Tramon, to name a few, all had great games. Considering there was no pass rush, the small amount of yardage that Stafford had was extremely impressive.

    And finally… Barclay: Awesome. Harris: Great.

    Can we PLEASE stop the bull shit about Ted Thompson not being able to draft. That is simply an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

    • Bill

      Actually, the Jaguars signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2011 – TT didn’t draft him. That means TT passed him over for guys named Rick Elmore, Caleb Schlauderaff, and Lawrence Guy.

          • Shawn Iltarion

            Ryan said nothing about TT drafting DuJuan Harris.

            You are only reading it that way.

            He is criticizing all the commenters who show up here to bash TT, usually after a loss. His point is well taken.

            He then puts Barclay and Harris on a separate line, complimenting them. I’m quite sure Ryan is aware that neither were drafted.

            And it doesn’t really matter how TT acquired Barclay and Harris. The bottom line is that he did.

            Personally, I don’t think Ryan should take it so hard. We all know why there will always be MM and TT bashers, regardless of how many titles they win.

  6. Abe Frohman

    etween T. Williams, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Davon House and Morgan Burnett, we might have one of the best, young secondaries in the NFL. Think how good they’d be if there was a pass rush to help them out.

    Barclay in at RT and all of a sudden we can run the ball two weeks in a row. Let’s move TJ back to LG and be done with the EDS experiment.

  7. Vijay

    Remember when our linebacking core was considered a strength? Yeah, no exotic blitzes, no pressures…that won’t get it done in the playoffs. I have a feeling the defense will play much more closer to average once Clay returns. And in the case of the Packers, an avg. defense may be good enough. However, that O-Line needs to be solidified with Barclay and Lang starting and possibly a battle between EDS and Saturday for starting center???

  8. Mike R

    Let’s not forget that we are without Desmond Bishop, DJ Smith, Nick Perry, and Matthews (as you stated above). Brad Jones and Zombo are no Bishop, or DJ Smith for that matter, and obviously not in Matthews’ league, but the lack of ability to stop the run is not surprising with all of those injuries.

    Any one that says the TT can’t draft is obviously retarded. Someone listed a few players that he passed on over Barclay. Please… For one, ease up on Barclay, he has played one and half games, and has played pretty well. But to expect that we hit every draft pick is ridiculous. I think you would have hard time finding 5 teams that have drafted better the last 5 years. He certainly doesn’t do it through free agency, so how else are we in the running for a Division title/Championship every year?

    • Darrin

      Good point – those 4 should be the starting LB corp and none played last night. Depth is one thing, but to lose the entire starting group is another.

    • Bill

      Very easy, we have Aaron Rodgers and other teams do not. That’s why we are in every game and contend for the division. Take A-Rodge away and we are the Miami dolphins – if that. TT does alright drafting.. My questions is why he only very rarely goes into free agency.. why not use all facets to better your team? Remember, the year we won the superbowl, if Desean Jackson doesn’t beat the Giants on that memorable punt return, we don’t even make the playoffs. Wonder if we would still have the same evaluation of Ted had we not that bit of luck. Last big free agents he signed were Woodson and Pickett; Both have been studs… besides the Anthony Smith debacle, he is 2 for 3!

      • Mike R

        Bill, you are an idiot. TT drafted Rodgers. I suppose Bill Polian shouldn’t get any credit for drafting Peyton Manning either huh? Obviously with a great QB, you always have a chance, but it takes more than that. Look at Brees.

        Here are some of TT’s draft picks: Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Morgan Burnett, Nick Collins, josh Sitton, Desmond Bishop, Jermichael Finley (I know, I know no need to point out his short comings), BJ Raji. Not to mention his non-drafted acquisitions: Charles Woodson (for a bargain), Tramon Williams.

        What the hell else do you want Bill? Yeah, TT sucks. Most GM’s would give their left nut to draft half of these guys.

      • Shawn Iltarion

        Bill, its called a salary cap. Because TT drafted Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews and BJ Raji, we are lucky to have enough money to resign the guys we already have, let alone spending big money on free agents.

        TT picked up Woodson and Pickett in free agency because there was no foundation already built here and TT wanted to win right away and not wait 5 years.

        By the way, the top organizations: GB, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, New England and the Giants- none of them do squat in free agency.

        I would love to erase the faulty notion of Desean Jackson saving the Packer’s season in one swoop if I could.

        I was pulling for the Giants to win that game. If the Giants win, they are on track to win the division. The Eagles would have been left to the wildcard chase. The Packers had already beaten the Eagles, Week 1. So, the Packers already had the tie breaker on the Eagles.

        Because the Eagles won, the Packers had to beat the Giants to get the tie breaker over them. The Packers crushed the Giants and earned their way in. The Jackson punt return didn’t mean shit.

  9. Hay mxz600 are you reading these comments about Barclay and Harris.Yea of little faith and do not know talent. You can keep your boy ,Newhouse hes going to get Rodgers hurt,along with the guy next to him that got pushed all the way back to Rodgers Barclay can hold his ground and good lateral movement.Harris hard to bring down and fast to the line and endzone

  10. Shawn Iltarion

    I am not about to anoint Harris just because he had a couple runs. Hell, even Ryan Grant came in and popped off 13 yards.

    Alex Green did the majority of the damage and frankly looked pretty good. Packers still need to use him more out of the backfield.

    I hope this settles it. Barclay is the new RT. Lang needs to go back to LG. If you have to start EDS, you put him in at C. Did Cliff Avril, who had a good game against Lang in Detroit, even play last night? I don’t ever remember seeing him.

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