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Week 13 Game Recap: Green Bay Packers 27, Detroit Lions 23
What you need to know
What you need to know is, we have no idea what this offense is. The Packers have completely strayed from the formula which was successful the last few years. While they still attempt some slants and shorter timing passes, they donít try enough of them and it has disrupted the effectiveness of the passing offense. We thought we could finally count on Eddie Lacy
, but as he missed curfew and was benched, we have no idea what his role will be at least for now. Aside from Aaron Rodgers
, there is little to trust here, even Richard Rodgers
at tight end who had a massive day. The Packers offense is a tremendous puzzle right now and dangerous to rely on.
This was a heart-breaking game for Detroit. While they continued to struggle on the ground, they have embraced Stafford and utilized his strengths. The offensive line was acceptable in pass blocking situations, and aside from the strip sack on Stafford, gave the quarterback enough time on most passing plays. Stafford's deep balls were consistently 1-2 yards off target all day, but the 17 yard touchdown pass to Johnson was on-point. In the end the coaching/defense let this team down against a very good opponent.
Green Bay Packers
|QB Aaron Rodgers, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 36 - 273 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 27 - 1|
The Green Bay Packers continue to ride on Aaron Rodgers
í back most weeks as the offense continues to drift away from what made it successful in previous years. The Packers are not utilizing the quick slants and screens that they used to slice up defenses with. Some of that is that the team misses the reliability of Jordy Nelson
mixed with the frequent drops by the receivers still thereóeven Randall Cobb
. The result is a lot more vertical passes which fall incomplete and a few that get picked off. Rodgers has only thrown five interceptions this year, so the latter isnít a huge concern although Thursdayís was a bit ugly and indicative of what weíve seen on his longer passes. Rodgers felt pressure and had to leave the pocket, which he did to extend the play. So far, so good, but then he failed to set his feet even though he had time. James Jones
was crossing the field and open, though there was a defender behind him and nearby in front of him. The ball sailed, and Jones was unable to haul it in even though he leaped up and extended fully for it. Jones got a hand on it so could he have made the catch, as the announcers suggested? Sure. But it was a poor throw and any catch Jones made was just bailing his quarterback out. Of course, for every bad or off-target throw from Rodgers, you get darts like his third quarter, 8-yard touchdown throw to Davante Adams
. On the play, Adams ran a skinny post with a tiny double move early on in the route. He didnít shake the coverage and was actually bracketed by a pair of Lions. Rodgers threw a pass that was high, but not as much as it was on the interception. Neither defender had their head around to see it coming so Adams was the only one to reach up and make a play on it, which he did for the touchdown. Of course, the biggest play was the bomb at the end of the game. On the one hand, it was a tremendous throw of 61 yards (it nearly hit the crosswalk along the top of the dome) and showed amazing arm strength. Did it show accuracy? Well it fell where he wanted it to go, but it was basically a jump ball, like any Hail Mary. More than anything Richard Rodgers
did a phenomenal job of positioning himself in front of the rest of the players in the end zone, jumping and getting the ball. It was an impressive throw, but also an impressive play by Richard Rodgers
|RB James Starks, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 15 - 0, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (7 targets)|
Starks got the start because Eddie Lacy
missed curfew the night before and was demoted. He kicked things off with back-to-back 6-yard runs and shortly after had a 32-yard catch-and-run which was wiped out by facemask penalty by guard Josh Sitton. Starks would partially replicate it in the third quarter with a nice 25-yard gain off a short pass where he showed some good speed and power in breaking a tackle. Unfortunately, Starks was hampered by a huge deficit by halftime which limited his carries and a banged up offensive line which allowed the Lions to hit him behind the line of scrimmage and killed any gains he might have had. Starks also coughed up the ball on the three yard line in the third. On the carry, he ran off the right guard but when he was tackled, the ball came out and flew into the end zone. Luckily for Starks (and the Packers), Randall Cobb
jumped on it in the end zone and scored.
|RB Eddie Lacy, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - -3 - 0 (1 targets)|
After back-to-back 100 yard games, one would have expected Lacy to get used early and often against the Lions. However not only were the Lions to get into the backfield frequently, but Lacy saw no carries after the second quarter. Some of that was the huge deficit the Packers ended up in, but it turns out that Lacy missed curfew Wednesday night. The clear result was a demotion in the Lions game and less carries. As ineffective as the ground attack was, one wonders if this would have received more criticism had the Packers lost. Lacy struggled a bit in his few carries but those handful arenít much of an indicator of how well he might have been with a full load.
An undrafted free agent who was just signed off the practice squad, Crockett looked good in his few carries. He got his first carry in the second half and while he was stuffed on his first run, he then showed some good burst to the hole, nice cuts and a nose for open space in his next three carries. Overall it was a nice debut, though itís hard to say what role he might have once Eddie Lacy
has served his time for missing curfew prior to this game.
|WR Randall Cobb, 66 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 4 - 29 - 0 (5 targets)|
After struggling to get open for most of the day, Cobbís biggest contribution was a heads up fumble recovery in the third quarter which resulted in a touchdown. It was a momentum changing play as it put Green Bay on the board and 27-3 run on the part of the Packers. On the play, James Starks
was running the football towards the end zone and fumbled the ball forward when he was tackled at the three yard line. The ball flew into the end zone and Cobb quickly jumped on it to secure the score. Otherwise, Cobb continued to get smothered by opposing corners and had issues creating separation as he has all season.
|WR Davante Adams, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 21 - 1 (7 targets)|
Adamsí biggest play was his 8-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. On the play he ran a short, skinny post but couldnít shake his coverage despite a little shake move mid-route. While still bracketed by two receivers, Adams still saw a throw from Aaron Rodgers
which was high and where only he seemed to be able to get it. Adams didnít drop it and hauled it in for the score. Other than that, Adams continued to be streaky showing both very good skills and drops or blunders that make one want to pull out their hair.
|WR James Jones, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 19 - 0 (3 targets)|
Jones didnít see much action on Thursday and was the target on Aaron Rodgers
í interception. On the play, Jones got open, though there was a defender behind him and another nearby. Rodgers had to scramble out of the pocket and threw the ball without setting his feet, causing the pass to sail slightly. Jones jumped and extended his arms but while he got his hands on it, he couldnít catch it and the ball was intercepted by the defender behind him.
Add Abbrederis to the list of Packers receiver struggling to shake coverage. He had one catch on a 3rd and 18 which he caught two yards short of the sticks and was the target on a deep pass by Aaron Rodgers
with 16 seconds left in the game. The pass was a little short and Abbrederis was perfectly covered. Both Abbrederis and the defender banged into each other and the ball fell incomplete.
Janis saw one target on a deep route but was not fast enough to run underneath the ball and it fell incomplete.
seemed to be the only player in complete sync with Aaron Rodgers
on Thursday as he caught all eight of his targets. R. Rodgers caught the ball all over the field, on short routes when he needed to bail A. Rodgers out, on post and corner routes and picking up a key first down with four minutes left in the game where R. Rodgers caught the ball on a screen pass, danced along the sideline and bulled over a defender for the first. Of course, the biggest play for R. Rodgers was the touchdown to win the game with no time remaining. Down by two with no time on the clock (due to a penalty by the Lions), A.Rodgers scrambled around buying time while his receivers ran down the field. The quarterback heaved the ball into the air, throwing it 61 yards into the end zone. There were several players of both teams waiting for the ball to arrive, but R. Rodgers drifted a little shorter while tracking it. As it fell towards the group in the end zone, R. Rodgers moved backwards, putting himself in front of the group, and threw himself into the air. As he had blocked out the rest of the players in the area, R. Rodgers was in good position to make the play and he hauled the ball in for a walk-off touchdown to win the game.
|QB Matthew Stafford, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 35 - 220 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 22 - 0|
While the final result of the game was a defeat, Matthew Stafford
delivered another positive week of production against a formidable Green Bay defense. Challenging the defense early, Stafford connected with 5 different receivers in the first quarter. His second pass of the day was to Calvin Johnson
on a short crossing route that ended in a gain of 20. Stafford's second throw in Johnson's direction was a risky toss, as the receiver was double covered and the ball was nearly intercepted. A slight tip by Johnson inhibited the defender from making a play. On the next series, Stafford looked Golden Tate
's direction often for 3 short passes that Tate was able to turn up field for additional yardage. On Stafford's first touchdown throw of the game, confusion on defense allowed Eric Ebron
to scoot uncovered for an easy 3 yard touchdown catch. Following the touchdown, an interception on the first play for the Packers' offense put Detroit on the 17 yard line. Stafford wasted no time and targeted Johnson on a corner route in single coverage. The ball was placed high and deep for Johnson's hands only. Johnson tip-toed the sideline and brought the ball in for Stafford's second touchdown of the day. The second quarter was mostly controlled by Green Bay and did not see a score from either team. The Packers did amp up their blitz attack, however, and got to Stafford twice in the quarter. Later, Tate was targeted twice - a 25 yard pass over his head that he was unable to bring down, and a crossing route where he was bumped/blocked by a defender on a crossing route. The result was a ball left unattended and open for interception. Fortunately a nearby defender was unable to make the catch.
Unable to find the end zone in the second half, Stafford continued to move the ball and test the deep ball, but was unable to connect as Detroit shifted to a run-heavy approach with the lead. Opening up the second half, Stafford found Bell on an 18 yard play action pass that Detroit has used with great success the last few weeks. A quick pass to Tate for 13 yards was followed by a 37 yard bomb to Johnson, who was open and ahead of his defender, but Stafford overthrew him by a couple of yards. Stafford again targeted Johnson a few throws later for what would have been a 25 yard touchdown. The ball was again off-target and Johnson was well covered allowing a defender to break up the catch. Sans Lance Moore
, Stafford looked to Corey Fuller
and TJ Jones in the second half. Both seeing some light action to help move the chains. A game-shifting play occurred late in the 3rd quarter with Detroit beginning a drive deep in their own territory. Julius Peppers had his speed and go-go gadget arms on full display as he whipped around a dazed left tackle and caught Stafford's arm as he cocked back to throw. The ball was fumbled and Green Bay recovered. The final quarter of the game was run focused, but two notable passes stand out. Looking Johnson's direction again, Stafford dropped a 33 yard bomb about one yard too far and just out of reach for the receiver. In the closing minutes, keeping a sleepy drive alive, Stafford found TJ Jones on a post route for a 29 yard gain, the receiver's third catch of his career.
Compared to Bell, Ameer Abdullah
saw the lion's share of the carries with a total of 13 on the day, managing 67 rushing yards with only three runs of no yardage or a loss of yardage. Abdullah flashes much more agility and ability to get back to and through the line when the blocking breaks down. On a run to the right in the first quarter, Abdullah hit his hole and bounced inside for a 36 yard gain. As from that hefty run and another 12 yard scamper in the first quarter, Abdullah found little success on the ground for the remainder of the game. On a play in the second quarter where he lined up as a receiver, Abdullah ran a route into the flat and was open, but an off-throw by Stafford floated just out of reach.
|RB Joique Bell, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 5 - 0, Rec: 2 - 25 - 0 (2 targets)|
Out of nine runs from Joique Bell
, a startling six of them went for no gain or a loss of yards. His three runs for a gain yielded 17 yards. The big play of the day for Bell was in the third quarter when he was targeted on a play action pass for 18 yards. This is a play the Lions have run with great success over the last few weeks, but Bell's overall production out of the backfield was less than appealing in this game.
|RB Theo Riddick, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 5 - 27 - 0 (6 targets)|
A big performer throughout the season, Theo Riddick
struggled to find room to work against the Packer defense. He was targeted almost exclusively on passing plays and found little room to break open for a big play. Riddick's most productive catch of the day was on a 9 yard screen pass. A late toss in his direction to keep a drive alive was thrown low and uncatchable, capping off the day for the back.
|WR Golden Tate, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 8 - 63 - 0 (10 targets)|
delivered a blue-collar effort on Thursday night, grinding and chopping away at what would ultimately be a productive day for the receiver without any highlight moments. While Tate makes his money on short catches with yardage after the catch, he was targeted on one deep pass 25 yards down the field. Unfortunately the pass sailed over his head, which seemed to be a theme of the day for deep balls. In the fourth quarter, with Detroit in Green Bay territory and facing 4th down with 2 yards to go, Detroit opted to steer clear of the deep field goal attempt and instead go for the first down. On a trips right formation, Tate shot inside for a quick slant gain of 4 yards and a first down.
Only able to score once, Calvin Johnson
was heavily targeted deep and, in theory, could have finished the day with three touchdowns. On Detroit's first drive, after pulling in a short catch on a crossing route for 20 yard, Johnson was targeted on a risky throw between two defenders that Johnson got a hand on, but the pass was well defended. After the Green Bay turnover, Stafford didn't waste time when he found Johnson in the end zone on a methodical 17 yard corner route. Great toss, better catch. After a quiet 2nd quarter, Stafford again targeted Johnson twice in the third on passes of 37 and 25 yards. Both passes were unfortunately off-target and incomplete. Finally, in the last quarter of the game, Stafford sent a 33 yard package in the star receiver's direction that was unfortunately a yard ahead of him and uncatchable.
|WR T.J. Jones, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 37 - 0 (3 targets)|
Coming into the game with only one career catch, it was TJ Jones that saw more offensive snaps that veteran Corey Fuller
. He made a strong argument for more playing time going forward as well. Jones' first catch came in the third quarter on a pass behind the line of scrimmage that Jones confidently turned up field for an 8 yard gain. Later in the fourth quarter, Jones ran a crisp post route between defenders on a nice catch-and-run for 29 yards on a crucial offensive series.
|WR Corey Fuller, 11 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (2 targets)|
Working more in the absence of Lance Moore
, Corey Fuller
saw two targets, pulling in one of them for a 15 yard catch on an out route.
|TE Eric Ebron, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 9 - 1 (2 targets)|
Tight end Eric Ebron
continued to shed the dropsies bug, catching both targets sent his direction and capping off a second straight week of positive play. Early in the first quarter, Stafford found Ebron wide open in the end zone for an easy 3 yard score. Ebron wasn't targeted again until the fourth quarter when he managed a 6 yard gain on a crossing route.