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Week 5 Game Recap: Green Bay Packers 23, Detroit Lions 31

What you need to know

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers lost to the Detroit Lions, 31-23 on Sunday, dropping their record to 2-2-1 on the season. Aaron Rodgers had a big day, completing 32 of 52 passes for 442 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing three times for 10 yards. Running backs Aaron Jones (seven rushes for 40 yards), Jamaal Williams (six carries for 33 yards) and Ty Montgomery (four carries for 15 yards) combined for 88 yards on 17 carries, while also catching five passes for 61 yards. Davante Adams led the Packers receivers with nine catches for 140 yards and a touchdown. Marquez Valdes-Scantling played well in his first start, catching seven passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. Jimmy Graham caught six passes for 76 yards.

Detroit Lions

Detroit had a strong offensive performance aided by Green Bay turnovers. LeGarrette Blount converted two goal line touchdowns and Matthew Stafford threw for two red zone touchdowns. Kerryon Johnson continues to be the best back in the Detroit offense, but in a timeshare with Blount. Kenny Golladay continued his emergence and saw expanded perimeter targets.

Green Bay Packers

QB Aaron Rodgers, 81 offensive snaps, Pass: 32 - 52 - 442 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 10 - 0
Aaron Rodgers completed 32 of 52 passes for 442 yards and three touchdowns in the Packers loss to the Lions on Sunday. Rodgers also ran three times for 10 yards. Rodgers had to put the Packers on his back, once again, with two of his top three receivers out for the week in Randall Cobb and Geranimo Allison. He hardly to blame for the loss though, as Rodgers responded with a monster day and would have pulled off a big win if not for Mason Crosby’s FOUR missed field goals. Rodgers was slinging it all over the field, and when he’s in a groove passing, he can put the ball in places that few other quarterbacks can. On first and 10 from his own 12 yard line, Rodgers threw a pass to Jimmy Graham running a seem route from the left slot. Deep in your own territory is not the best time to gamble on a throw, but still, Rodgers threw the ball high and out in front of Graham to give him the opportunity to make a play where his defender could not get to it. If he overthrows Graham or it is a tipped ball, it is an interception most of the time and it gives Detroit the ball deep in Packers territory. The pass was perfect and Graham made a really nice play to come down with the catch for a 24 yard gain. Rodgers first touchdown pass went to Valdes-Scantling, with the Packers on the Lions three yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun, play-action faked to Williams and then rolled to his left before finding Valdes-Scantling for an easy touchdown, as Rodgers sold the fake so well there was no Lions defender even near him. Rodgers second touchdown pass went to Lance Kendricks, with the Packers on the Lions one yard line. Again, Rodgers play-action faked the handoff and had Kendricks wide open for an easy touchdown pass. His final touchdown pass went to Davante Adams with the Packers on the Lions 12 yard line. Adams ran a masterful route, faking to the middle of the field at the apex and then breaking to the sideline. It was a routine play for Rodgers, who threw Adams the ball in a perfect place to allow Adams to score unimpeded.

RB Aaron Jones, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 40 - 0, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (3 targets)
The Packers and Mike McCarthy have stayed true to their earlier statements about having a backfield by committee, even when it is apparent that doing so is hurting the flow of the running game. With the Packers on their own 39 yard line, Rodgers handed off to Jones four straight times, with those plays going for eight yards, 18 yards, five yards and six yards. Then Rodgers threw three incompletions and Crosby missed a 42 yard field goal. That type of play-calling has not been uncommon this year, and even when Jones appears to be just the type of running back the Packers need to balance their offense, McCarthy goes to either Williams or Montgomery. Jones is by far the most talented, but apparently, he is not as adept at pass-blocking as Williams, who is not as good a pass-catcher as Montgomery. With the Packers trailing for most of the game, McCarthy abandoned the running game and Jones saw only one catch in the second half.

RB Jamaal Williams, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 33 - 0, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (4 targets)
Williams has run the ball better in his limited duties, as opposed to when he could not get anything going in the first two games of the year as the Packers bell-cow running back. Still, it is hard to get behind him or any one of these three players because the Packers are so inconsistent in how they deploy them.

RB Ty Montgomery, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 15 - 0, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0 (3 targets)
Montgomery only saw limited duty even though the Packers were down two wide receivers. He didn't line up often outside of the backfield and made minimal contributions.

WR Davante Adams, 71 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 140 - 1 (12 targets)
Davante Adams caught nine passes for 140 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets. With Cobb and Allison out with injuries, Adams took on an even bigger role in the passing game, although I would have thought he’d see more than 12 targets on a day when Rodgers threw the ball 52 times. Despite working against Darius Slay for most of the afternoon, Adams was consistently getting open and creating plays after the catch. This was especially true when plays broke down and Adams was free to get to an open spot so Rodgers could find him. He did this really well on a passing play where Rodgers was flushed out of the pocket and running to his left. Adams broke off his shallow route and took off to the left sideline, peeling his way up the field slightly as he did so. Rodgers found him and Adams was able to gain another 10 yards after the catch for a 22 yard gain. Additionally, Adams was able to create plays of 22, 23, 30, 17 and 19 yards, while also having a 32 yard catch overturned. Adams touchdown catch came on a double move from the Lions 12 yard line. Adams set up the route as though he was going to run a shallow in-route, but at the apex, he put his foot in the ground, changed direction and took off the for the left sideline. The fake worked perfectly and Adams was wide open as Rodgers hit him for a 12 yard touchdown. Adams now has touchdown in four of the Packers five games this season.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 77 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 68 - 1 (10 targets)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught seven passes for 68 yards and one touchdown in his starting debut for the Packers Sunday. With Cobb and Allison out, Valdes-Scantling moved to the #2 receiver spot and performed about as well as you could hope for a rookie in his first start. Valdes-Scantling’s touchdown came on a routine route from the Lions three yard line, where Rodgers play-action faked a hand off and rolled to his left. Marques-Scantling set up his route very well and broke to the left side of the end zone as Rodgers threw him a wide-open touchdown pass. It was the first touchdown of his career. Valdes-Scantling nearly had the second touchdown of his career in this game as well, but after being called a touchdown on the field, the play was overturned and ruled that he had gone down at about ˝ yard line. Valdes-Scantling did have two rookie moments though. The first was where he ran the wrong route and Rodgers was visibly upset as the play nearly went for an interception. The second came with Rodgers escaping out of the pocket, and Valdes-Scantling did not come back to the ball quick enough for Rodgers which resulted in a sack. Overall though, it was an encouraging day for the rookie wide receiver.

TE Jimmy Graham, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 76 - 0 (11 targets)
Jimmy Graham six passes for 76 yards on 11 targets against the Lions on Sunday. Graham’s 11 targets were the most he’s seen all year, and his six catches and 76 yards were the second highest in both departments. Graham’s overall stats look pretty good for the tight end position this season, but a closer look at his actual play and you will see that he did not perform at his best against the Lions. On two potential touchdown catches, Graham either fell while trying to run a fade to the corner of the end zone, or he just flat-out dropped an open touchdown pass from Rodgers. If Graham makes either of those plays, he has a really big game, which is sort of what you expect from him when he sees 11 targets. Graham did make one catch that reminded you of the athlete he used to be when playing for the Saints. Graham ran a go-route from the left slot up the inside seem of the field. Despite being at his own 12 yard line, Rodgers threw the ball high and gave Graham a chance to make a play. Graham did just that, snagging the ball at its high point and recording a 24 yard catch.

Detroit Lions

QB Matthew Stafford, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 26 - 183 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0
Matthew Stafford had a low volume game against Green Bay largely the result of an early lead set up by Green Bay turnovers. Stafford had two touchdown passes, a post to Kenny Golladay and a back of the end zone throw to Marvin Jones. Stafford could have had a bigger day, with Marvin Jones dropping a long touchdown and Kenny Golladay getting tackled inside the five on a long reception. Detroit benefits from LeGarrette Blount’s red zone ability, but it put a cap on Stafford’s red zone attempts. Stafford was only sacked three times and showed the ability to get out of the pocket and create when plays broke down.

RB Kerryon Johnson, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 70 - 0, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (2 targets)
Kerryon Johnson saw the first action of the Detroit running backs for the second consecutive week. Johnson continues to operate in a time share with LeGarrette Blount but is clearly the better talent. Johnson was able to get to the edge for multiple chunk gains and is explosive with a finisher’s mentality at the end of runs. He also shows good elusiveness forcing defenders to miss. Johnson is behind Blount in the pecking for short yardage and goal line work, as Blount was able to pound in two short touchdowns, but Johnson adds explosiveness and receiving ability Blount does not. The backfield looks like a committee for the foreseeable future, but Johnson has difference making ability any week Blount misses with injury. Johnson did leave the game late and was receiving attention from the training staff when the game was all but over. He did not return and his injury status is important to monitor during the week.

RB LeGarrette Blount, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 22 - 2
LeGarrette Blount finished two red zone trips with short touchdowns against Green Bay. The first was set up by a turnover and the second was a long pass to Kenny Golladay, so Blount largely benefitted from the work of others. Blount’s success is notable because Detroit has long struggled in the red zone to convert short scoring chances on the ground. Blount otherwise rotated with Kerryon Johnson but is clearly the inferior talent. Blount gets swallowed up on carries where Johnson’s speed and cutting ability would allow him greater opportunity. While Blount is not seeing the first carries of the game, he is highly involved in the offense and used in high leverage situations.

RB Theo Riddick, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 3 - 0, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets)
Theo Riddick had a quiet game on a day where Detroit got up early and had clear advantages on the outside. Riddick’s catches were check downs, including attempts short of the chains on long third downs. Riddick continues to be the pure passing game option in the backfield and largely dependent on negative game script and two-minute drills for fantasy opportunity.

WR Golden Tate, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 42 - 0 (7 targets)
Golden Tate had a relatively quiet day early in the game when Matthew Stafford targeted Green Bay’s secondary on the deep perimeter. Tate was involved more in the second half as Detroit was trying to grind down the clock, converting multiple third downs. Tate ran hard after the catch and consistently broke tackles that had bad form. Tate had an opportunity on an out and up for a big play but was just overthrown in tight coverage by Matthew Stafford. Unlike prior weeks, Tate was unable to break a long gain or find the end zone, so his fantasy score was low, but he is still an integral part of the offense.

WR Kenny Golladay, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 98 - 1 (9 targets)
Kenny Golladay had a good day against the Green Bay Packers that could have been better. Golladay scored on a well-run post route in the red zone. Golladay had the opportunity for a second touchdown on a long reception where he high pointed the ball then broke free for a long run after catch to be tackled inside the five-yard line. Golladay was also targeted down the left sideline for diving touchdown that was called back by penalty. He also had two red zone targets that were well covered. Golladay’s usage was more perimeter-based than it had been in recent weeks, a clear attempt to exploit a deficiency in the Green Bay defense. Golladay is locked into an important role in the Detroit offense.

WR Marvin Jones, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 1 (4 targets)
Marvin Jones had a quiet day outside of a red zone touchdown against Green Bay, but it could have been better. Jones was used frequently to try to exploit Green Bay’s weaknesses on the deep perimeter, but it never truly came together. Jones had a long catch called back by a penalty and had a deep end zone target that went through his hands. Jones was also called for two offensive pass interferences penalties for push offs on comeback routes. While the numbers may seem low for the game, Jones has high leverage usage in the offense and remains an underrated weapon despite Kenny Golladay’s emergence.