Senior writer jclombardi grades Packers loss to Lions.
GAME BALLS: CB Williams. S Peprah. LB Hawk. P Masthay.
INJURY REPORT: OLB Zombo (knee). LG Colledge (knee). QB Rodgers (concussion).
Report Card Grades–Good, Bad, & Ugly (JC vs. SE):
PASSING OFFENSE: D- vs D. In the first half, Rodgers struggled having one of his worst games going 7 of 11 for 46 yards, 1 interception, and 34.7 passer rating. In the first half, the two costly turnovers shutdown the west coast offense. Then, Rodgers started to scramble against the intense Lions rush leading to his concussion. Then, in the second half, backup QB Flynn entered the game. He completed only 15-of-26 passes for 177 yards and one big interception in the red zone. QB Flynn failed to make the big plays and made the bad plays. The Lions racked up four sacks and consistently collapsed the sieve-like pocket.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D- VS D-. The Packers struggled rushing against a dominant defensive front line. The uninspired Packers offensive line was simply dominated by the Lions defensive line. On most plays, the Lions defensive line was in the backfield before the play got executed. The pad level the Packers’ line plays with isn’t conducive to running the ball. When you play against guys who are bigger and stronger like the Packers did Sunday, you’ve got to play with better leverage. Wells, Sitton and Bulaga usually play with decent pad level, but even Sitton struggled in this game and the same with Wells. LT Clifton never gets pad level and Daryn Colledge isn’t much better. When Colledge got hurt, the Packers put in Jason Spitz. He got tossed around like a rag doll. Then T.J. Lang came in and he didn’t give them a boost. For example, with their zone scheme, the Packers are combo blocking at the point of attack almost every play. But if the blockers can’t release because of the penetration of the other team’s tackles, they’re not going to be able to pick off linebackers, who make the plays. Thus, the Packers got a poor 66 total yards. The running backs trio of Jackson, Starks, and Nance had 15 carries for a miserable 31 yards.
PASSING DEFENSE: B vs B. After holding the Lions for three quarters, the defense folded in the fourth quarter giving up the big winning touchdown. 3rd string QB Stanton converted two third downs and went 5-for-6 for 49 yards on the winning 80 yards touchdown drive. At one time in the second half, QB Stanton had a QB rating of zero. He finished 10-of-22 for 117 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, and 39.4 rating. Safety Peprah and CB Williams each had an interception.
RUSHING DEFENSE: D- vs D. The front line looked awful against seven different rushers. They gave up 190 yards. The running backs of Morris and Best had 24 carries, for 89 yards, QB Stanton had 4 carries for 44 yards, and WR Logan had 4 carries for 30 yards. This was the first game since last year where B.J. Raji appeared to be taking plays off. And as good as Matthews is, he isn’t getting it done when they need someone to get a sack or make a big play when the game is on the line. Where was he on the Lions’ scoring drive?
SPECIAL TEAMS: B vs B-. Packers held dangerous Lions returner Logan to a 27.5 average on kickoffs and 9.3 average on punts. Punter Masthay had a great game with 8 punts averaging 50.5 yards gross, 43.4 yards net, and 3 punts inside the 20. In this game, the Packers return game had a better performance.
COACHING: F vs F. In an old story involving another letdown against an inferior team in a big game, the Packers were outcoached, outplayed, and outmuscled in an abominable performance mirroring a B-grade horror movie. The Packer had a season-low 258 total yards against the league’s 21st-ranked defense. The Packers were successful on just two of 12 third-down conversions. The Packers had three big offensive turnovers giving another close game away.
OVERALL: F vs. D (CBS Sportsline). Rodgers left because of a concussion and was replaced by ineffective Matt Flynn, who made several costly mental errors. Even if Rodgers had stuck around, it’s questionable whether the offense would have scored a touchdown. Rodgers was the team’s leading rusher with 25 yards. On defense, the only problem was an 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter.