After a thrilling comeback victory in Week 3, the Packers were set to host their division rival Detroit Lions on Thursday Night Football to lead off Week 4. Heading into the matchup, Green Bay was still dealing with a slew of injuries. LB De’Vondre Campbell, CB Jaire Alexander, LT David Bakhtiari, and LG Elgton Jenkins were among the notable inactive players. On a positive note, the Packers were able to get WR Christian Watson and RB Aaron Jones back into the fold in hopes to add a boost to the offense. Both players had been dealing with hamstring issues. Unfortunately, hopes they would add juice to Green Bay’s offense ended up being just that. The young Packers offense put together one of the worst first half performances in recent memory. The team’s inability to be efficient led to Detroit lighting up the scoreboard against a gassed Packers defensive unit. Ultimately, any effort to make another comeback in the 2nd half fell short as the Lions manhandle the Pack. This loss to Detroit marks the 5th straight for Green Bay.
After the offense came alive in the 4th quarter last week against New Orleans, the Packers were optimistic to keep the momentum going on a short week. After an interception by Rudy Ford, Green Bay started deep inside Lion territory. They ended up having to settle for a field goal four plays later. On the next drive, the Lions quickly drove down field and scored on a play due to blown coverage by Rasul Douglas. The Packers got the ball back, and quickly went 3-and-out. Green Bay up to this point didn’t register a single rushing attempt, despite having their star running back available. The defense, who was already tired, continued to get gashed and gave up another score, giving Detroit a 14-3 advantage. By the end of the first quarter, Aaron Jones and Christian Watson combined for zero touches. The 2nd quarter somehow got even uglier for Green Bay. The defense started on a decent note by holding Detroit to a 33-yard field goal. On Green Bay’s next possession, Jordan Love attempted a throw to Watson on 1st and 10 that was tipped and intercepted. The Lions got possession at the Packers 7-yard line, and with two runs by David Montgomery their lead extended to 24-3.
At halftime, the Lions went into the locker room with a 27-3 lead. The score was very ugly, but the numbers behind the score were uglier with Detroit leading each category.
- Yards: 284-21
- First downs: 15-3
- Rushing yards: 121-7
- Passing yards: 163-14
Other Game Notes:
There is no doubt that Joe Barry’s defense struggled on Thursday. I completely understand the scrutiny that he has been receiving by the fans and local media, because it is deserved. However, it is incredibly difficult to play sound defense when the offense can’t hold on to the ball longer than 90 seconds. Yes, Green Bay was soft against the run. Yes, they gave Jared Goff way too much time to find his guys downfield. Fans have been calling for Barry to be fired dating back to last season, and those calls have been getting louder and louder as the unit struggles in 2023. Now that leads me to ask: how on god’s green earth can Matt LaFleur fire the guy when his offense was playing exceedingly worse? I mean, Christian Watson ended the game with 2 catches. Aaron Jones finished with a whopping 5 touches. The offensive line played terribly in the first half. Jordan Love had no time at all and was under immense pressure on every snap. On the off chance that he did have time, the play wasn’t there, or his guys just weren’t open. To their credit though, Detroit’s defense was superb all night. Green Bay eventually was able to get it going in the 2nd half, cutting the lead to 27-11 with 8:17 remaining in the 3rd. While it is possible, asking your still-developing starting quarterback with the youngest roster in the NFL to pull together a comeback from down 27-3 is just way too much. Matt LaFleur needs to do a better job of putting the ball in his best players hands sooner rather than later.