After weeks of offensive struggles, the Green Bay Packers came to life on Sunday, beating division foe Detroit 34-27 in the home opener at Lambeau Field.
The Lions were missing top defensive players Ziggy Ansah and DeAndre Levy and the Packers showed no mercy, putting 31-points on the board in the first half and taking a 31-3 lead into the locker room at halftime.
It was the offense that Packers fans are used to seeing. Aaron Rodgers tossed four touchdown passes in the first half for the second time in his career, two of the four to Jordy Nelson. Rodgers ended up completing 15 of 24 passes for the game, finishing with a 129.3 passer rating. He ended a string of 14 consecutive games without a passer rating of 100 or more.
Nelson led Packers receivers with six receptions for 101 yards, his first 100 yard receiving day since 2014.
How big was the offensive surge by the Packers? So big that Nelson, who normally celebrates a touchdown by handing the ball to the official or simply dropping it in the endzone, tossed the ball high into the air and pumped his fists to the sky.
Nelson said after the game that they all felt on offense that they needed to loosen up and have some fun.
One of the key’s for the Packers early passing game was Aaron Rodgers getting the ball out quickly. He said that didn’t happen in the first two games.
While Rodgers seemed to find his game, so did Nelson, who averaged 16.8 yards per catch. Nelson came into the game with 11 catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns. His longest play went for 39 yards.
On Sunday, one of the six catches for Nelson went for 49 yards.
Running back Eddie Lacy, after getting just 12 carries against Minnesota last week, ran the ball 17 times against the Lions, gaining 103 yards. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry.
The concern for the Packers on this day was scoring 31 points in the first half and only three in the second. Not to mention, a defense that allowed just three points in the first half, gave up 21 in the second. Matthews Stafford threw for 385 yards and three touchdowns as the Packers struggled to put consistent pressure on Stafford.
The Lions converted eight of 14 times on third down and had a 10 minute time of possession advantage. But the Packers still found a way to hang on for the victory.
The Packers did lose a couple of players on offense. Tight end Jared Cook left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and didn’t return. After the game, he left the locker room on crutches, with a walking boot.
Fullback Aaron Ripkowski also saw his day end early after suffering a back injury.
Defensively, the player of the game was linebacker Nick Perry. The former USC standout registered seven tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss and a pass broken up.
The Packers played without Clay Matthews and Datone Jones, so it was Perry, Mike Daniels and Julius Peppers that led the charge defensively, holding the Lions to just 50 yards rushing for the game.
The Packers now head into what’s turned out to be a much-needed bye week. They played Sunday without five key defensive players and could use some extra time to get healthy.
Green Bay’s next game is a week from this coming Sunday against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field.