The Green Bay Packers issues started early and continued often in their 30-17 loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football at Lambeau Field.
The Packers won the toss and unlike several previous opportunities, Mike McCarthy didn’t defer to the second half. Maybe he knew what was ahead of him with the Packers 23rd ranked defense.
The Packers started with the football at their own 22 yard line and began to march down the field with Brett Hundley making his second NFL start. Fifteen plays later, the Packers field goal team was on the field for a chance to jump out in front. But Derek Hart’s snap was low, which led to Mason Crosby’s 38-yard field goal attempt being blocked.
Now the defense takes the field and they get three quick stops. But after Matthew Stafford’s 3rd down pass fell incomplete, in came a penalty flag. Mike Daniels is called for Unnecessary Roughness. 15-yards and a first down. Six plays later, the Lions made the Packers pay with Stafford hitting Marvin Jones for a 25 yard touchdown pass.
Just two days earlier, it was Daniels trying to get his teammates to hit back. Daniels was upset about division foes taking liberties against Packers players like Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. But what he likely did is alarm the game crew working this game to be on the lookout for Daniels and his teammates. It took just three plays for the first penalty flag.
Daniels is one of the Packers best defenders, but he wears his emotions on his shirt sleeves. Those emotions cost the Packers early.
The Packers followed with a three and out before Matt Prater missed a 55-yard field goal that hit the cross bar and fell short. Another Packers three-and-out followed but this time the Lions answered with a Ameer Abdullah four-yard touchdown run.
The Packers got a fire-drill 35 yard field goal from Mason Crosby just before the end of the half to make it 14-3 Lions at the half.
The problem is the Lions finished 8 of 13 on third downs and the Packers had no answer for Matthew Stafford. The Lions quarterback passed for 361 yards on 26 of 33 passing with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Green Bay did nothing to upset the timing of Stafford and he made them pay. They finished with one sack, a combined effort by Nick Perry and Dean Lowry.
And on offense, the Packers converted just two of nine on third down. They lost the time of possession battle by a wide margin (36:55 to 23:05).
Mike McCarthy said after the game that he still feels good about his quarterback. Brett Hundley’s numbers were better this week (26-38=245 0 TD & 0 INT), but they weren’t good enough to win without some help from his teammates.
At 4-4, the Packers are tied with the Lions for second place in the NFC North, two full games behind the Minnesota Vikings (6-2) who were on their bye.
Even though the Packers have eight games left, only three of the eight are at Lambeau Field. If they don’t turn things around in a hurry, Aaron Rodgers health in December will be irrelevant.