Coordinator Cut-Up: Personnel shortage hurts Lions in second half

Posted Dec 11, 2012

After a strong first half, the Packers adjusted to what the Lions were doing and the offense wasn't able to counter where it needed to

The Lions offense looked the best it has all season during the first two possessions of the game Sunday in Green Bay.

Matthew Stafford and Co. took the ball 80 and then 79 yards down the field in a combined 23 plays their first two possessions of the game and capped both series off with touchdowns.

The offense recorded five first downs in each drive and converted two third downs and a fourth down.

"It was the best first two drives on the year," Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told "We had a lot of third downs to convert, but we stayed on the field. We overcame a penalty ... we had a big play called back (but) we didn't let any of those things derail us."

The Lions finished with 117 rushing yards in the first half and out-gained the Packers 218 yards to 94 over the first 30 minutes.

However, the Packers adjusted to what the Lions were doing in the second half and the offense wasn't able to counter where it needed to.

"They were basically blitzing every down and doubling Calvin (Johnson)," Linehan said of the defensive strategy in the second half for the Packers. "They knew we were short (handed).

"(Brandon) Pettigrew was out so they probably felt good about bringing in an extra guy and having an extra guy covering Calvin and then seeing how we would hold up at some of the other positions."

The opportunities for the Lions in the second half were going to come on the outside of the Packers defense. They simply didn't make the plays necessary to win out there.

"We weren't efficient enough making plays on the outside part of the field to make them pay for that strategy," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Monday in his press conference. "Both teams had a hard time on the outside part of the field."

The Lions missed the experience and playmaking ability of Nate Burleson and Titus Young (strictly from a playmaking standpoint) as well as Ryan Broyles on Sunday.

Receiver Kris Durham did a nice job filling in in his first start since being promoted from the practice squad last week. He had four catches for 54 yards, but just one for 13 in the second half.

Johnson and Durham were the only wide receivers in the game with receptions. Tight ends Tony Scheffler and Will Heller combined for seven catches and 41 yards. Running backs Joique Bell and Stefan Logan total six for 51 yards together.

"We had 400 yards in a blizzard," Linehan said. "We did pretty good.

"We have to drive long fields for the most part. Our guys did a good job, but during the drive you can't let something derail you. Which is what happened to us. We had the ball slip out of Matt's hands. We're driving again back to back, (then we had) the interception.

"Those plays, you can't fault the guys for trying to make the plays, but you've pretty much got to play a perfect game in the NFL. (Green Bay) is the leader in our division. The reason is they're capitalizing on other team's mistakes. You can't make any mistakes against Green Bay."

You have to take advantage of opportunities, which the Lions weren't able to do in the second half.