GREEN BAY – Burning questions – taking a chance early, questionable strategy late, penalties that cost the Lions’ points, how a fumble gave the Packers a touchdown and other plays in the Lions’ 27-20 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field Sunday night:
Q, Bottom line: The Lions played a lot of good football and made some good plays, but why did they come up short and have their road losing streak to the Packers stretch to 22 straight games?
A. The Packers know how to win, and it showed. They didn’t do everything perfectly, but they didn’t give away plays and points the way the Lions did.
Nothing showed the difference between the teams than the Packers’ drive to the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
After an exchange for missed field goals by both teams, the Packers had the ball at their 41. They have the best quarterback in the league in Aaron Rodgers – and they ran seven straight times for all 59 yards and the touchdown.
Alex Green, DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant carried the ball. Grant was signed only this week. Harris scored the touchdown, running through a huge hole up the middle for 14 yards. He could have run all the way to Milwaukee.
On that series, the Packers beat the Lions with physical plays.
They added up to extra points for the Packers – and another loss to the Packers on the road that kept the streak alive that started in 1992.
Q. Rush three judgment: On a key third down after the Packers had taken a 24-17 lead, the Lions used a three-man rush with Suh in the middle, and standing up. Aaron Rodgers found Randall Cobb open for a completion and a first down, and the drive ended in a field goal that extended the lead to 10 points.
Didn’t the three-man rush seem strange?
A. It certainly didn’t bother Aaron Rodgers. The strength of the defense is the front four, and taking one player out of it was not playing to the strength.
The result speaks for itself. It didn’t work, or even come close.
Q. Being bold early: The Lions had fourth and inches near the Packers’ four-yard line and went for it. What was your first guess, and was it the right call?
A. My first guess was to go for it, and it was the right call – and not because I said so. Stafford got the TD on a rollout around left end. He wasn’t touched.
Q. What was his celebration dance?
A. It looked like a knockoff of the LT move by LaDainian Tomlinson who flipped the ball after scoring touchdowns. Tomlinson scored 162 career TDs. It was the seventh of Stafford’s career and his fourth this year.
He needs practice.
Q. Ball control: The scoring drive covered 80 yards on 12 plays, plus two penalties. What was the most impressive play?
A. It was a reverse by
Q. Penalty time: The Lions got a 15-yard penalty after Tony Scheffler’s touchdown catch boosted their lead to 14-0. What was that for?
A. A rule that’s been on the books for several years prohibits group celebrations, and
The penalty is called frequently enough for every player to know it.
Every time the Lions get a penalty for something like that it brings up the question of team discipline, and it will continue until they stop it.
Q. Penalty impact: Did the penalty hurt the Lions?
I doubt that he would have made it from 64 yards. So the answer is yes, the penalty cost the Lions 15 yards and three points.
Q. Fumble, keeper: In the second quarter, Stafford scrambled and slid, and lost the ball when he was hit. The Lions kept possession, and it was a six-yard gain for Stafford. Right call?
A. Yes. Right call. Referee Tony Corrente explained the rule, saying the quarterback is “dead” when he slides feet first. Poor choice of words in his announcement to the crowd, but right call by Corrente’s crew.
Q. Game-changing fumble: The Lions were driving with a 14-3 lead and first down at the Packers’ 42 when Stafford fumbled. Packers lineman Mike Daniels picked the ball up at the 42 and ran it in for a TD. What happened?
A. Nothing happened that can be explained. Stafford was set up to throw, and as he began his throw motion the ball slipped out of his hands and tumbled backward. He tried to fall on the ball, but it bounced away. Daniels had a clear run to the end zone.
Q. Double trouble: On Green Bay’s first possession, the Lions had two defensive penalties on the same play that helped set up the go-ahead TD.
A. No, it wasn’t a reputation call. It was a clear violation – not really dirty, but against the rules. After Rodgers had released the ball. Suh took two more steps in his pursuit and pushed Rodgers down. It was an easy call by the referee, and the right call – just as Corrente announced it to the crowd.
It was a third-and-six play, and Rodgers’ deep pass was incomplete. Instead of fourth down at their 41 and punting, the Packers had first down at the Lions’ 44 because of the penalties. From there, they drove to the go-ahead TD – on a 27-yard scramble by Rodgers.
Q. Packers FG strategy: With less than four minutes left in the third quarter, the Packers tried a 51-yard field goal. The score was tied, 17-17, and the kick failed, giving the Lions possession at their 42. Right call by the Packers?
A. Not what I would have done. It gave the Lions a short field to drive for a field goal to take the lead.
Q. Lions FG strategy: On the possession after Crosby’s miss, the Lions got to the same spot and had Jason Hanson try a 51-yard field goal. He was short. Right call by the Lions.
A. No. Even worse. The kick was short. That put the Packers on a short field, with the score still 17-17.
A better decision for both teams would have been a pooch punt or going for the first down.
It was a pivotal point in the game, and it set up the Packers to take the lead – and they did, running the ball down the defense’s throat on seven straight plays that gained all 59 yards.