COORDINATOR CUT-UP: Cunningham disappointed in second-half lapses on defense

Posted Oct 8, 2013

Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham says the Lions were too aggressive in the second half vs. Green Bay Sunday

Sunday was a tale of two halves for the Lions defense in Green Bay.

Over the first 30 minutes, they held the potent Packers offense, led by MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, to just six points. It was their fewest first-half points vs. the Lions since 2005, when they had just three.

The second half, though, was a different story.

All four of Green Bay’s biggest plays in the game came in the second 30 minutes.

  • 83-yard touchdown pass to James Jones
  • 67-yard run by Randall Cobb
  • 39-yard pass to Jones
  • 31-yard pass to Jordy Nelson.

"I think we over played in the second half," defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham told me Tuesday.

"We tried to get the ball and whenever you do that you start to miss tackles. I think we had two missed tackles in the first half and we ended up with nine, that’s seven in the second half and that’s not going to win you a football game."

Big plays are going to happen, especially against an explosive offense like the Packers, but Cunningham said being beat is one thing and being overaggressive and being beat is another.

"What can’t happen is when you over play things; you’re trying to go get the ball whether it’s an interception or a fumble," he said. "Usually when you go after a fumble you miss a tackle; if you go after an interception it’s a big play, because usually no one is left behind you. I think it is a combination of things that happened."

Players are back in the building today taking one final look at the Packers game and then turning their focus to Sunday’s game in Cleveland.

One thing they won’t see in Cunningham's portion of the film study Tuesday is the six "explosive" plays for the Packers offense in the game of 20-plus yards.

"I take out all six of those plays that were 20 yards or more and show them the rest … and I’m going to convince them that’s us," Cunningham said. "Our coaches will do the same thing, and believe it or not, I have coached like that all my life. You do not harp on mistakes; you correct mistakes, you harp on good things you did."

Cunningham also spoke on the overall defensive effort Sunday.

On Aaron Rodgers only throwing one TD:

"If history says anything, we have always played him well, in the games that he has finished. We knocked him out of one and there have been some pretty good battles between our defense and his offense over the four or five years. I probably would have said 21 points would win the game, if we gave up 21. I think the guys battled; what hurt us was the three straight drives for nine points. That was our plan make them earn every yard of it and we did."