LIONS INSIDER

TWENTYMAN: The good and the bad from the Lions' 40-10 win over the Packers

Posted Nov 29, 2013

Though Detroit ultimately dominated Green Bay, there is plenty the team will have to fix in the final month of the season

Ndamukong SuhDT Ndamukong Suh recorded a second-half sack. (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

Thursday's 40-10 beat down of the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving was as thorough a victory as the Lions have had in years.

The Lions outgained the Packers 561 to 126 in total offense. Detroit had 241 yards rushing to Green Bay's 24. Heck, Ndamukong Suh's third quarter safety on Packers quarterback Matt Flynn was worth one fewer point than the entire Packers offense scored in 60 minutes.

As is the case in most victories, the good outweighs the bad, and the scale is particularly skewed that way after this one.

There are still some things the Lions need to clean up, though.

"You're not going to play a perfect game," head coach Jim Schwartz said after the game. "You're not going to have a game with no turnovers and do everything right in a game. There is always going to be something that happens in a game that you have to do better and that you have to overcome or so to speak.

"I thought our guys did a good job. There could have been a lot more points on the board, but we got enough to win. That's the only thing we're really worried about."

Here's a look at the good and the bad from Thursday.

THE GOOD

RESILIENCY

The final score doesn't accurately depict the way the game began for the Lions. Two quick fumbles and an interception had Ford Field in boos, not cheers, early into the second quarter.

But the Lions showed the kind of resiliency they hadn't in previous losses to Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay when things started to snowball the wrong way on them.

Following a Stafford fumble that was returned for a touchdown by the Packers, Detroit rolled off 37 unanswered points.

"There is always something that happens in a game that you need to be able to do a little bit better," Schwartz said. "In this game, there were a couple of those things.

"That doesn't take away from the fact that I think our guys responded well and they played well. On the sideline, it's easy when you lose a couple of games in a row, particularly in the fashion that we lost them, for people to say, 'Here we go again.' I'm sure there were some people that were saying that, but they weren't on our sideline."

ROOKIE CONTRIBUTIONS

The team's first four picks in April's NFL Draft had huge contributions in the win.

  • First-round pick Ziggy Ansah had three tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits in 28 snaps from his right defensive end position. That gives the No. 5 overall pick four sacks over the last two weeks and seven for the season.
  • Second-round pick Darius Slay made his third career start for the injured Chris Houston and played his best game of the season. The rookie cornerback led the team with three pass breakups and was a sure tackler in the open field. It was the kind of game Lions coaches knew was in him, but hadn't come out yet.
  • It's no surprise third-round pick Larry Warford had another fine game from his right guard spot. He's been doing it all season. But it's worth mentioning that Warford was part of an offensive line that help the Lions record 241 rushing yards, the most they've had since 1997.
  • Fourth-round pick Devin Taylor had his finest game as a professional. Playing in only 15 snaps, the defensive end had three tackles, two sacks, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits and forced a fumble recovered by the Lions. Talk about efficiency.

The Lions also got solid contributions from rookie running back Theo Riddick and undrafted rookie tackle LaAdrian Waddle (starting right tackle).

This class of first-year players has been one of the best in recent memory.

RUSHING ATTACK/OFFENSIVE LINE

The Lions gave up five sacks and had just 64 rushing yards in a 22-9 loss in Green Bay Week 5.

What a difference a eight weeks and some home cooking can make.

Stafford was sacked just once Thursday.

With 241 rushing yards and 320 passing yards, Detroit gained 200-plus rushing yards and 300-plus passing yards in a single game for only the second time in team history (vs. New York Yanks Nov. 23, 1950).

The Lions nearly had two 100-yard rushers, with Reggie Bush leading the way with 117 yards on the ground and Joique Bell chipping in 94.

The offensive line dominated play and dictated the pace on offense.

THE BAD

TURNOVERS

The Lions turned the ball over four more times against the Packers. That gives them 17 turnovers in their last 18 quarters of football.

It goes without saying -- but I'll still say it -- that's too many.

The defense was able to get three of those back, which they'd only done once in the previous four games, and that helped limit the damage, some.

The turnovers can't continue to be an issue for this team if they want to accomplish some of their goals down the stretch.

BUSH'S FUMBLE WOES

Give Bush some credit, he fumbled on the first series of the game, inside the Packers 10-yard line in fact, but bounced back to earn player of the game with 182 total yards (117 rushing) and a touchdown.

The fumbles, however, have been an issue for Bush recently. He's lost a fumble in three of the team's last five games.

"I was really down on myself and really just disappointed that I fumbled the ball again," Bush said after the game. "It's something that I have to clean up. We have to be able to clean up our turnovers, because in the playoffs or in a bigger game, that will get you beat.

"At the end of the day we won the game. We finished the game strong and that's the biggest thing that we can take away from this, is that we finished the game. We played well as a team and when we get out of our own way, we can be pretty special."

MARTIN'S KICKOFFS/AKERS' FIELD GOAL KICKING

Rookie punter Sam Martin ranks in the top five in the NFL in both punting average (48.1) and net punting (41.5), and did a nice job on his one punt Thursday to pin the Packers down at their own 5-yard line.

His kickoffs were a whole different story, however.

Martin forced three touchbacks on kickoffs, giving him 36 on the season in 66 attempts, but he inexplicably kicked two out of bounds, giving the Packers the football at their own 40-yard line twice. The first time it lead to their only offensive points of the game, a 54-yard field goal by Mason Crosby.

Schwartz gave him an earful as he came off the field after kicking a second one out of bounds later in the game.

Akers missed a chip-shot 30-yard field goal after the Lions had done a nice job of moving the football down the field and managing clock right before the end of the first half.

It was Akers' second failed attempt from 30-39 yards this year. In all, Akers has missed five field goals, though two were blocked and not his fault.

"I told him after halftime that if we need a game winner, we're going to put him right back out," Schwartz said. "We're not going to be going for it on fourth down.

"I think he just tried to baby that one a little bit. You watch his next extra point and he stepped up and he drilled it. He bounced back."