Monday night's 30-17 win for the Detroit Lions over the Green Bay Packers is a perfect example of what can happen when quarterback Matthew Stafford is given ample time to deliver the football to his weapons.
The pass protection was terrific for Stafford all evening, his receivers won most of their matchups on the outside, and he was able to deliver the football on time.
And deliver it he did.
Stafford finished 26-of-33 passing for 361 yards with two touchdowns to Marvin Jones Jr. and a passer rating of 136.4.
He was sacked just once, and that came on a trick play flea-flicker that the Packers' defense didn't fall for. Stafford was hit just three times total in the game.
"There were a lot of good plays and the offensive line blocked for him," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said after the win. "And when he does have time he can deliver it, and from all angles and make a number of different big throws, so he was on tonight and played well."
Stafford entered the game as one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league (25), but in the last two games, Detroit's been much better in the pass protection element of their offense.
"When you give a quarterback like Matt time to go through his progressions and you know how his arm is, he can make every throw on the field," said Jones, who caught seven passes for 107 yards to go along with those two touchdowns. "So, you give that guy some time and it's very dangerous, and you saw it out there today."
Sam Martin got to kick off seven times in the game, and hold for four field goal tries and three extra point attempts. But for the first time as a professional, Detroit's punter didn't attempt a punt in a game he was active for.
The Lions' possession chart Monday night read like this: Touchdown, missed field goal, touchdown, field goal, fumble, field goal, touchdown, field goal.
No punts. Not one.
It's actually the first time the Lions have played a game in which they didn't punt since November of 1971 against Kansas City.
Stafford threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jones on Detroit's first series of the game. It was Stafford's 200th career touchdown pass, which made him only the fourth player to reach the mark before the age of 30.
Stafford joins a pretty elite group of quarterbacks in that club – Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.
Jones said after the game that he hung on to the ball for Stafford to put in his collection.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
After the game, both Jones and Caldwell talked about the good stretch of practices the team has had the last couple weeks. It's certainly showed in their play on gamedays.
Sure, the Lions lost last week to Pittsburgh (20-15), but they gained nearly 500 yards of offense and held the Steelers to 20 points. They simply didn't make enough plays in the red zone to win, but they could easily have won that game.
Then, Monday night vs. Green Bay, they came out and thoroughly dominated the game from the opening kickoff to final whistle.
"Early in the season, I thought we had some pretty good practices, but nothing quite like the last two that we've had the last two weeks, and I think that's the thing that we got to build upon," Caldwell said.
"We weren't perfect in our practices, but we were better in the preparation, certainly does make a difference. And there's no doubt about it, I think everybody could sense that everybody could see it and you saw a little bit of that tonight."
TIME OF POSSESSION
The Lions completely controlled the time of possession Monday night. They had the ball for almost 37 minutes (36:55), compared to only 23:05 for the Packers.