Burning Questions: Sweating it out all the way, from a 24-0 lead through a comeback try by Aaron Rodgers, with the plays and misplays that made it close in the Detroit Lions' 31-23 victory over the Green Bay Packers in a weird game at Ford Field Sunday.
Question: What did it mean for the Lions to win and get their record to 2-3 going into their bye week?
Answer: It means that they're not digging out of a deeper hole with a 1-4 record like they would have been with a loss, and they can still get in contention in the NFC North when they come back off their bye.
No matter what anybody said or thought, it was a game the Lions absolutely had to win to have a realistic chance to make playoff run – either in the division race, or as a wild card.
It wasn't a thing of beauty for either team, but it looks a lot better in the win column for the Lions that it does in the loss column for the Packers.
Q. The difference: What was it? The Lions got some breaks. Does that mean they were lucky to win?
A. Turnovers were the major difference. The Packers made them, and the Lions cashed in.
As for luck, the Lions have had enough bad luck against the Packers to form their own chapter of the Broken Hearts Club – with a waiting list for future members.
The Lions got in front early and stayed there. Give them credit for that. What the Packers didn't give them, they took on their own.
The bottom line: The game was there for both teams to win, and the Lions won it.
Q. Comfort zone, 17-0? Could the Lions relax a little after Matt Prater's field goal with 1:12 elapsed in the second quarter gave them a 17-point lead?
A. Relax? You kidding? Absolutely not.
Q. Packers comeback: Even before they started to make a rally with two touchdowns in the third quarter?
Q. Why not?
A. Two words – Aaron Rodgers.
What the Packers' star has done to the Lions in recent years – like the Hail Mary game-winner in 2015 – and to the Bears in this year's opener with three TD passes in the fourth quarter to win the game should make everyone realize that no lead is safe.
Q. How about 24-0? Wasn't the TD catch by Marvin Jones Jr. in the final minute of the first half that made it a 24-point lead enough to make the Lions relax?
A. No again. Nothing is safe, and nothing counts, until the game is over. It was a great start, and a great cushion for the Lions to take into the second half, but that's all it was. A start and a cushion.
Regardless of what happened in the first half, their season was hanging in the balance until the game was over.
Q. Packers six-pack errors: How much did it help the Lions that in the first half the Packers lost three fumbles, and Mason Crosby missed all three of his field-goal attempts?
A. It helped a lot. The missed field goals cost the Packers nine points, and two of the fumbles were converted directly into touchdowns. That adds up to 23 points in one half – nine the Packers didn't get with the missed kicks, and 14 the Lions scored on the two turnovers.
And add two more: Crosby missed an extra-point kick in the fourth quarter and a 56-yard field goal attempt late in the game that would have cut the Lions' lead to eight points.
Q. Packers comeback: Any surprise that they scored two TDs in the third quarter to make a game of it? It was 24-14 going into the fourth quarter.
A. No surprise, again. Never underestimate what Rodgers can do.
Q. Key plays, Packers' drives: What were they in the two Packers' drives?
A. They were fourth-down conversions, one on each drive. The first came when the Packers had a third and 23 at midfield. Getting 12 yards on third down put them in position to go for it on fourth and 11. They converted that and continued to their first TD.
On the second, they had fourth and four at the 30. Rodgers dropped back, and when he saw nobody covering the middle he took off for a six-yard gain and a first down.
I know he has a bad left knee that has hampered his mobility, but I wouldn't leave the middle open in that situation, even if he had his ankles taped together.
In the end, there were too many misplays by Rodgers and the Packers, and too many answers by the Lions for Rodgers to make one of his great escapes.