GREEN BAY – The Detroit Lions sent a clear message to the rest of the NFC North Thursday night that they are the team to beat in the division at the quarter point of the season.
The Lions went into Green Bay in front of a national audience on Thursday Night Football and completely dominated the Packers, 34-20, to improve to 3-1 on the season and put themselves in sole position of first place in the division.
Green Bay led the game 3-0 early, scoring after a Jared Goff interception on the Lions' opening possession of the game. It was a nice job by the Lions' defense to force the field goal after Green Bay started the drive following the pick at the Lions' 16-yard line.
It was a sign of things to come for Detroit's defense.
Detroit scored three touchdowns and a field goal on their next four possessions to take a 24-3 lead, as Detroit's defense forced three three and outs and set the offense up on another drive at the Green Bay 7-yard line on a Jerry Jacobs interception.
Green Bay didn't record their first first down until late in the second quarter, and it was on an encroachment penalty by the Lions.
Detroit led 27-3 at the half and out-gained the Packers 284 yards to 23 in the first half. Running back David Montgomery had two touchdown runs in the half (3 & 2) and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown had a 24-yard touchdown grab from Goff.
Green Bay mounted a bit of a comeback in the second half, getting as close as 10 points in the fourth quarter, but in the end, Detroit built too much of a lead to overcome.
A crucial 14-play, 75-yard drive that took eight minutes and 52 seconds off the clock leading to Montgomery's third touchdown of the game sealed the win. The Lions were aided by a big unsportsmanlike penalty on Packers linebacker Quay Walker on a 30-yard field goal attempt by Detroit which gave them four more tries at the end zone. Detroit made them pay on 4th and 1 on the Montgomery 1-yard touchdown.
Defensively, Jacobs finished with two interceptions, his second coming in the final five minutes of the game to seal it for Detroit. Defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson recorded 1.5 sacks as the Lions had five total in the game. Also recording sacks for Detroit were Alim McNeill, Charles Harris, Isaiah Buggs and John Cominsky.
QB Comparison: Goff continues to play good football to begin the year as he completed 19 of his 28 pass attempts for 210 yards with a touchdown, interception and passer rating of 86.9. He also rushed twice for 10 yards including an 11-yard gain down to the Packers' 4-yard line that helped set up Montgomery's first touchdown.
Love, who was making just his second career start in front of the home crowd, was 23-for-36 passing for 246 yards with a touchdown, two interceptions and a passer rating of 69.9.
Big play: Detroit was leading 17-3 early in the second quarter when WILL linebacker Alex Anzalone got his hand on a Love pass and tipped it up in the air right into the arms of Jacobs at the Packers' 27-yard line. Jacobs returned it 20 yards to the Packers' 7-yard line.
It only took two plays from there for Montgomery to record his second touchdown of the game from two yards out. It was Montgomery's fourth rushing touchdown of the season and marked his sixth career multi-touchdown game. It gave Detroit a commanding 24-3 lead at the time.
View photos from the Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers Week 4 game at Lambeau Field on Thursday, Sept. 28 in Green Bay, WI.
Key stats: Detroit dominated the time of possession in the game, wining 37:58 to 22:02.
Green Bay was just 3-for-11 on third down in the contest.
Injury report: Lions nickel cornerback Brian Branch injured his right ankle early in the third quarter. He walked off very slowly and was taken to the locker room by cart. He returned in the second half but left again late in the fourth quarter.
Up next: vs. Carolina, Oct. 8, 1 p.m.