I overestimated the Detroit Lions. I though they were a good football team that would play the Packers even on Thanksgiving day.
And I was wrong…
I can’t say I saw the entire game. A house full of over 20 Thanksgiving guests and my turkey-carving duties saw to that. But I really didn’t need to. What I did see:
I saw the Packers as steely, methodical and under control (except for Pat Lee – although I haven’t seen that play yet). The Packers made few mistakes, committing zero turnovers and eight penalties, only two more than their season average of six per game in what was definitely a chippy contest.
I saw the Lions as young, dumb, and mentally numb. One could say the Lions choked a bit in a big spot. Stafford threw 3 interceptions (should have been a pick-six fourth, Tramon…). The Lions came into the game averaging 8.5 penalties per game and committed eleven in this game. In the first quarter, they basically stopped themselves with penalties on several drives. And of course N-DUMB-ukong Suh showed the world he is still an immature little boy playing with men, and gave the Packers seven points in the process.
I saw the Lions coach then have a polite conversation with the “Boy Named Suh” as he came off the field after being ejected.. Personally, I would have chewed him out right there on National TV in front of all of tryptophan-filled America. And then I would have kicked him in the ass all the way to the locker room. After the game, Suh denied he intentionally tried to stop on Dietrich-Smith, giving some lame-ass excuse about just trying to extricate himself from Smith. Of course, if that was his intent, it might have helped if he had stopped pounding Smiths’ head into the ground. As TJ Lang said after the game, “His explanation is crap.”
I saw the Packers offense once again find the hot hand and ride it. This time it was forgotten-man James Jones. When the Packers drafted Randall Cobb, I wrote that defensive coordinators would be starting a petition to have the Packers’ offense declared illegal. Seriously, how can you prepare for an offense with such a diverse group of offensive weapons? And it’s only going to get worse for them, as Cobb starts to see more action (he was thrown to four times in this game).
I saw a huge drop in talent level when the Lions suffered injuries to some of their players. The Packers injury fill-ins (DJ Smith, Robert Francois and Evan Dietrich-Smith) all stepped in an played with little drop-off. Of course, this more than anything is the story of these Packers. For them to win the Super Bowl last season with all the injuries they had only gets more impressive the more you think about it. The “next man up” theme has continued this season, and it’s obvious the players are proud of their mantra.
I saw the fierce Lions turn into nothing more than Paper Lions. Yes they have made great strides towards digging themselves out of the huge hole Matt Millen placed them in, but there is still much work to do. They need a year or two more to build depth like Ted Thompson has done. They need their coach to hold his players accountable for their mistakes, as Mike McCarthy has done since ever since the Tampa Bay debacle in 2009.
Yes, I thought the Lions were better than this… and I was very, very wrong.
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.