Packers Vs. Lions: First Impressions – 2014 Game 16

Packers Clay Matthews sacks Lions Matthew Stafford

Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions:  2014 Game 16 (Packers 30, Lions 20)

As always, this post it what it says it is, unfiltered initial reactions as the game progresses. I always find it entertaining to compare initial impressions from the heat of the moment with more measured thoughts with time to think about it.  Everything is up for discussion.

 

GAME NOTES:

One game for the NFC North Division Title. A Packers win would guarantee them the second seed. If the Rams were to upset the Seahawks (don’t hold your breath), the Packers could even end up with the #1 seed.

Scott Tolzien is active for first time this year – Packers must have legitimate concern about Rodgers’ calf injury.

DuJuan Harris inactive for first time this year. Welcome back to KR’s Randall Cobb or do they go with Micah Hyde?

No other surprises with the inactive list today.

 

Captains for the rest of this season (as voted on by the players) will be Aaron Rodgers (offense), Jordy Nelson (offense), Julius Peppers (defense), Morgan Burnett (defense), Randall Cobb (offense/ special teams) and Jarrett Bush (special teams).

 

Inactives for today’s game:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers

26 RB DuJuan Harris
31 CB Davon House
54 LB Carl Bradford
72 C Garth Gerhart
80 TE Justin Perillo
83 WR Jeff Janis
99 DT Bruce Gaston

Detroit Lions

17 QB Kellen Moore
24 DB Josh Thomas
74 G Rodney Austin
79 DE Larry Webster
84 WR Ryan Broyles
97 DT Caraun Reid
98 DT Nick Fairley

 

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Importance:  Every year you start te journey and your first goal is the Division. We clearly want the opportunity to have the bye week

Familiar opponent: Some of these division games are harder than playoff games, in my experience. It’s a lot more in-depth conversations, thinking and training.

1st Lions game: It wasn’t a very good day for us, offensively and special teams were poor, defense played well for 3 quarters but didn’t finish. I think Detroit’s defense , specifcally  the secondary is better. Both teams are better.

Rodgers, 3 QBs: Rodgers is our starting quarterback, no hesitation or qualifications. We’re approaching like we always have.  Just  taking the high side of caution here.

KR’s with Harris inactive: Micah Hyde & also Randall Cobb will do the kickoff returns.

Lions’ Defensive Front,#1 against the run: Talented anjd have a lot of depth. very detailed in playing their schemeyear or two.2 years.

Lions’ Safeties: Definitely an excellent pair, been a big help for them back there.

Stafford: Matthew has always been extremely productive and can make all the throws. He was in one offense all his career until this year, this has been a big change for him.

Johnson & Tate: Golden Tate has been the biggest improvement to this team. best route runner and ability to get YAC

What did you tell your team: Stay true to our identity. Division opponent, there will be no sparring, come out throwing punches. Big play production is key.

 

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Packers vs. Lions – First Impressions – First Half:

A little change of recent tactics – Packers  win the toss and defer.

Matthews with sack and huge hit on Stafford, who had time throw the ball away but let Matthews run 5 yards and tee off on him. Dumb.

Lacy up the middle of the defense killing the Lions early.

Strange switch to Starks for a few plays – have a feeling Lacy was just gassed. He put out a huge amount of effort on those runs.

Packers get another four downs from the one yard line cause of INT. Lions put up a goal line stand as Lacy not in the game until 4th down.

Also, did NOT like the Kuhn handoff on 1st down or the empty backfield on 3rd down.

Micah Hyde with the punt return TD. As Hyde is running it back, I’m yelling “PLEASE DON’T GET TACKLED” so we don’t have to go short yardage goal line offense again.

Whoa – Reggie Bush one on one with Sam Barrington on a go route and Stafford doesn’t throw there.

 

Score at end of 1st quarter:   GB 7 DET 0

No completions for Rodgers in the first quarter.

Packers defense getting good pressure on Stafford without blitzing.

Rodgers working the no-huddle up-tempo game masterfully. Detroit looking gassed.

The rare Lacy fumble (only 2nd of the year) as he refuses to go down and fights for more yards. Occupational hazard.

Detroit RBs bouncing outside finding easy pickings out there…

Ebron not dropping passes is in my opinion the #1 thing he needs to work on. never mind blocking.

Boy, get a bunch of commotion around Matthew Stafford and his accuracy goes way down…

Don’t get #Lions going for it on 4th and 10, but hey, I won’t complain…

Packers 1st and goal at the 9 after a 34 yd completion to Cobb.

Rodgers throws a TD to Cobb as he’s pulling up lame. Stays down for awhile and limps off. Now takes the cart to the locker room. Disaster.

Winning this game even more important now. Need that bye for Rodgers to get healthy. C’mon defense!

DUMB STUPID DUMB STUPID JONES with roughing the passer after a 3rd and 13 stop. Next play, TD Detroit. Way to go Brad.

Score at end of 1st half:   GB 14 DET 7

 

Packers vs. Lions – First Impressions – Second Half:

Matt Flynn out to start the second half.  Oh boy…

Flagrant facemask by Reggie Bush on Casey Hayward – not seen.

My only issue with Tramon on the TD pass to Megatron is once he makes his break, you KNOW the throw is going to be to the corner of the end zone. Just head to the spot.

Rodgers walks back onto the field after Detroit kicks off out of bounds.

Limping noticeably, it doesn’t seem to matter. Rodgers drives Packers down the field for a TD.

And on that TD, Thank You Randall Cobb for making it into the end zone and not putting GB in another goal line situation.

I tweet, “Stafford just itching to throw an INT. can feel it coming…” and the next play Casey Hayward has one in his hands but can’t hold on. Almost the perfect prediction…

 

Score at end of 3rd quarter:   GB 21 DET 14

ANOTHER blocked field goal? Really?

Detroit gives the ball right back with a fumble, however.

Packers 1st and goal from the 9.

Red zone plays: 1st down – handoff to Lacy no gain. 2nd down short completion to Rodgers – facemask.

Now 1st and goal from the 4: 1st down – handoff to Lacy, makes it to the 1 foot line. 2nd down – Rodgers keeper – TD!!! wait, under review… Upheld. TD it is!!!

Packers defense hold and another near INT of Stafford. Lambeau’s Law: QB pressure + Stafford = INT ids coming.

Packers running the clock down with a 14 pt lead.  Give the ball to Detroit on the 9 yd line with 2:39 left.

Mike Neal forces intentional grounding from the end zone. SAFETY. DAGGER.

Onsides free kick punt after the safety? That’s a first for me.

NFC NORTH CHAMPION #PACKERS

 

Final Score:  GB 30 DET 20

 

 

Final Thoughts:

I know competitive juices kick in, but Rodgers should not have been taking off running at all in this game.

For a guy with an Economics degree and a few credits short of another degree in astrophysics, Brad Jones can do some dumb things. None worse than that penalty at the end of the 2nd quarter. Even if you want to argue wimpy NFL rules, you GOTTA know not to hit the QB in the head. Especially when he’s already thrown the ball.

Neither team seemed that interested in kicking field goals in first half.

Red Bozo – Best LOS audible call I’ve heard in a long time.

Randall Cobb has become the one thing teams just don’t have a solution for.

And while we’re talking about Cobb, he is a fantastic downfield blocker for a guy his size. Very overlooked

Twice Eddie Lacy loses ball because he refuses to give up and fighting for every inch. I can live with that. Only 2 fumbles all year.

Feeling like I’d almost rather have Rodgers in a 2nd and 18 than a 3rd and eight. Crazy?

Strangely subdued belt celebration from Rodgers on his QB sneak.

Suh with a subtle double step on Rodgers left leg. At least it wasn’t obvious. His dirt game has gotten so much better.

Lions’ two-point conversion overturned. I was sure the ball was over when he hit the ground.

Can the “Favre was tougher” mob at least admit Rodgers is no slouch?

 

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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.

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  • David Bartel

    I was livid with Jones on the Roughing the Passer. Then Rodgers does down… and so I figured that was the ball game. Two things happened that were very helpful in securing the victory. Rodgers coming back… obvious. And the referee’s not calling Peppers on blows to the head twice in a row in the 2nd half. Not as physical as Jones’s efforts (Stafford didn’t complain about either)… but they were there.

    • Al Borland’s Beard

      I get that they’re trying to avoid concussions, but calling any of the plays “blows to the head” seems a bit hyperbolic, doesn’t it?

  • montana83

    If the NFL and Goodell don’t want to lose control, Suh gets a fine and a one game suspension. Then tell this idiot, that one more time and you are out of football, no more pay. End of story.

    Then follow Adam Czech’s advice – move the Lions to Mongolia.

  • Cpabandit

    Stupid, dumb Jones cannot be on this team next year. PLEASE!

  • David Bartel

    And while we are at it… since we won lets return to our fire Slocum chant. Beyond the Punt Return, the special teams were trash again. Blocked Field Goal, Missed Return on the kick after the Safety, nearly lost the Onside Kick, No Touchbacks on any Kickoff, every Kickoff was short and nearly down the middle of the field. It all stunk.

    We’ve had this discussion about Crosby before. I’ve stated he can’t kick Touchbacks… but I’m ‘wrong’. He can kick them in warm weather… he did consistently in Tampa. He just can’t do it if the weather is below 45 degrees.

    • billy

      all of a sudden our kickers suck…i don’t understand…don’t they work out all year or what…better bring in some competition for Masthey…he sucks now…and to let theLions get that onside free kick was horrible…

  • michael

    Great game, I would love to know what the training staff did to Rodgers calf. The training staff had really stepped it up this year, anyone know what is different? I can’t remember a hamstring pull all year.

    • there have been a few, but no major ones. They’ve done a lot with alternative training – yoga, massage, stretching, etc.

  • Since ’61

    Congratulations to the Packers and Packers fans on our 4th consecutive division title. Great effort today against a very determined opponent. Gutsy performance by Rodgers. OL and Lacy were huge in this game. Defense played very well except for stupid penalty by Brad Jones. I don’t know why he was allowed back on the field. I think the Packers caught a break on the 2 point conversion, but it was reviewed so I’m taking it. Special teams should have been better prepared for post safety kick. Otherwise a great win and the bye is critical to rest up for our playoff opponent. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    • Thegreatreynoldo

      Not only was it reviewed, they reversed the call on the field. That said, I was surprised because it was very close.

  • montana83

    Please re-sign Randall Cobb. The guy is priceless.

  • Jerry

    I cringe when I see Bad Jones on the field during game time. Seems like he could screw up a rock fight!

  • Taryn Miller

    This win means sooooo much to the Packers and Rodgers ‘calf’.

  • Great win. Thank GOD QB12 looks ok. But I don’t like how the playoff matchups are shaping up. Dallas and Seattle are the 2 teams I did not want to see – and we’ll probably be getting them back to back – assuming we win vs. Dallas (no sure thing).

    Hoping for the Loins to upset the Cowgirls on Saturday night, then we get the table scraps from AZ/CAR. Then an all-NFCN rematch for all the marbles in the CG!

    GO PACK GO!

    • Nick Perry

      My thoughts exactly Bearmeat. Dallas being 4-4 at home, Detroits defense playing on that same surface they play on at home might me more than Dallas can handle.

  • SchenySchen

    Gutty win. Defense largely played really well. Barrington getting exposed a little here and there. Jones will be let go in the off-season. That is the 3rd time this year( that I recall) him blowing it on a crucial 3rd and long play by doing something disastrously stupid. Great to see Richard Rodgers make an impact in the offense. Division champs and a bye week to let Rodgers calf heal a little bit. GoPack!

  • David

    Great win. I agree Jones is a liability but the NFL is becoming a pussy league. C’mon Jones was trying to knock down a pass and he barely grazed Stafford’s helmet. It is football not ballet.

  • David

    McCarthy is a really good coach but he sucks at calling plays inside the ten. As Jersey Al said, Kuhn on first down? No backs on third down? Really? Glad it did not come back to haunt them.

    • Since ’61

      David – really? MM is bad at calling inside the 10? His team just won the scoring title this season. He can’t do any better than leading the league in scoring, not to mention 4 consecutive division titles. They clobber the Lions, earn a bye and that’s what you take away from the game. Time to RELAX. Thanks, Since ’61

      • with all due respect, you didn’t address his point. I’ve had a lot of issues with his red zone play calling myself. You have 1st and goal from the one and you don’t use Lacy until 4th down, when everyone knows he’s getting it?

        • Agreed. MM (and most great coaches) out-thinks himself sometimes. Just do what you do and let the other team stop it.

        • Since ’61

          Al – I would have used Lacy on 2nd down myself, maybe even 3rd. I have to believe that the Packers saw something on film that made them believe they could throw it in. If one of those plays works it’s not an issue. Let’s also remember that they had the TD to Jordy if not for the holding on the Lion’s safety and that was from inside the 10. In the end we got the punt return out of it. Thanks, Since ’61

          • David

            Scoring title is irrelevant to my post as Jersey Al said, in playoffs have to score TD’s inside the 10 and especially 1st and goal from the one.

            • Since ’61

              David – I agree. As I say, they must see something during their film study that makes them believe they can throw it in. Personally, on the goal line I prefer a straight ahead play quick to the hole and let the RB fall forward into the end zone. Rodger’s sneak play is good for me. They had Jordy for the TD, but the hold was called on the Lion’s safety. But they study the film and MM has been very successful and has Rodgers to throw it. Time to enjoy the bye. Thanks, Since ’61

            • william dickson

              david is cow42

              • David

                Bill is a liar and a trouble maker like ALL people from New Jersey.

              • william dickson

                where you from dave…Trenton nj that’s where

        • Nick Perry

          I’m with you Al, I didn’t understand McCarthys play calling that first Red Zone trip. After the holding call he should have Lacy in on first and goal and it’s not the first time he’s done it this year. Other than that though I though he called a hell of a game. Well, until the 53 yard FG attempt in 15 degree weather.

        • Tundraboy

          Exactly. Lacy on 4th!!! Goal line running with a single back. MM can just drive you crazy. Guess this is all a result of not having full time TE, or not trusting what we have. R Rodgers is a big dude with soft,strong hands!! ???

      • marpag

        ’61: You need to understand that there are two Mike McCarthys: the evil one, and the evil one. The evil Mike McCarthy, on the one hand, is unimaginative and predictable, and just rams the running back up in there. The evil Mike McCarthy, on the other hand, is prone to get cute and out-think himself, when he should just ram the running back up in there.

        Fortunately, the combination of “evil Mike McCarthy” + “evil Mike McCarthy” = “leads-the-league-in-scoring Mike McCarthy,” which most assuredly DOES answer whatever sort of armchair complaints there might be about his offensive coaching ability.

        • Savage57

          If we are going to stay in context, which is the lack of efficiency in the red-zone, and not try and bifurcate the issue by using total scoring as a smokescreen, then you have to pay attention to the numbers.

          When you lead the league in scoring, are # 4 in the league in red-zone attempts, but only #10 in percent converted, there’s an issue.

          Hopefully, coaching sees it and works on it and doesn’t try to rationalize it away by talking about how ‘we lead the league in scoring’.

          • marpag

            I disagree Savage. There is no “issue.” You’ve latched on to one of my favorite “non-stats.” By my personal definition, a “non-stat” is a nice little bit of factual, but completely irrelevant, information.

            In this case, someone identified a completely arbitrary portion of the field, labeled it “the red zone” as if it were somehow especially important, and then proceeded to judge teams according to something so insignificant as where the ball was snapped on their scoring plays.

            No, it does NOT matter where the ball was snapped. What matters is that it was a scoring play. If an offense scores from the 21 yard line, does that mean that they somehow suck more than a team that scored from the 16?? What matters is that they scored. The rest of it is rubbish.

            Do you know which NFL team leads the league this year in red zone TD percentage? Oakland!!! Does this mean that Oakland has a great offense?? For for that matter, what about CHI at #3, ATL at #5, NO at #6, NYG at #7? All of those non-playoff offenses suck, yet they are ass-kickers when it comes to “red zone efficiency.” Yee-hah. It’s a non-stat.

            See this Football Outsiders post regarding “the Red Zone Efficiency Myth.”

            Here is a far, far better stat: POINTS PER PLAY. This stat considers how likely you are to score on ANY play, regardless of such irrelevant information as where you were on the field when the ball was snapped. It therefore does not wrongfully punish teams that are able to score from a long ways away (as Green Bay certainly is), nor does it unduly reward teams that have to grind it out.

            The 2014 Green Bay lead the league in points per play by a fairly wide margin. Who rounds out the top 10? Dallas, Denver, New England, Philly, Indy, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Seattle and Miami.

            • Savage57

              OK. Back to the red-zone issue.

              Packers need to improve in that area. 7 points is always better than 3, or in some cases 0.

              • marpag

                Of course every coach will say that. They will say it because they score more points, and NOT because they will score more points on plays that originated within the opponent’s 20 yard line.

                Let’s just look at last Sunday’s games. There were 16 of them. In those 16 games, the team with the higher “red zone efficiency” won 7 times, the team with the lower red zone efficiency won 6 times. There were also 3 games in which the red zone efficiency was identical, and yet oddly enough none of those three games resulted in ties. Dallas tied Washington with a RZE of 25%, and yet they walloped the ‘Skins by a score of 44-17. Go figure.

                So in more than half of Sunday’s games (9), red zone efficiency gave absolutely no indication at all of who was going to win. In 6 out of 16 games, trying to predict winners based on RZE would have yielded the wrong answer.

                Looking at the entire 2014 year, FIVE of the top SEVEN teams in RZE have losing records.

            • montana83

              Excellent post – good research – good logic – thanks

          • Tundraboy

            Agree. How many times you score out of attempts is the bottom line and there is no hiding that.

    • william dickson

      cow 42

  • David

    Looks like Dallas at Lambeau in two weeks, need to score 40 to win!

    Go Pack Go!

    • Since ’61

      David – here’s the question. Do we want Detroit to beat Dallas and Seattle and then face the Lions again in 3 weeks, after we play either Carolina or AZ? Or do we want Dallas next and then hope for AZ or Carolina to defeat Seattle? I think that I would prefer Dallas then AZ or Carolina rather than the Lions for a 3rd game. We know Dallas then Seattle is the toughest road for us. Either way, here we go. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

      • Tundraboy

        That’s right. Here we go!!!!

    • william dickson

      dallas wont score 20, come on cow42 you can do better.

  • GBPDAN

    Great win! Number 2 seed and first round bye…Awesome! Hope Rodgers is 100% in 2 weeks!

  • michael

    I think the lions match up pretty well with Dallas. Dallas does not have a strong secondary and the Lions can stop the run, also Dallas is 4-4 at home this year. Should be a good game if the Lions are up for it. That would mean Detroit vs Seattle the next week, another good match up for the Lions.

    • GBPDAN

      I agree, unless Ahole Suh is suspended.

  • Tundraboy

    Great great win. Got my Chirstmas wish!!! Truly felt they were done when Rodgers went down, Brad Jones outdid himself. Never ever want to see him play again. The 3rd down stop killer! R, Rodgers made a huge catch. Should have used him on that first drive , and inside the 10 situations.

  • Thegreatreynoldo

    Kudos to the DBs: holding Calvin Johnson and Tate to under 100 receiving yards (albeit with 2 TDs) is a pretty decent day. We got decent pressure most of the time, too. Kudos to the offensive line. Pass protection was very good. The run blocking was excellent initially, but significantly fell off later in the game. GB ran left quite a bit (away from Suh and Levy). We got a contribution from R. Rodgers, including the important and really tough catch he made for a 1st down, and it was enough to offset the void from Adams and Boykin. Congrats to Jordy Nelson: 1st packer receiver to gain over 1500 yards in one season!

  • WKUPackFan

    4 division titles in a row, 6 years in a row in the playoffs. There are children becoming cognizant that the Packers have been in the playoffs their entire lives. My 23, 19, and 17 year olds have never known the Packers any way other than as an outstanding success. My friends, we stand in the middle of greatness.

  • TedTomsin

    What concerns me from a legal perspective on the Suh play is the word “intent”. The video only shows Suh as an innocent gentle giant type simply looking down the field minding his own business as his momentum carries him into Rodgers legs.

    I think it’s going to be hard to prove “intent” in this case simply because Suh never looked down to see what he was stepping on. Maybe he’s a good actor but we will never know. What scares me about this is Suh could inevitably turn this around and claim it was Rodgers that was the guy who hit him with his back turned. We can see Rodgers’ clear intent to hurt Suh but we can’t see Suhs. That’s a judgement call.

    I’m a Packers fan don’t get me wrong and I personally think Suh probably did it on purpose but I think this is probably a case where Rodgers probably just needs to let it go as I would hate to see Sharpton or someone even higher up like the President get involved in this case and suddenly it becomes an issue that gets out of hand where people are demanding Rodgers get suspended.
    I think it’s best we just let it go. Just my opinion.

    Ted

    • Corwin

      LOL, sad but true. I can hear Obama, “The NFL acted stupidly! If I had a son, he would look like N’Damokung Suh.”

      • JimR_in_DC

        What’s with all this political/racial bullshit?

        • montana83

          Because Obama said he would our racial divisions and he has done the opposite. Also, Corwin made a funny comment about our golfer.

          • JimR_in_DC

            It spoils football conversation.

            • OnTheOtherHand

              I’m with Jim, let’s talk football here and ESCAPE from that other stuff. There are plenty of sites to get your political rants out on.

            • TedTomsin

              Jim, talk football then instead of complaining. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean everyone does. Sometimes sports and politics do clash and with Obama, who loves sports and loves to comment on things because he’s bored, you’re damn right the above scenario could happen if he chooses to get involved. I am trying to prevent that Jim by advising Rodgers to drop the complaining about the stomp. You’re welcome!!

        • Big T

          Jim you need to lighten up a bit. You can secretly still love o’bama it’s ok, we won’t judge…

      • TedTomsin

        lol… Exactly Corwin. Suh is the gentle giant that wouldn’t hurt a fly. Rodgers is the bad guy in this incident. If you freeze the video you will see at the three second mark that Suh, the gentle giant, has his hands up and his back turned towards Rodgers clearly showing no intent to hurt Rodgers.

        The video actually indicts Rodgers as the aggressor not Suh.. Rodgers is seen clearly hitting Suh, the gentle giant, at the 5 second mark on the backside with Suh, the gentle giant, looking the other way. Yes, maybe Rodgers didn’t see Suh with his hands up because he didn’t keep them up for long but if Rodgers is going to claim foul play he’s probably going to lose this and cause a whole bunch of ruckus with the media (Jackson, Sharpton and Obama) and the protesters who will side with Suh. It’s a no win situation. That’s why he needs to just walk away from this. As crazy as this sounds, it could happen. Nobody predicted Ferguson would happen either. Walk away I say.