Boy what a difference a week makes.
Coming into this game, I really didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t totally doom and gloom after a garbage Week 1, but I also wasn’t confident they would just bounce back to their old selves against a division opponent that always seems to play them tough.
But they did.
Offenses Need Balance
We said this last week when they didn’t have it and it was clear this week when they did.
Aaron Rodgers had a pretty impressive stat line, but the key is how he got it.
The game plan was to establish the run early. The Packers ran the ball a lot. Then, when they passed, miraculously (actually, predictably), the passing lanes were more open.
The play action game made it easier to run and pass. As the game wore on, the offense settled into a groove.
Then, in the second half, Rodgers finally dialed it in and the rout was on.
Defenses Need A Spark
The rout didn’t become a shootout because the defense also stepped up its game.
In the firs half, the Lions were hot. With the exception of the the one drive where they had 4 penalties and backed themselves up to 4th and 28, the Lions scored on every first half drive.
And they didn’t look like they had to try particularly hard to do it, either.
Then, in the second half, after the Packers took the lead, the Lions marched into field goal range. On 4th and short, they tried a quick pass and Eric Stokes made a great play to break it up.
That was the spark.
The defense played better after that. They got a couple turnovers, they played with more attitude, they played with more… dare I say… energy.
They looked good the second half, like a defense you could manage to win some game with if the offense does decent. They even ended the game with a final stand, ironically enough ending with another Eric Stokes pass deflection.
I don’t think this is the switch for the defense, where they just rumble on to a top 5 ranking, but it was nice to see them put together a stretch of good play. It lets you know that they are in fact capable of getting some stops, which is more than we thought last week.
The best part of it all was how much closer they were playing to the line. There were still a couple miscues and misses, but it was progress. It was proof that this group might not be as hopeless as they looked against the Saints.
The Packers offensive line looked like it was starting to come together, too. Detriot has a tough defensive front, and the Packers didn’t stonewall them, but they looked better.
Kylin Hill could be a revelation as a kick returner.
Corey Bojorquez looks like an upgrade.
The Packers beat Detroit by more than the 49ers did, but the transitive property will be put to the test when the Packers travel to San Francisco next week. This will be a measuring stick game.
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