The Detroit Lions came into Lambeau Field last night and handled the Green Bay Packers with ease, running out to a 27-3 lead over Green Bay at the half. At one point late in the first half, Detroit was out-gaining the Packers 194-1. Yes one. I slept on it and had a chance to rewatch the game this morning. So, let’s discuss it.
I went to bed last night thinking …
The Detroit Lions are the clear-cut favorites in the NFC North and maybe even in the NFC. I’ll admit that the overtime loss to the Seahawks in Week 2 kind of softened my stance on the Lions. I just thought that Detroit should have beaten a Seahawks team at home that was coming off of a loss to the Rams at home the week prior. But, sometimes, we can be a prisoner of the moment, especially early in the season. This was one of those times.
In the grand scheme of things, an overtime loss to the Seahawks will probably be considered a “good loss.” Unless, of course, the Lions’ season comes down to the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Seahawks as it did last season. Then it’ll be the worst loss the Lions have had in recent memory. But for as good as the Lions have looked outside of that Seattle game, I don’t think they will have to worry about that scenario this time around.
So, suppose we view the Seattle loss through that lens right now. In that case, the Lions have two road wins in two of the most challenging venues in football — Arrowhead and Lambeau — and a solid win over an up-and-coming Falcons team at home in which Detroit’s defense allowed only six points to the Falcons and held their three-headed monster in the backfield to just 45 yards on 19 carries (2.36 yards per attempt).
I went to bed last night thinking that the Lions have a real shot to book their trip to Las Vegas in February.
How I’m feeling this morning …
As I always do the morning after a game, I rewatched last night’s game this morning, and I’m not feeling much different. Detroit’s three victories this season have all featured a few key takeaways:
That sounds like a recipe for success to me. David Montgomery was a bulldozer last night, especially late in the game. Early, the offensive line created gaping lanes for him to run through. When one friend texted me last night that Montgomery was having a solid game, I sarcastically replied, “Meh. I could run through those lanes.” But as the game went on, and the Packers defensive front tired, Montgomery began to impose his will.
Anyone who has watched Montgomery’s career closely knows that’s how he rolls. He’s a back that needs to be fed the ball early and often. In both road victories this season against the Chiefs and the Packers, Montgomery recorded 20-plus carries.
Jared Goff called out Ryan Fitzpatrick on the TNF postgame show last night for Fitz referring to Goff as a “poor man’s Matt Ryan.” Call him what you want, but Goff does enough right to win and then some.
After an opening drive interception, Goff bounced-back and sucked the early life out of the Lambeau Field crowd by hitting tight end Sam LaPorta with an absolute dime for a 35-yard gain.
Then he nailed Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 24-yard touchdown to give the Lions a 7-3 lead that shifted the momentum squarely on the side of Detroit. But it wasn’t the toss that did it for me; it was the process. Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas shared a conversation that he had with Goff after the game.
“Bro, you’re a hell of a player, but we knew we were going to get you on that one. We went over it every day in practice, and that’s the one you jumped [in a previous game]. We only had one play off of it,” Doulas said Goff told him after the game.
And as much as that is a compliment to Jared Goff, it’s equal praise to the Lions coaching staff for being able to recognize, remember, and implement that. It was an early back-breaker for the Packers, making all of the practice reps worth it. Dan Campbell and his staff have done an amazing job and this team is clicking.
But let’s not forget about the defense, which is vastly improved this season. Save for the Seahawks’ loss, the Lions’ defense has allowed 15.33 points per game this season against the Chiefs, the Falcons, and the Packers. Not too shabby. Detroit sacked Jared Love five times last night and has 11 sacks in their last two games.