The Detroit Lions reached the dreaded eight-loss mark in Week 14, making it impossible for them to end the year 2020 with a winning season and surpassing the loss that head coach Jim Caldwell let go of after the 2017 season. To make things even better, the eighth loss came against the Green Bay Packers with a score of 31-24, gaining a split between competitors and temporarily giving them first place in the NFC.
Here are some excerpts from another loss:
Death by a thousand pieces
The Packers controlled the lions despite being just a “big game” throughout the match – when wide buyer Davante Adams scored in a 56-yard catch and ran in the first quarter. They did so by staying in front of the chains all day, avoiding mistakes and keeping the watch moving. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford barely played in the third quarter as Green Bay held more than 13 minutes.
Unlike previous losses of the season, there wasn’t really a player who would have embarrassed Detroit. While Aaron Rodgers posted impressive stats with 290 yards and three touchdown passes in 33 pass attempts, not as if he had stuffed the box or the outstanding reel at week 14.
After the first quarter, the three touchdowns in Green Bay took 23 minutes off the clock, and each was at least 12 pieces long. Protecting the lions was unable to stop the Packers on the early slopes. They had virtually no pass kick, couldn’t hold Rodgers on the ground – allowing several third falls to be converted with his feet – and there was no intrusion with the running game. Looking at each game individually, the defense did great, but they simply failed to create big games against Green Bay.
Leaving the running game
Any Lions fan who has watched the team throughout the season has been disappointed with the multitude of teams the team is wasting with the ball without a loss. Early first run races often put the team behind the chains and only pounded the team a few games later.
Detroit abandoned that trend this week and largely left the game they ran. D’Andre Swift, Kerryon Johnson and Kerryon Johnson combined to make only 13 carryovers, with Swift having seven most of the day.
The team threw the ball 40 times against Green Bay, which is much higher than usual. Stafford had 34 attempts before leaving the game early, with a ribbed injury. He scored 244 yards and a touchdown, an impressive total compared to how the team played this season without the best buyer, Kenny Golladay.
This may have been due in part to the fact that the team was behind almost all of the matches. After draining the clock with a Green Bay lead, the lions had to make the most out of possession of the ball and could not afford to waste their property on run-run-pass shoots. Nevertheless, under Bevell’s leadership, the philosophy seems to be changing and the team already seems much more aggressive in attack compared to last weeks.