DETROIT – For the Detroit Lions, it was a Thanksgiving feast.
For the Green Bay Packers, they were left to clean up the mess of pots, pans, plates and a season that almost certainly will not end with a playoff berth.
The Packers were destroyed by Detroit 40-10 on Thursday. It was a statistical nightmare kept relatively close for the first three quarters only because the Lions couldn’t get out of their own way at times with four turnovers.
Even with their miscues, the Lions were the far superior team, and it probably made little difference that Aaron Rodgers missed a fourth consecutive game with a broken collarbone and Matt Flynn was the team’s fourth starting quarterback in five weeks. Still, the talent disparity at quarterback was undeniable.
When Matthew Stafford threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson on third-and-10 with 9:08 to play in the third quarter to make it 24-10, Detroit had a 403-42 edge in yards and 20-3 advantage in first downs. The Packers had four consecutive three-and-out punts.
It only got worse. After Green Bay forced its first punt – because of a dropped third-down pass – it started at its 5. Flynn faced immediate pressure on first down and was sacked, then Ndamukong Suh split a double-team block and dropped Flynn for a safety. That made it 26-10. Green Bay had just 57 yards of offense.
The Lions finished off the Packers by scoring on the ensuing free kick. Stafford hit Kris Durham for 36, Joique Bell ran through the defense for 19 and powered it in from the 1. That made it 33-10 on the scoreboard and 489-57 in yards with 13:06 to play.
Flynn was brutal, not that he was given much help. The Lions’ dominant run defense eliminated Eddie Lacy and overwhelmed the offensive line. Meanwhile, Stafford threw for 330 yards and a run defense that was a brick wall for six weeks allowed more than 200 rushing yards for the third time in four games.
When Green Bay’s offense stepped on the field with about 4 minutes to play and facing a 40-10 deficit, there was a yardage of disparity of 509 yards.
Green Bay didn't pass 100 yards until Flynn hit James Jones for a gain of 56 to the 7. On the next play, Flynn dropped the snap and the Lions recovered.
Before the game, Rodgers said he hoped he’d be allowed to play at Atlanta next week. With Green Bay at 5-6-1, coach Mike McCarthy will have to determine if there’s any point.
It was the Revenge of Jeremy Ross – and total statistical domination -- as the Lions rallied to take a 1¬7-10 lead at halftime.
Detroit had a stunning 340-43 advantage in yards, including a 148-19 edge on the ground. The game was close only because the Lions had three first-half turnovers, went 2-for-5 in the red zone and missed a 31-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
The Lions tied the game 10-10 when Ross easily beat cornerback Davon House for a 5-yard touchdown. The score was set up by a third-and-4 play in which Bush lined up at the left sideline matched one-on-one against A.J. Hawk. Stafford exploited that athletic mismatch for a gain of 32. Then, on third-and-1, Stafford faked the handoff, booted to his right and dumped it to tight end Dorin Dickerson, who blew away Brad Jones for a gain of 26.
The Packers went three-and-out on the ensuing possession before Ross struck again. He fielded a terrific punt near the sideline but beat House and returned it all the way to the Packers’ 33. It was a 32-yard swing in field position. Bush then tore up the middle for 23 yards to the 1 before waltzing in for an easy touchdown to give Detroit a 17-10 edge.
The Packers had forced a total of three turnovers over the previous five games but got three on three possessions. After Mason Crosby’s 54-yard field goal tied the game 3-3, Nick Perry beat left tackle Riley Reiff and stripped the ball from Stafford. Perry then grabbed Stafford to prevent the recovery, which allowed safety Morgan Burnett – who was blitzing from the other side of the formation – to scoop the ball and return it 2 yards for a touchdown to give Green Bay a 10-3 lead.
Tramon Williams intercepted Stafford on the next possession, with Green Bay getting the ball near midfield, but went three-and-out.
There was no score after the first quarter, though the Lions dominated the action. They had nine plays of 9-plus yards, though the big one was a fumble by Reggie Bush on a first-down play from Green Bay’s 12. Clay Matthews stripped the ball and Morgan Burnett recovered.
Detroit took a 3-0 lead on the second play of the second quarter, a 27-yard field goal after Brad Jones had good coverage on third-down pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.