Ultimate Game Review: Packers vs. Lions

Jones (Tom Lynn - Getty)

The play of the game, the player of the game, a look into the crystal ball and 15 incredible numbers that explain Sunday's victory over Detroit.

Packer Report looks back at the Green Bay Packers' 22-9 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

PLAY OF THE GAME

The Packers were going nowhere fast. They were sputtering along at 9-3 midway through the third quarter and facing a second-and-15 from the 17.

Rodgers changed the play at the line of scrimmage and dialed up play-action, though the fake to Eddie Lacy didn't do a whole lot. What was key was slot receiver Randall Cobb, who beat press coverage and took his route up the field to occupy the safety. So, when Rodgers went deep up the left sideline to James Jones, there was no safety help for cornerback Chris Houston, who appeared to be looking for it.

"That was big for us," Rodgers said. "We ran it pretty good today and that set up a lot of stuff we did in the passing game. And we just made a subtle adjustment. It's often the things you don't see on the play that make the play. Randall did a great job of avoiding a defender in the slot, getting up on the safety quick, influencing him in that Cover-2. And James was screaming on the sidelines, made a great catch."

Jones caught the ball at the Green Bay 46, then cut the ball back toward the middle of the field to win a race to the end zone. That made it 16-3 and it sealed Detroit's fate for a record 23rd consecutive loss in the Dairy State.

"I was hoping (he wouldn't get caught) because I never would've heard the end of it from everybody in here," Jones said. "I'm like a little kid, so I was zig-zagging until there were no more grass to roam. So I'm going to make sure I get in the end zone."


PLAYER OF THE GAME

Would it be wrong to say Calvin Johnson? Johnson is hands-down the best receiver in the NFL. Since entering the league in 2007, he is first in the NFL in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and 25-yard gains. Still, Matthew Stafford throwing passes to Johnson made the Lions too one-dimensional, so they acquired running back Reggie Bush during the offseason. That gave defenses, as coach Jim Schwartz put it this week, a pick-your-poison dilemma. Play keepaway from Johnson, and watch Bush run wild. Play honest on defense, and watch Johnson use his height and freakish athletic ability to beat the defensive backs.

That all went out the window on Sunday. Without Johnson, Stafford threw for a meaningless 262 yards – including just 134 through the first three quarters. Bush, who had 191 total yards in Week 1 and 173 total yards in Week 4, was limited to 69.

It wasn't like Detroit's offense didn't do anything. It had five drives that gained at least three first downs. They just didn't have the manpower to get a couple more first downs on those possessions. Some of that failure to keep drives moving was because of a watered-down receiver corps that limited Stafford's options and played a role in the Packers' season-high five sacks.

"(Stafford) had to hold onto the ball to try to get guys open," Schwartz said. "They did a good job of rushing him and covering. I give them credit. It affected the game. We gave up too much pressure and took too many lost yardage plays."

THE CRYSTAL BALL

This was huge. Let's make no mistake about it. Rather than being tied in the loss column for first place in the NFC North, the Packers would have been 1-3. Detroit, on the other hand, would have been 4-1 – including 3-0 in the NFC North.

Up next: a game at defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore (3-2) at noon Sunday, a home game against surprising Cleveland, at Minnesota and home to Chicago. The Bears will be coming off a bye.

"We are what our record is," Rodgers said. "We've got five division games in front of us. Tough schedule in front of us, tough challenge next week. It's going to be important for us to win on the road. We're 0-2 on the road and 2-0 at home; we made the most of our homefield advantage but you have to win on the road to make the playoffs."

NOTEWORTHY NUMBERS

33.3: Green Bay's touchdown percentage in the red zone during the last two games. The Packers went field goal, field goal, touchdown, touchdown at Cincinnati, then settled for two field goals against Detroit. Green Bay entered the game tied for eighth with 64.3 percent touchdowns.

68.1: Green Bay's red-zone touchdown percentage last season. That ranked third in the league and was the team's best since the NFL began tracking that figure in 1995. Entering Sunday, the Packers were a top-ranked 61.7 percent touchdowns since the start of 2008.

0: Giveaways by the Packers. They're 28-5 under coach Mike McCarthy when they don't turn over the ball.

0: Takeaways by the Packers. They're just 2-14 under McCarthy when they fail to force a turnover.

.955: The Packers' winning percentage (21-1) under McCarthy when they hold their opponent to less than 10 points.

10: Consecutive home wins by the Packers against NFC North foes. That's their best since an 18-game run from 1994 through 1998.

99: Rushing yards by Eddie Lacy, just 1 yard short of giving the Packers a 100-yard rusher for three consecutive games for the first time since Noah Herron, Ahman Green and Vernand Morency did it in four consecutive games in 2006. Still, their three consecutive games with at least 135 rushing yards is their best run since late in the 2006 season.

180: Rushing yards by the Packers. Paired with 182 yards against Cincinnati, Green Bay has back-to-back games of at least 180 rushing yards for the first time since doing it four consecutive times in 2003.

67: Randall Cobb's third-quarter run was the longest by a Packers receiver since James Lofton's 83-yard scoring dash against the Giants in 1982.

83: With James Jones' 83-yard touchdown catch and Cobb's run, the Packers became the first team since the 1989 Raiders to have a 65-yard run and an 80-yard pass. Bo Jackson ran for 92 yards and Willie Gault had an 82-yard catch vs. Cincinnati in 1989, according to the Packers.

2: Cobb now has a 60-plus yard run, 60-plus yard reception, 100-plus yard kickoff return and 80-plus yard punt return on his resume. The only other player to accomplish that in his first three seasons? Hall of Famer Gale Sayers.

13: Consecutive successful field goals by Mason Crosby. Crosby holds the team record with 23 in a row from 2010 to 2011, followed by Chris Jacke (streaks of 17 and 15) and Ryan Longwell's five streaks of 14 and 13 in a row.

64: Rushing yards allowed by the Packers. They're allowing 86.0 per game. Green Bay entered the game ranked eighth in the league.

43.8: Percent of third-down plays converted by Green Bay's offense. The Lions' defense entered the league ranked No. 1 at 21.3 percent.

1,300: Remember Jones' proclamation that the Packers would have three 1,000-yard receivers? How about three 1,300-yard receivers? Cobb, the low man with 325 yards, is on pace for 1,300. Jordy Nelson (379) is on pace for 1,516 yards and Jones (339) is on pace for 1,356.


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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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