Rob Demowski and Eric Woodyard5 minutes of reading
Green Bay, Wis. — Thursday night’s NFC North showdown between Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, Lions jump out to a quick lead and never look back. Detroit took an 11-point lead in the first quarter and stretched it to 24 at halftime.
After the Packers scored the first two touchdowns of the second half to draw within 10 points, the Lions eventually won 34–20.
At 3-1, the Lions are atop the NFC North, ahead of the 2-2 Packers and 0-3 Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears.
There’s a new sheriff in town. After another big win over the Packers at Lambeau Field, the 3-1 Lions position themselves to claim their first NFC North crown. A 24-point first-half lead helped the Lions extend their division win to six — and four straight over Green Bay. The Super Bowl era (1983, 1995) has tied a Detroit franchise’s longest winning streak since coach Dan Campbell turned the tide.
Describe the game in two words: Bowel test. Both offense and defense held their end of the bargain during a dominating first half, but Detroit’s offense stalled in the third quarter as the Packers got within 10 to start the fourth, before finally sealing the deal with a strong finish. A hostile organization.
Running back David Montgomery has one rushing touchdown in his first three games as a Lion. Despite missing Week 3 with a hamstring injury, the former Bears tight end picked up where he left off with two of his three rushing touchdowns before halftime. Jamaal Williams, who broke Hall of Famer Barry Sanders’ team mark for the most rushing touchdowns in a single season with 17 in 2022, now fills the former Lions role seamlessly in New Orleans. Montgomery has two rushing TDs in seven career games against the Packers.
QB Breakdown: What started with an ugly drive — Goff was intercepted by Packers safety Rudy Ford in the first two minutes — quickly turned it around with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown on the next drive. Goff picked on Green Bay at times, finishing with 210 passing yards, 1 TD and 1 INT while completing 19 of 28 attempts. Goff is now 5-1 against the Packers in his career.
Next game: vs. Carolina Panthers (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, October 8)
Green Bay Packers
Maybe the Packers aren’t really the kings of the NFC North. Not if you keep losing to the lion.
Not only did the Packers lose their fourth straight game in a series against the once-low Lions. They laughed at Lambeau Field in the first half. Although they showed some fight after the break, it was an unsightly loss.
Any number of stats can explain how bad a start it’s been for the Packers, but here’s one: Their 21 yards in the first half were the fewest by any NFL team in the first half this season, worse than the Jets. 39 yards in Week 1. And this is Dec. 12 was the Packers’ lowest output in any half since 1982, when they scored 19 in the first half in a 30-10 loss to the Lions.
It’s a good thing the Packers pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback five days ago against the New Orleans Saints, otherwise they’d be in a 1-3 hole. As it is, they are 2-2 and two games behind the Lions (3-1) in the division.
A huge hole in the game plan: Of course there was more than one of these, but if we had to pick one: For the first time since his 127-yard loss in the season opener, the Packers got their most dynamic offensive player, Aaron Jones, back. He didn’t get the ball until nearly two minutes into the second quarter. At that point, the Packers had a total of 1 yard of offense on their first four possessions. They were already down 24-3 when Jones touched the ball for the first time. Meanwhile, Jordan Love started the game 1-for-7 passing with an interception.
QB breakdown: Love has done his best work over the past two weeks playing from behind. Five days after his 18-point fourth quarter comeback to beat the Saints, he showed similar fight against the Lions. He got wide receiver Christian Watson involved on the first drive of the second half, hit wide receiver Jayden Reed on a deep ball and ran for a touchdown. His numbers were OK in the half (23-for-36, 246 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs and a rushing TD), but it came up empty.
A promising trend: Watson’s return bodes well for the offense. After missing the first three games with a hamstring injury, he made his first catch of the season, going 24 yards on a deep crosser. He finished the drive with a wide-open, 1-yard touchdown catch. Next game: at Las Vegas Raiders (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday, Oct. 9)