To say yesterday’s Green Bay Packers loss was bad is an understatement. Their game against the Lions was the worst I have seen the Packers play probably since 2005. With Matt Flynn at the helm, and his previous success against the Lions, many Packers fans and myself had reason for hope that they would pull out the win. But, even after they had an early 10-3 lead, it looked like the Packers had too many injuries to overcome. The Lions eventually won 40-10, and now the Packers are 1.5 games behind the division leading Lions with four games to play.
Earlier in the week, Packers left guard Josh Sitton called out the Lions’ defensive line, saying they were “scumbags” and all they did was take cheap shots. For the most part, the Lions kept it clean yesterday and destroyed the Packers’ offensive line, sacking Flynn eight times, including one for a safety when the Packers were down by 14 in the third quarter. Even when Flynn wasn’t getting sacked, he was under constant pressure and never got into a rhythm.
One question that I’m sure will be asked is what effects did Josh Sitton’s comments have on the game? My answer is quite simple: none.
While I am sure that Sitton did create a little fire under the defensive line of the Lions, I don’t believe that the outcome would have been any different had Sitton not said anything. While the offense was having trouble moving the ball, the defense was having its issues as well. They did force four turnovers, but also gave up over 500 yards of total offense, including allowing Reggie Bush and Joique Bell to each rush for over 100 yards and a touchdown. Many defenders exhibited poor tackling efforts, trying to bring down the Lions by arm tackling.
Back on the offensive side of the ball, the thing that has been most affected by Aaron Rodgers’ injury is the running game. Eddie Lacy only had 16 yards on ten carries yesterday. He seemed to be met by a host of Lions defenders every time we was handed the football. With an inefficient running game, the Lions forced the Packers to beat them with the pass, which Matt Flynn was unable to do.
One thing that might be overlooked is the loss of Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith. Dietrich-Smith injured his knee in the second quarter, and forced the Packers to move T.J. Lang from right guard to center and Marshall Newhouse to take over at right guard. With Lang playing an unfamiliar position and the below average Newhouse in, the Lions defensive line were able to have their way and give Flynn no time to throw the football.
The Lions took the Packers to the woodshed, and now the Packers are clinging to their slim playoff hopes. For the Packers to make the playoffs, they need to win their remaining four games, hope that the Lions lose two of their final four games, and hope that the Bears lose one of their next four games before the Packers and Bears battle on the final week of the season. That means that Packers fans might be forced to cheer for the Minnesota Vikings if the Packers want to make the playoffs.
The only good news that can be taken away from yesterday is that Aaron Rodgers said he hopes to play against the Atlanta Falcons in 10 days. The Packers dug themselves a hole after the Thanksgiving disaster. It’s up to Aaron Rodgers to dig them out.
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