April 19, 2024

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Thursday night’s NFC North showdown between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field saw the Lions jump out to a fast lead and hardly look back. Detroit took an 11-point lead in the first quarter, which it extended to 24 points by halftime.

After the Packers scored the first two touchdowns of the second half to draw within 10 points, the Lions eventually pulled away for a 34-20 win.

At 3-1, the Lions are on top of the NFC North, ahead of the 2-2 Packers and the 0-3 Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears.

Detroit Lions

There’s a new sheriff in town. After another big win over the Packers at Lambeau Field, the 3-1 Lions are positioning themselves to secure their first NFC North crown. Building off a 24-point first-half lead helped the Lions extend their division win streak to six — and four straight over Green Bay. Detroit has tied the franchise’s longest win streak in the division in the Super Bowl era (1983, 1995) with coach Dan Campbell turning the tide.

Describe the game in two words: Gut check. Both the offense and defense held up their end of the bargain during a dominant first half, but Detroit’s offense was shut out in the third quarter, as the Packers got within 10 to start the fourth, before ultimately sealing the deal with a strong finish in a hostile setting.

Running back David Montgomery has a least one rushing touchdown in his first three games as a Lion. Despite missing Week 3 with a thigh injury, the former Bears running back picked up where he left off with two of his three rushing touchdowns before halftime. He has seamlessly filled the role of former Lions running back Jamaal Williams, now in New Orleans, who was able to break Hall of Famer Barry Sanders’ team mark for the most rushing touchdowns in a single season with 17 in 2022. Entering the game, Montgomery had two rushing TDs in seven career games against the Packers.

QB breakdown: What started off with an ugly drive — Goff was intercepted by Packers safety Rudy Ford in the first two minutes — quickly turned around with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown on the next drive. Goff picked Green Bay apart 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, Oct. 8)

Green Bay Packers

Maybe the Packers really aren’t kings of the NFC North anymore. Not if they keep losing to the Lions.

It wasn’t just that the Packers lost their fourth straight game in the series against the once-lowly Lions. It was that they were laughed off Lambeau Field in the first half. And while they showed some fight after the break, this was an unsightly loss.

Any number of stats can explain how bad a start it was 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 of a game this season, even worse than the Jets’ 39 yards in Week 1. And it was the Packers’ lowest yardage output in any half since Dec. 12, 1982, when they had 19 in the first half of a 30-10 loss to the Lions.

It’s a good thing the Packers pulled off that fourth-quarter comeback five days earlier against the New Orleans Saints, otherwise they’d be in a 1-3 hole. As it is, they’re 2-2 and two games behind the Lions (3-1) in the division.

Biggest hole in the game plan: There was certainly more than one of these, but if we have to pick one: The Packers had running back Aaron Jones, their most dynamic offensive player, for the first time since his 127-yard performance in the season opener, yet they didn’t get him the ball until nearly two minutes into the second quarter. To that point, the Packers had 1 total yard of offense in their first four possessions. They were already behind 24-3 by the time 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 the past two weeks when playing from behind. Five days after he led an 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 in for a touchdown. His numbers ended up being halfway decent (23-for-36, 246 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs plus a rushing TD), but it ended up being empty yardage.
Promising trend: Watson’s return bodes well for the offense. His first catch of the season after missing the first three games because of a hamstring injury, went for 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)

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