Packers @ Lions
Final Score: Lions 15, Packers 9
Writer: Justin Havelock (@JustinHavelock on Twitter)
The worst team in the NFC North lost to Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions this week. Despite being a single win ahead of the Lions, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers genuinely could finish the season as the worst team in this division. The Packers have now lost their last five consecutive games to the New York Giants, New York Jets, Washington Commanders, Buffalo Bills, and now the Detroit Lions. Yikes.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers: 23/43, 291 Yards, TD, 3 INT | 4 Carries, 40 Yards
While the commentators spent most of the broadcast discussing the sheer volume of injuries in this game, and there definitely were plenty of them, the harsh reality that we need to acknowledge here is that Aaron Rodgers was just bad. Rodgers has been struggling throughout the season and this game was one of his worst in 2022.
The three interceptions will draw the most attention here, and rightfully so, but the sack here from linebacker Derrick Barnes was just as uncharacteristic of Rodgers as he actually had Allen Lazard wide open and calling for the ball just out of frame below.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) November 6, 2022
Rodgers was really struggling to get through his progressions in this game and that combination of an inability to make quick reads, protect the football, and pull off deep throws downfield was what hurt him most against the Lions. This has become a very common theme for Rodgers this season.
AJ Dillon: 11 Carries, 34 Yards | 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 10 Yards, Fumble (Recovered)
Aaron Jones: 9 Carries, 25 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 20 Yards
Kylin Hill: 1 Carry, 7 Yards
The Packers struggled so much on the ground here that Aaron Rodgers actually led the team in rushing yards against a Lions run defense that ranked 30th coming into this matchup with an average of 154.9 rushing yards allowed per game.
AJ Dillon inexplicably continued to serve as the 1A out of this backfield, at least when the Packers
remembered decided to run the ball. At the end of the first quarter, after Allen Lazard put Green Bay at the one-yard line, Dillon received a pair of red zone carries and rushed for no gain on both attempts. He may have out carried Aaron Jones in the first half 7-5, but Dillon still came up short in both rushing yards (20-22) and scrimmage yards (27-37). On the Packers’ final drive of the game, he fumbled the ball and barely managed to recover it in bounds to extend the drive.
The frustration for fans of Aaron Jones continued this week as the Green Bay Packers, yet again, seemed to be completely unaware at times of the caliber of running back that they have here. Jones was again relegated to the 1B role behind Dillon, and after being snubbed on two rushing attempts at the one-yard line he finally checked in to the game inside the red zone to open the second quarter. Instead of passing to Jones who had clear separation in man coverage, Rodgers attempts the throw to David Bakhtiari– yes, that’s left tackle David Bakhtiari, who had reported in as eligible on the play- and was rewarded with his second interception of the game.
AIDAN HUTCHINSON INT
— NFL (@NFL) November 6, 2022
Jones eventually left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury and spent the rest of his day watching from the Green Bay sideline.
Kylin Hill made his season debut with Jones out of the game. It was only one carry but given Dillon’s inconsistencies this season, Hill is a name worth watching. That is, assuming that Jones misses time and this team finally starts to run the football more often.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Allen Lazard: 10 Targets, 4 Receptions, 87 Yards, TD
Josiah Deguara: 5 Targets, 5 Receptions, 41 Yards
Samori Toure: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 34 Yards, Fumble (Recovered)
Robert Tonyan: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 29 Yards
Christian Watson: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 24 Yards
Marcedes Lewis: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 19 Yards
Romeo Doubs: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 18 Yards
Sammy Watkins: 5 Targets, 1 Reception, 9 Yards
Amari Rodgers: 1 Target
David Bakhtiari: 1 Target
If there were any doubts remaining about Allen Lazard, he cemented his status as the WR1 for Green Bay this week. Aaron Rodgers relied heavily on Lazard throughout the game, especially as the offense started losing receivers to injuries. His first endzone target of the day was intercepted by safety Kerby Joseph after a slightly underthrown pass from Rodgers deflected off of a defender’s helmet. Lazard almost scored a touchdown later on in the first quarter on a 47-yard catch-and-run but he was ruled down by contact at the one-yard line.
Lazard just made a play pic.twitter.com/FkkHG7eGgZ
— IKE Packers Podcast (@IKE_Packers) November 6, 2022
Lazard would eventually score a touchdown in the third quarter, putting the afterburners on in tight coverage. He certainly didn’t look like a wide receiver coming off of a shoulder injury that held him out of last week’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
Rodgers to Lazard puts the @Packers on the board!
— NFL (@NFL) November 6, 2022
Josiah Deguara caught all of his passes including a 25-yard reception from Rodgers that padded this box score in an otherwise uneventful game for the tight end.
Samori Toure had zero targets in the first half and started the second half with a deep endzone target on 3rd & long that was batted away by Joseph. Toure would get another chance in the fourth quarter as Rodgers scrambled around in the pocket, throwing on the run, but the pass was too low for him to come up with the ball. Immediately after AJ Dillon recovered his own fumble on the final drive of the game, Toure would catch a 32-yard pass on 4th & 2 that he would then go on to fumble and recover himself as well.
Much like Toure, Robert Tonyan also had zero targets in the first half and saw his first target of the game spoiled by Joseph. Rodgers tried to go deep to Tonyan in the endzone, but Joseph got underneath on the route to catch his second interception of the day.
Christian Watson had himself a solid day when he was on the field, throwing a key block to set up Lazard’s 47-yard catch-and-run as well as catching both of his targets for a first down. He left the game in the third quarter after his second reception in order to wait in the ever-growing line for the blue tent. Watson was ultimately diagnosed with a concussion that kept him out of the rest of the game.
Mercedes Lewis has become the Packers’ most efficient receiver in the post-Davante Adams era, although that has been due to the lack of receiving options and his low target volume. Lewis caught his second pass of the season to give the Packers a 1st & Goal, unfortunately, the Packers were unable to score as Rodgers threw his first interception of the game on the subsequent play.
Romeo Doubs made a nice 18-yard catch on the Packers’ opening play of the game and immediately limped off the field. Doubs was evaluated on the sideline before being helped into the locker room and did not return with what has been reported as a right ankle injury. After the game, Doubs was spotted on crutches with a walking boot on his right foot.
Rodgers looked incredibly frustrated with Sammy Watkins this week. After making his lone catch of the game on the Packers’ opening drive, Watkins and Rodgers were out of sync for the rest of the game. Late in the first quarter, Watkins ran a slant into the endzone when Rodgers was looking for the corner, and a couple of drops later, during the Packers’ final drive, on 4th & 10, Watkins managed to replicate almost exactly the same miscue.
Despite the box score, Amari Rodgers actually did manage to catch a four-yard pass on a short flat route that was quickly called back thanks to an offensive pass interference penalty on Toure. Rodgers’ other target came during the Packers’ final drive of the game on 3rd & 10, but in tight coverage defensive back CJ Moore was easily able to get a hand on the ball and knock it down to prevent a potential game-winning touchdown.
Left tackle David Bakhtiari is only listed here since he saw an endzone target this week. Unfortunately, Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson saw it first, picking off Rodgers’ second interception of the game.
Jared Goff: 14/26, 137 Yards, 2 TD, INT | 1 Carry, -1 Yards
Jared Goff put up his worst game of the season versus the Green Bay Packers defense, scored only 15 points, and yet managed to come away with the win. Incredible. Goff mustered up only a 53.8% completion percentage and 5.26 Yards Per Attempt with the Detroit Lions leaning heavily on their running game in order to help compensate for Goff’s shortcomings against the Packers.
Goff’s sole interception this week came in a matchup between elite cornerback Jaire Alexander and Amon-Ra St. Brown. St Brown was looking for a quick pass from Goff as even St Brown thought that he was open on the play, but Alexander lived up to his reputation by baiting his receiver and selling zone coverage before jumping inside to take the pass from Goff for himself.
Back-to-back games with an INT for @JaireAlexander!
— NFL (@NFL) November 6, 2022
Jamaal Williams: 24 Carries, 81 Yards
D’Andre Swift: 2 Carries, 10 Yards | 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 40 Yards
Justin Jackson: 4 Carries, 27 Yards
Jamaal Williams took on the lion’s share of the rushing volume here, recording a season-high of 24 carries. His 3.38 Yards Per Carry was quite disappointing though, especially considering that the Packers ranked 29th in run defense coming into this game having allowed an average of 141.3 rushing yards per game. Williams’ lack of explosiveness was clearly visible as a 14-yard run supplied his only rush of more than ten yards, despite such a large workload.
D’Andre Swift did not factor heavily into the running game with just one carry in each half of the game. Head coach Dan Campbell certainly wasn’t spending his Midnights getting Swift involved in this offense, as Swift has become an Anti-Hero in Detroit with his usage on the ground down to nearly Sweet Nothing. On the bright side, Swift stayed active in the passing game and caught two of the longest plays of the week for the Lions. Just take a look at this 12-yard reception where Swift took one look at the ball, reaches back, and said to himself You Belong With Me.
— Brandon “Blessed” Brincefield (@StayBlessedSprt) November 6, 2022
Hopefully as Swift gets healthy he can Shake It Off soon.
Justin Jackson managed to out-carry Swift on only four rushing attempts and added some much-needed burst to the Lions’ offense. Late in the third quarter, Jackson ran for an 11-yard gain that gave the Lions a 1st & Goal and set up what would stand as the game-winning touchdown. He also had a nine-yard carry that was called back on an offensive holding penalty.
Craig Reynolds was active this week as well, but left the game in the first half with a rib injury and saw zero touches in this game.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Amon-Ra St. Brown: 9 Targets, 4 Receptions, 55 Yards
Kalif Raymond: 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 17 Yards
Tom Kennedy: 4 Targets, 1 Reception, 16 Yards
James Mitchell: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 8 Yards, TD
Shane Zylstra: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 1 Yard, TD
Brock Wright: 1 Target
Amon-Ra St. Brown was plagued the whole game by cornerback Jaire Alexander and the rest of the Packers’ secondary this week. St Brown managed to come up with a few clutch plays to bail out Jared Goff, first with an 11-yard catch on the opening pass of the game and then in the second quarter on a nice 15-yard curl. His biggest play of the game though came late in the third quarter with a 25-yard corner on 3rd & 6 that kept alive a game-winning touchdown drive.
Early in the second quarter, Kalif Raymond caught a nine-yard pass for a first down on 3rd & 9. The rest of his day would prove uneventful, however, as the Packers’ secondary did an excellent job of shutting down the Lions’ passing game.
Tom Kennedy delivered on his only reception with a catch-and-run just outside of the two-minute warning in the first half that drew an unnecessary roughness penalty. The extra 15-yard gain on the late hit from Alexander brought the ball all the way down to Green Bay’s 30-yard line and may have saved Detroit from going into halftime scoreless. Kennedy also saw an endzone target on 4th & 1, as well as targets on 2nd & long and 1st & long, so he may have earned Goff’s trust in this offense while the Lions are without their top wide receivers.
The Detroit Lions tied their season-low in targets to the tight end after trading TJ Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings at the trade deadline. Rookie James Mitchell led the position this week, scoring a touchdown and catching both of his targets on third downs. Shane Zylstra caught the only other touchdown of the day for Detroit completely wide-open in the endzone. In fact, the 14.6 yards of separation from a defender on Zylstra’s touchdown are the most on an endzone target since 2020, per Next Gen Stats. The Lions may opt to go with a tight end-by-committee approach moving forward as Brock Wright was targeted on a third down as well.