Lions vs. Packers: Lions Start Fast, Fade Faster in Loss to Packers

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 09: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions walks off of the field after fumbling the ball that resulted in a Green Bay Packer touchdown at Lambeau Field on December 9, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions did everything they needed to do in the first half.

They ran the ball well, they moved the chains and they scored. Then, with just two minutes left in the half, it all started coming apart.

The Mason Crosby field goal was just a trickle, but the leak really started when quarterback Matt Stafford fumbled the ball and defensive end Mike Daniels recovered and ran the ball back for a touchdown.

After that, Stafford could never get the ball into the end zone again. Calvin Johnson had another great game from a yardage standpoint, but the Green Bay Packers were able to keep him from scoring.

As much as head coach Jim Schwartz and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan tried to get another player involved, they just couldn't as the rest of the receivers and tight ends suffered from badly run routes, bad drops and good coverage by the Packers.

On the plus side, the Lions continued to be able to run the ball effectively, with both Joique Bell and Mikel Leshoure running well. Bell also added five catches to his day, and the Lions split the carries between their backs pretty evenly.

They also didn't abandon the run when things started to slip away, not panicking and not forcing Stafford to throw the ball endlessly in the snow.

Unfortunately, like Stafford and the passing attack, neither back could reach the end zone. The only touchdown on the ground came via Stafford's legs.

From a defensive standpoint, the Lions did a good job containing the Packers explosive passing offense. They kept the receivers out of the end zone (ending a 35-game streak of touchdowns at home for Aaron Rodgers) and only allowed Randall Cobb to gain over 100 yards receiving.

In fact, aside from Cobb, no other Packers wide receiver caught more than two balls or totaled more than 30 yards.

They had no answer for the hydra-like ground attack, though, as the Packers rolled out multiple backs, all of whom had pretty solid days.

Between the Packers' surprisingly effective run game and the bend-but-don't-break defense Green Bay produced, the Lions found themselves behind almost as quickly as they took the lead.

In the end, Stafford just couldn't put a drive together to score fast enough, and the clock ticked away on the Lions' hopes for an upset. 

It was a tale of two halves. The Lions started off strong, but just couldn't finish the same way.


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