The Detroit Lions traveled to Lambeau Field on Sunday and suffered their second defeat of the season at the hands of the Green Bay Packers and remain tied for first place in the NFC North rather than furthering their lead.
While quarterback Matthew Stafford and Co. were without star receiver Calvin Johnson, the Lions were exposed as a team weak in multiple areas and clearly unprepared for a trip to the playoffs in 2013.
Detroit lost 22-9, which is kind considering the team failed to score a touchdown until about two minutes remained in the contest.
Stafford and the offense obviously missed Megatron, but there is no excuse for Stafford only tallying 262 yards and one touchdown while connecting with eight different receivers. The offensive line certainly didn't help matters, as Stafford was sacked five times.
Defensively, an area where Detroit continues to be nothing but mediocre, the Lions gave up 449 total yards and allowed Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers to complete 66 percent of his passes en route to 274 yards and a touchdown.
The dominant pair of defensive tackles Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh? They did little as Rodgers was sacked just once and routinely had all day to pick apart what is clearly a shaky at best Detroit secondary.
Keep in mind the pair's ineffectiveness came against a weak Green Bay offensive line that allowed Rodgers to be sacked 10 times in three games prior to the contest.
The defense was not any better against the run, allowing rookie back Eddie Lacy to gash the front for 99 yards and the team as a whole to rush for 180.
Speaking of running, Detroit's star back Reggie Bush was bottled up and limited to just 44 yards on 13 carries.
All in all, the overall performance for Detroit is in no way a shock. The Lions could not defeat the Packers last year with a healthy Johnson (who went for over 110 in each game) and have defeated only one team with a winning record so far this season.
Blame Johnson's absence for the coverage sacks and lack of running room, but this is a similar Lions team that only won four games last year and too-heavily relies on one player to cover for a plethora of gaping holes on the roster.
Until Detroit can stop surrendering 25 points per game and find another weapon on offense that does not hinge on Johnson's presence to produce, the Lions will continue to falter against contenders.
There is plenty of season left and Detroit remains in first place, but there are no games on the remaining schedule that can be considered a guarantee. Until the grievous issues on display against Green Bay are resolved, Detroit will struggle to compete consistently with the NFL's best.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling.
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