Aesthetically pleasing? Hardly.
Nevertheless, the Green Bay Packers’ first performance in two weeks produced an end result which was badly needed heading into the second quarter of their schedule: a victory.
Shaking off a lackluster first half, the green and gold, behind a balanced attack on both sides of the ball, upended the Detroit Lions, 22-9, Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field to get their record back to .500 (2-2).
Avoiding the first 1-3 start in the Mike McCarthy era, the Packers, who have now trumped Detroit a mind-boggling 23 consecutive times in the Dairy State, held the Lions, who were without all-world wide receiver Calvin Johnson due to a knee injury, to the their lowest point total since October 2012 while establishing a harmonic balance on offense—the bulk of which, however, was not seen until the second half.
While quarterback Aaron Rodgers accounted for 274 yards through the air and one touchdown, rookie running back Eddie Lacy, in his first action since suffering a concussion against the Redskins on Sept. 15, kept the Detroit defense honest as the former Alabama star churned out a career-best 99 yards on 23 carries.
Complimenting Lacy in the backfield was that of wide receiver Randall Cobb, the Packers’ personal Swiss Army knife. In addition to amassing 35 yards receiving on four catches (headlined by a one-handed grab in the first period), the 5’10”, 191-pound Cobb ran for 72 yards on two carries, including a 68-yard scamper with the Packers at the own 11-yard line midway through the third quarter.
The Lions (3-2), meanwhile, were a shell of themselves on offense without Johnson, who set an NFL record with 1,964 receiving yards this past season.
Entering the weekend averaging 30.5 points per game, Detroit, who is now 65-96-7 all time against the Packers, found the end zone only once (a 13-yard touchdown pass by Matthew Stafford to Kris Durham with 2:06 remaining) while accounting for 286 yards on offense, the first time this season in which Jim Schwartz’s club has not registered at least 330 yards.
Following a first half in which the two squads combined for 251 total yards of offense; eight penalties; and zero touchdowns, the Packers, staking a 6-3 lead behind a pair of Mason Crosby field goals, scored on two of their first three possessions to open the third quarter, punctuated by an 83-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to James Jones, who finished with a team-high 127 receiving yards, with 3:23 to play in the period.
While the Packers offense found a semblance of a rhythm over the game’s final 30 minutes, the Lions, due in large part to a stout Green Bay defense, were unable to do likewise.
Stafford, who threw for 262 yards, was sacked five times while putting forth his second-worst passing performance from an accuracy standpoint (25-of-40) this year for the former Georgia Bulldog.
In turn, Reggie Bush, Detroit’s dynamic change-of-pace running back, was limited to 44 yards rushing (on 13 carries) and 25 yards receiving, after averaging a shade less than 145 yards combined entering the contest against Green Bay.
A trio of Crosby field goals—the maligned kicker is now a perfect 9-for-9 on field goals this season—concluded the scoring on the afternoon for Green Bay as the Packers, coupled with a loss by the Bears to the Saints, pulled to within a half game of first place.
All told, the Packers and the 78,200 green-and-gold clad fans had ample reason to cheer again on Sunday afternoon.
For the good times to continue to keep rolling, though, the Packers will face a difficult test next week as they travel to Baltimore to take on Joe Flacco and the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens.
Kick off for the fifth meeting between the Packers and Ravens is slated for 12:00 p.m CT on Sunday, Oct. 3.