5 things: Packers endure rough Thanksgiving in Detroit.
NOV 28, 2013 3:29p ET
1. No Aaron Rodgers, no Packers wins
Let's start with the bottom line: Since Aaron Rodgers broke his left collarbone on Nov. 4, Green Bay has a 0-4-1 record. It has become quite obvious that the Packers are a below-average team with an all-world quarterback who covers up many other flaws. If it had been just a couple losses without Rodgers, that'd be too small of a sample size to draw much of a conclusion from. But after losing by 30 points in Detroit to cap off a horrible month of November -- a month in which Green Bay was outscored 147-82 against a group of middle-to-low-tier teams (with three of those games at Lambeau Field), the Packers proved to be helpless with Rodgers sidelined.
There's always going to be a drop-off if a team has to go from its former NFL MVP quarterback to the backup, but it hasn't mattered if it's been Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien or Matt Flynn, Green Bay has had no one to consistently keep the offense moving.
The fact that the Packers' fate rests almost entirely on one player is a significant issue for the next few years of this franchise and will need to be addressed thoroughly this offseason by general manager Ted Thompson and his front-office staff.
2. Total yards allowed vs. Lions: 561
Green Bay's defense gave up 561 yards of offense to Detroit. The Lions had 320 passing yards and 241 rushing yards. Detroit converted 9 of 12 third-down plays, only punted once and had the ball for 40 minutes, 26 seconds. That is complete and utter domination by one team.
Missed tackles piled up at an alarming rate. The play at the line of scrimmage rarely seemed like a fair matchup for the Packers' defensive front. The linebackers didn't make nearly enough plays.
There's little that can be individually analyzed when so many details are off. It was an embarrassing showing by just about every individual involved.
3. Not even four forced turnovers and a defensive touchdown mattered
To further demonstrate just how much better the Lions were than the Packers overall, consider that Green Bay forced four turnovers and scored a defensive touchdown, yet Detroit still won by 30 points.
The Lions marched down the field for 69 yards on the opening drive only to fumble in the red zone. That drive should have ended with at least three points for Detroit. The next drive went 80 yards and resulted in just three points. At the midway point of the second quarter, the Lions' four possessions ended in three turnovers and one field goal. Had it not been for the turnovers, Detroit would have won by even more than 30 points. Also, Lions kicker David Akers missed a short field-goal attempt before halftime that would've added to the eventual blowout.
One of the biggest issues for the Packers' defense all season has been not forcing turnovers. With only four interceptions entering this game, Green Bay was ranked last in the NFL. The Packers' minus-5 turnover differential was fifth-worst in the NFC, a category that often separates winning teams from losing teams.
Clay Matthews had a nice strip of Reggie Bush, Nick Perry did a great job swatting the ball out of Matthew Stafford's hands, and Tramon Williams and Sam Shields both came away with interceptions. But when the defense does little else positive in the other 75 snaps, not even four huge plays like that are enough.
4. One of the worst games by a Packers offense ever
Heading into Green Bay's final drive, the offense had 56 yards. That is fewer yards than what the Lions had on their opening series alone. Even a 56-yard completion to James Jones in the closing minutes was followed -- fittingly -- by a Flynn fumble.
The Packers had six drives in which they lost yards. They were 2-for-10 on third-down conversions and never held the ball for more than 4:03 on any one drive.
Fynn was sacked seven times. He held the ball too long at times, but the offensive line gave him little help as pressure caved in the pocket quickly.
This wasn't just one player's failure. This was an all-around letdown by an entire group.
5. Green Bay's playoff chances now improbable
It was just 24 days earlier that the Packers had a 5-2 record and had a serious shot at being able to come out of the NFC this season and get back to the Super Bowl. Not anymore.
Now at 5-6-1 in the standings, Green Bay is ranked 10th in the NFC and third in the division. Even if the Packers win their four remaining games and finish 9-6-1, they'd need a lot of help along the way to get into the postseason.
Getting a wild-card spot is unlikely with the NFC South and NFC West boasting a combined five teams with better records than Green Bay. The only realistic chance for the Packers now is winning the division, and after this loss to Detroit pushed the Lions to 7-5, and with Green Bay having lost to the 6-5 Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field already, even this scenario has become a far-fetched idea.
The Packers' season fell apart in a span of just 24 days. And it's no surprise that it happened at the same time that Rodgers was injured.
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