A few halftime thoughts from NFC North headquarters:
I haven’t seen any overt evidence that Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford is favoring his separated left shoulder, but I know I was cringing during the Lions’ final drive of the half. On the sack by Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson, it looked like Stafford protected his left shoulder by turning his right shoulder toward Woodson. Putting your throwing shoulder in harm’s way is not ideal. The hit Stafford took from Brad Jones and Johnny Jolly on the next play was pretty violent, as was Clay Matthews’ sack. All in all, Stafford got roughed up a lot relative to the Lions holding the ball for only 10:38.
I’m not sure what to make of the televised confrontation between Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and backup quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Actually, it was more of a one-sided lecture from Mayhew, who appeared pretty animated before storming off. FOX’s Pam Oliver reported Culpepper was deeply disappointed not to start the game, but it’s impossible to know the entire circumstance of their conversation. But it’s never a good thing for a player when the general manager is yelling at you before a game.
The Lions’ strong red zone defense -- or, more accurately, the Packers’ weak red zone offense -- is the only thing keeping this game close. Green Bay has rolled to 256 offensive yards and hasn’t punted yet. But they’ve had to settle for three field goal attempts by Mason Crosby, who was wide right on a 43-yarder but converted from 25 and 20 yards. The Packers really should be disappointed not to have at least 20 points.
This is easily the most time Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has had to throw this season. I’ve only seen him get touched once, a near-late hit by linebacker Larry Foote on a blitz. Otherwise, Rodgers has picked the Lions apart and has 204 passing yards at halftime.
The Lions don’t seem to have enough firepower without tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who left with a knee injury during the game’s first series. Their only score came after recovering Jordy Nelson’s fumble on the Packers’ 20-yard line after the opening kickoff. Stranger things have happened, but they’re going to need similar help if they’re going to score more points in the second half.