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Sunday, October 6, 2013
Lions offensive line struggles with Packers

By Michael Rothstein

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Detroit’s offensive line had been formidable this season, had blocked well for the run and the pass and had kept the Lions’ quarterback, Matthew Stafford, pretty clean.

Until Sunday, when Stafford was sacked more times in one game than he had been in the previous four combined.

Green Bay sacked Stafford five times Sunday. He had been sacked three times over the first four games of the season.

Detroit's Matthew Stafford
Clay Matthews collects one of five Green Bay sacks on Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.
“That is a good defensive front,” Stafford said. “They have guys, they drafted a lot of first-round guys, a lot of second-round guys up there to rush the passer. That’s their job. They were doing a good job in the back end so I had to hold the ball a little bit.

“I thought our offensive line played good, fought their (butt) off up front. But that’s a big defensive front up the middle. We struggled running the ball today.”

Part of the issue for the Detroit offensive line was perhaps a change in defensive coverage from Green Bay, which played with a safety down to go against the run more than any other team that faced the Lions this year.

Prior to Sunday, Stafford had not been sacked on more than 2.7 percent of his dropbacks in any game this season. On Sunday, he was sacked 11.1 percent of the time he dropped back.

“It’s disappointing,” center Dominic Raiola said. “We need to go back to work and fix it. It’s nobody’s fault. I mean, a sack is on everybody so we need to fix it up front.”

Four of Green Bay’s five sacks came from linebackers -- with Nick Perry getting two, Brad Jones getting one and Clay Matthews picking up one. On Matthews’ sack, he had a clean shot at Stafford untouched through the line.

With the way the Packers rushed, guard Rob Sims said every lineman had one-on-one assignments instead of potentially trying to double a rusher or work toward a side. Against the Packers, the Lions had no choice but to go single on every assignment and block as best they could.

“It was a tough game for all of us up there,” Sims said. “Any time you’ve got five one-on-ones, especially in the end when they know you’ve got to pass and they are coming after you, it’s just hard.

“Hard to do play-in, play-out.”