NFC North: 2013 Week 13 GB at DET Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Green Bay Packers

November, 28, 2013

DETROIT -- A few thoughts on the Green Bay Packers’ 40-10 loss to the Detroit Lions on Thursday at Ford Field:

What it means: The Packers’ playoff chances are not officially dead, but they might as well be. At 5-6-1, they fell 1½ games behind the NFC North-leading Lions (7-5) with four games remaining. The Chicago Bears (6-5) also stand between the Packers and the top of the division. The Packers fell under the .500 mark for the first time since they were 1-2 after Week 3.

Stock watch: Matt Flynn was not the answer at quarterback. Four days after he helped rally the Packers from a 16-point, fourth-quarter deficit in a 26-26 tie with the Minnesota Vikings in relief of Scott Tolzien, Flynn was as bad as or worse than Tolzien was against the Vikings. Flynn completed just 10 of 20 passes for 139 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception. The offense accounted for just three points. Flynn didn’t get much help from his offensive line. Left tackle David Bakhtiari struggled with rookie defensive end Ziggy Ansah most of the day. Flynn was sacked seven times. However, he did not help himself by holding the ball too long. Going into the Packers’ final series, the Lions had 563 yards to the Packers’ 56. Green Bay got 70 yards on its final drive, which ended with a fumbled snap.

Defensive woes: What does it say about a defense that created four turnovers but still got beat up and down the field? The Packers picked off Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford twice and recovered two fumbles -- one of which safety Morgan Burnett returned for a 1-yard touchdown. The Packers gave up 340 yards of offense in the first half alone and 561 for the game. Their run defense struggled again, allowing 148 yards rushing in the first half and 241 for the game, The Packers came into the game allowing an average of 159.2 yards rushing in their last five games after giving up only 79.0 yards rushing per game in the first six games of the season.

Injury problems: The Packers played more than half the game without starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith, who left late in the second quarter with a knee injury. They also lost backup tight end Ryan Taylor to a possible concussion in the second half.

What’s next: The Packers have a mini bye with the weekend off. They return to action Dec. 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in a game that was originally scheduled for prime time but was moved to a 1 p.m. kickoff.

Rapid Reaction: Detroit Lions

November, 28, 2013

DETROIT -- A few thoughts on the Detroit Lions' 40-10 win against the Green Bay Packers.

What it means: After two losses in which the Lions gave up fourth-quarter leads and a week during which their future seemed tenuous, Detroit played its best, most complete game of the season Thursday against Green Bay. The offense put up 38 points. The defense didn't let Green Bay do anything at all, holding the Packers to 126 total yards and completely pummeling Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn.

It was simply a game the Lions had to have for multiple reasons. First, the win stopped a two-game losing streak. Second, the win essentially eliminated Green Bay from the NFC North race, giving Detroit a two-game lead on the Packers in the win column. It also puts pressure on Chicago on Sunday to keep pace with Detroit. That's huge for the Lions' playoff hopes. Oh, and it is the first Thanksgiving win for the Lions since 2003.

Stock Watch: Rising: Jeremy Ross. The Lions' returner for the second straight game, Ross also saw some offensive action against his old team. He caught a 5-yard touchdown pass in the first half and established himself as Detroit's returner. His best return of the day didn’t even count, as it was called back by a penalty. Darius Slay. In his first start since Week 2, the Lions cornerback did a good job against the Packers. Falling: David Akers. The kicker missed a chip shot at the end of the first half.

Dominant defense: Josh Sitton called Detroit’s defense dirtbags and scumbags on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Lions' defensive line put together their most dominating performance in a long time. The Lions' line had 16 tackles, seven quarterback hits, five sacks, two fumble recoveries and one defining statement that they have the ability to change an entire game.

Rushing attack: Before the season, Detroit had Joique Bell and brought in Reggie Bush. Together, the two time-shared their way to 211 rushing yards and two touchdowns on Thursday. Despite his fumble in the first quarter, Bush had a particularly good day, carrying the ball 20 times for 117 yards. Bell had 19 carries for 94 yards.

What’s next: The Lions enter the final month of the season by heading to Philadelphia next Sunday for a game with the Eagles, followed by two home games.