Why they lost: Green Bay Packers fall to Lions at Lambeau

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Nov 15, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver

James Jones

(89) and Detroit Lions cornerback

Darius Slay

(23) reach for the ball during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Detroit won 18-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Dead on Arrival

There’s no getting around it: right now this offense is playing pretty putridly.

The blame has to go everywhere for this.

The playcalling has been subpar. The quarterback hasn’t been his best. The run game continues to falter no matter who is in the backfield. The receivers and tight ends can’t get open, and if they do somehow manage to they don’t break tackles. The linemen have been inconsistent at best with blocking in both aspects.

Each of these aspects has shown up at times across the season, but most strongly the past three weeks. This game should hammer the point home more than the previous two; Denver (#1 in Defensive DVOA*) and Carolina (#2 in Defensive DVOA) field defenses that have been great all year, while Detroit has been one of the worst units in the league (#31 in Defensive DVOA).

More from Lombardi Ave

With the team playing awful on offense no matter the level of competition, it becomes clearer that this is less of a case of the defenses playing great and moreso an issue of the offense playing terrible.

To give an example of how bad things were out there, just look at the Yards Per Play (YPP) statistic.

On the day, Green Bay managed a measly 4.48 YPP on 83 plays across 13 drives; if you don’t include the last three few drives (when they finally moved the ball in the late comeback charge), they were down to 3.55 YPP on 58 plays across 10 drives.

For some context on those numbers, consider these numbers:

  • 4.5 YPP (2014 low season average for a team)
  • 4.8 YPP (2015 low season average for a team)
  • 5.7 YPP (Green Bay’s 2015 season average before Sunday; 11th league-wide)
  • 6.1 YPP (Green Bay’s 2014 season average; tied-1st league-wide)

Nov 15, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis (84) rushes with the football as Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin (27) defends during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Detroit won 18-16. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

So what we have here is a blatantly lackluster performance against a previously futile defense, a performance that would undoubtedly be the worst offense in the league if prorated across an entire season by over a yard per play, as well as over two yards per play worse than the team’s season average and nearly half of the team’s per-play performance last season.

To put it simply, this offense is a pile of hot garbage, and I’m utterly shocked beyond belief by it.

One of those areas that may be most at fault for these struggles is…

*DVOA measures a team’s efficiency by comparing success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent.

Next: 3rd Down Struggles