Nov 15, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiverGolden Tate
(15) rushes with the football as Green Bay Packers cornerbackDamarious Randall
(23) chases from behind during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Detroit won 18-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
After a run of three games giving up a ton of yardage, the defense managed to play a lot better on the whole.
Some of that obviously goes to the fact that the Lions have mostly been a mess in 2015, but it isn’t as if they have nothing to offer on the offensive end. Calvin Johnson is still a monstrous talent, Golden Tate is a great #2 option, Lance Moore is a nice slot guy, the tight ends have some skill and Matthew Stafford can sling it (albeit not consistently efficiently).
For most of the game, the defense was on point. Before the final drive they held the Lions to only 12 points, giving up only 207 yards in the process.
Nov 15, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall (23) recovers an onside kick as the ball bounces off the hands of Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
On the day, they held Detroit to 45 rushing yards, held down the passing game for most of the afternoon, and forced an interception after one of the few long drives made by the Lions’ offense. The one touchdown they did give up before the final drive happened after a massive kick return to open the second half; that type of situation is obviously difficult for any defense to be placed in.
But then, the final drive happened.
Despite all the good accomplished prior to this final drive, it was undone in under 4 minutes. There were 9 plays; they went for 80 yards and the touchdown.
There were two 3rd down chances forced, but the defense was unable to stop Detroit on either of them. The second of those was most egregious, seeing Golden Tate take a short pass through multiple flailing tackles attempts to put the Lions right by the end-zone for an eventual score. If it wasn’t for a second missed extra point by Matt Prater, that would have ended Green Bay’s hopes on its own.
The defense should not be scapegoated for the loss at all here; they played well almost all game and had to be tired from putting in a ton of time with little rest while the offense failed to really do anything until their final three drives.
Still, it needs to be acknowledged that they didn’t finish the game the way the team needed them to, and it definitely lessened the already slim chances that were afforded the team by that point.
Next: Special Teams Gaffes