From out-of-sync to in-sync, the Green Bay Packers offense looked vintage in their home debut Sunday.
The nerves were a bit frayed by the end, but the Packers ended up defeating the Detroit Lions, 34-27.
Aaron Rodgers completed 15-of-24 passes for 205 yards and four touchdowns. According to Rob Demovsky, Rodgers became the first NFL quarterback to throw four touchdowns in the first-half of a game this season.
Running back Eddie Lacy had a season-high 17 carries for 103 yards and wide receiver Jordy Nelson accounted for six receptions, 101 yards and two touchdowns.
On the other hand, cornerback Damarious Randall had another rough outing and could not contain Marvin Jones (6 receptions, 205 yards & 2 touchdowns).
What is the vibe in TitleTown after the victory?
WDUZ radio host in Green Bay, Marques Eversoll, has all the answers.
To see what the radio host has to say about yesterday’s win, turn the page …
Radio host Marques Eversoll sounds off
Q: The Green Bay Packers’ offense got off to a fast start in the first half in their 34-27 victory against the Detroit Lions. Aaron Rodgers threw for 205 yards and 4 touchdowns all in the first 30 minutes. In your opinion, what did the offense do differently to have such success?
Eversoll: After the game, the quarterback pointed to the receivers winning their individual battles at the line of scrimmage. When the receivers are able to get a good release off the ball, it syncs up the timing with the quarterback, and allows the offense to get into a rhythm.
That was evident to the naked eye. Going back to when Rodgers first took over as the starting quarterback, it seemed like when the offense would struggle, the Packers would get back to the basics and focus on the short, quick-hitting passing game.
Clearly, that was working for the Packers against Detroit. Oh, and the Lions defense is not good at all. And they’re especially “not good” when they’re without Ziggy Ansah and DeAndre Levy.
Q: On the contrary, the offense only accounted for 3 points in the second half. What would you attribute that too?
Eversoll: Sometimes, it’s just “game flow.”
When Rodgers racked up four touchdowns in the first half, everybody had visions of some video game-like stat line in the final box score.
That didn’t happen.
But if you go back and look at the flow of the game, the Packers only touched the ball once in the third quarter.
Detroit scored on the long touchdown before the break, then they went on a seven-minute scoring drive to start the third quarter.
The Packers answered with a Mason Crosby field goal at the end of the quarter after a nine-play, five-minute drive. At that point, it was clear they wanted to ride Eddie Lacy to the win.
They did that.
It’s easy to say they “got conservative,” or “let their foot off the gas,” but in some ways, that’s exactly what they should have done.
There were some boos late in the game when the team kept handing off to Eddie Lacy. I turned to the guy next to me in the press box, and asked, “Why are they booing?”
Q: Eddie Lacy had a season high 17 carries for 103 yards against the Lions. How important is Lacy’s individual success relative to the Packers’ offense as whole?
Eversoll: It’s important. I’m still not a big fan of the current Lacy-James Starks split at running back, and I’d rather see them just ride Lacy as long as he can carry them.
But for a big-play, sometimes explosive offense like the Packers, it’s very important to establish the ground game.
That may sound somewhat counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Prove that you can run the ball, then open up the rest of the playbook.
As the season rolls on, I think you’ll see more games like the one Lacy had on Sunday.
Q: Another impressive performance by the Packers run defense limiting the Lions to only 50 yards on 23 carries. Are you surprised with how well they are playing against the run and what would you attribute that success towards?
Eversoll: The Lions are one of those teams that doesn’t seem interested in running the football. Whenever Jim Bob Cooter calls a run play, I imagine him rolling his eyes, asking himself, “Do I have to?”
Fortunately, when your quarterback can throw to a wide open Marvin Jones seemingly 85 percent of the time he drops back, you don’t need to run the ball.
That being said, even though the Lions aren’t a great running team without their No. 1 back Ameer Abdullah, the Packers run defense continues to impress.
Rookie linebacker Blake Martinez hasn’t made many eye-catching plays yet, but something is to be said about having a rookie as your main communicator on defense, getting everyone lined up, and making sure the run defense is buttoned up.
It’s been great through three weeks.
Q: Cornerback Damarious Randall had an INT against the Lions but struggled again in coverage. Lions WR Marvin Jones amassed for 6 rec, 205 yards and 2 TDs. Why is Randall struggling this much after a solid rookie season?
Eversoll: Can someone explain to me why Matthew Stafford should get charged with an interception on that play?
How is that not a strip (fumble)?
Either way, yeah, Marvin Jones starred as Stefon Diggs on Sunday against Damarious Randall. Now, the long touchdown was against Josh Hawkins, as Randall went to the locker room.
Still, Randall got beat by Jones plenty on Sunday. He’s still a young player, and while his ball skills are good, and he can line up inside or outside, he’s prone to get beat.
We saw it last year against Amari Cooper, and we’ve seen it this season with Diggs and Jones. I like simple solutions, and I like to think that Randall’s struggles can be directly attributed to Sam Shields being out of the lineup.
Shields is the No. 1 corner on this team, and Randall may not be ready to lock down the opponent’s No. 1 guy. This just in.
Q: Several key members of the defensive unit were missing against the Lions, who stepped up and caught your attention in the victory?
Eversoll: It has to start with Nick Perry, right? A couple sacks, and a 15-yard penalty for an “inappropriate gesture,” or whatever the officials called it.
Perry looked like a premier player against Detroit, and that’s become a common theme for the former first-round pick.
Also, once again, Joe Thomas looks good. He laid the wood in the middle of the field, which is just the latest instance in a long line of plays that you notice No. 48 for the Packers.
Also, credit should be given to the big defensive linemen, who don’t necessarily show up in the box score, but when the run defense is as good as it’s been, and you’re without Letroy Guion, Datone Jones and Clay Matthews in the front-seven, it speaks volumes to the guys filling in.
Q: The Packers will be off next week and head into their bye with a 2-1 record. What are some positive and negatives with having a bye this early into the season?
Eversoll: One big positive is the offense in the first half against Detroit.
They made it look really, really easy on their first few scoring drives. It was a hot knife through butter, and the numbers would have been even better, save for a 60-something-yard pass interference penalty on Detroit.
What a pass by Rodgers, by the way.
The run defense continues to be awesome, but the pass defense is porous right now. It might sound crazy, but I’m still confident the secondary will get it together. At some point, you can’t play this shorthanded and expect replacement-level players to fill the shoes of Sam Shields and Morgan Burnett.
When the schedule came out, the Week 4 bye seemed like it’d be way too early. It’s always nice to be able to break the season into halves, ideally with the bye week in between.
But as Mike McCarthy said after the game, “I never thought I’d say this, but for as different of a schedule that we have, (after the third game) is a great time to have a bye. Because we need it.”
Time to get healthy, and get right.