Tom Oates: Grading Packers’ performance in 31-23 loss to Lions
Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Green Bay Packers’ performance in their 31-23 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Ford Field.
Green Bay had 521 yards but scored just three touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers’ two lost fumbles led to 10 Lions points. He now has four for the year, so it’s a growing problem. In the first half, Rodgers had few open receivers. Other times he was off-target. He was much better in the second half, but it was too late.
If not for the defense limiting Detroit to 264 yards, it would have been a blowout. Still, the defense faced three short fields after turnovers and yielded 17 points. Blake Martinez had two sacks but Matthew Stafford had plenty of time. Kevin King has had better days, then he left after taking a shot to the chin.
Special teams: F
Mason Crosby inexplicably missed four field goals and an extra point. It looked like Tramon Williams could have made a fair catch on the first punt. Still, King can’t let the ball touch him. He can’t run into the kicker, either. Josh Jones’ holding penalty erased a 65-yard kickoff return by Ty Montgomery.
The Packers weren’t ready to play in the first half, which falls on Mike McCarthy. The special teams weren’t ready to play at all, which falls on Ron Zook. Aaron Jones had only seven carries, all in the first half. Even if the Packers are behind and have to throw every down, they must find a way to involve Jones.
The Packers never punted and nearly doubled the Lions’ yardage total yet had to battle from behind all day. Mistakes big and small, from Rodgers all the way down to the 53rd man, are killing Green Bay. Three turnovers, 12 penalties and a special teams meltdown speak to a sloppy, poorly prepared team.