Thanksgiving Day Massacre II: Packers get a beatdown in Motown
DETROIT - The Green Bay Packers had their lowest offensive output in seven years, as they got crushed by the Lions in Detroit 40-10 on Thanksgiving.
The Packers only amassed 126 total yards, their lowest since November of 2006 when they were shut out by New England. Detroit scored 37 unanswered points, as the Lions won their first annual Thanksgiving game since 2003. They took sole possession of first in the NFC North Division at 7-5, a half-game ahead of Chicago and a game-and-a-half ahead of Green Bay which is now 5-6-1. The Bears play at Minnesota on Sunday. Packers quarterback Matt Flynn was sacked seven times -- once in the end zone by Ndamukong Suh for a safety. Flynn threw for 139 yards with an interception and two lost fumbles. All aspects of the Packers' game suffered with Aaron Rodgers still out with his broken collarbone. Coach Mike McCarthy said it was a case of a "wounded team that got drilled by a good football team." Green Bay is now 0-4-1 without Rodgers. The Packers' only touchdown came on defense, when Morgan Burnett recovered a fumble deep in Detroit territory and ran it in for a yard. Green Bay had four takeaways -- two fumble recoveries and two interceptions -- and Lions' coach Jim Schwartz said the shellacking could have been worse had it not been for the Pack's plus-one turnover differential. As it was, Green Bay could not stop the Lions from amassing 561 total yards, including Matthew Stafford's 330 passing yards with three scores.
Calvin Johnson had six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, and he broke Jerry Rice's NFL record for receiving yards in a three-year stretch with 4,944. Reggie Bush had 182 rushing-and-receiving yards plus a score for the Lions. The Packers had only 43 yards in the first half, their fewest since November of 2000 against Minnesota. And the Pack didn't reach the 100-yard mark until just over a minute left, when Flynn hit Jordy Nelson for 56 yards. Eddie Lacy ran for just 16 yards on 10 carries. Packers' center Evan Dietrich-Smith left with a knee injury, and tight end suffered a concussion on a hit to the helmet by Lions' linebacker and ex-Badger DeAndre Levy. The Packers' next game is December 8th at home against Atlanta.
Tensions boiled over after yesterday's Packer loss at Detroit. Yahoo Sports said the Lions' Nick Fairley stared at Green Bay players as the two teams walked into the same tunnel toward their respective locker rooms. A teammate nudged Fairley away -- and a few moments later, Packers and Lions players traded expletives. The Lions said it all started with Packer guard Josh Sitton's radio comments on Tuesday in which he called the Lions' defenders "scumbags" as they were out to get quarterbacks -- and he blamed Lions' coach Jim Schwartz for that. Lions defensive tackle C.J. Mosley said some of his teammates took it personally. He also said some of the Packers appeared to give a quote, "cry for help" from the officials to call more penalties against Detroit -- and he said it would have never happened had Aaron Rodgers played. Mosley said he didn't hear the ruckus in the tunnel because he was in a verbal altercation with a Green Bay player whom he didn't name. Sitton said he would not take back his controversial remarks-- and he called yesterday's loss quote, "one of the worst beatdowns I have ever been a part of." In Sitton's words, "It's embarrassing."
Just before the end of yesterday's loss at Detroit, Green Bay Packers' radio announcer Wayne Larrivee asked if Aaron Rodgers plays defense. He doesn't, of course. But Larrivee was referring to the defensive struggles that have bubbled to the surface ever since the Packers' star quarterback went out with a broken collarbone almost a month ago. Those problems were magnified in yesterday's 40-10 Green Bay loss to the Lions which may have knocked the Packers out of playoff contention. The Packer defense forced four turnovers -- but as the radio announcers pointed out, the Green Bay "D" was still manhandled throughout the game. And the returns of injured starters Johnny Jolly, Sam Shields, and Nick Perry didn't help. The Lions held the ball over two-thirds of the game, while racking up 561 total yards. Afterward, both players and coaches in the Green Bay locker room cited a litany of blown assignments and missed tackles. Second-year defensive end Mike Daniels said the defense needs to get tougher -- and he said the message was sent by Lions' linebacker DeAndre Levy. The former Wisconsin Badger placed a helmet-to-helmet hit on tight end Ryan Taylor. The Lions converted 9-of-12 third downs and burned the Packer defense for eight plays of 20-yards-or-more. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers will most likely get more of the blame, but linebacker A-J Hawk said quote, "It's not his fault we're letting (opponents) run down our throat."
Former Packers' receiver Jeremy Ross had a big day for Detroit on Thanksgiving -- but he refused to gloat about it afterward. Ross had 145 all-purpose yards that included four punt returns, three kickoff returns, a 24-yard run on third down, and a five-yard touchdown catch. Ross would have also had a big 60-yard punt return, but a holding penalty nullified it. Packers' coach Mike McCarthy sought out Ross after the game, and gave him a hug. Afterward, he expressed no ill-will against the Packers. Ross said he was most upset about losing relationships with his ex-teammates -- and instead of being vindictive, he looked for ways to bounce back and prevent being cut again. The Packers released Ross in September after he fumbled a kickoff return at Cincinnati, after dropping a punt return in last year's playoff loss at San Francisco.