In a stunning turn of events, the Detroit Lions handed Green Bay Packers’ quarterback, Jordan Love, a resounding defeat in his first prime-time start on Thursday night. This decisive 34-20 victory for the visiting Lions comes just 263 days after the Lions put an end to Aaron Rodgers’ era in Green Bay.
The Lions wasted no time making their presence felt, quickly bouncing back from an early field goal by the Packers. They went on to dominate the first half, heading into halftime with an impressive 27-3 lead. Jordan Love, who had led a comeback win against the Saints just four days prior in Week 3, managed to narrow the deficit to 10 points with consecutive scoring drives at the start of the second half. However, the Lions responded with a game-sealing scoring drive, securing their place at the top of the NFC North with a 3-1 record and marking their fourth consecutive win over the Packers, who now stand at 2-2.
The Lions saw a strong performance from their quarterback, Jared Goff, who shrugged off an early interception to throw a touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown in the first quarter. Running back David Montgomery was the driving force on the ground, amassing over 121 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries. The Lions’ defense was spearheaded by defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who contributed 1.5 sacks.
For the Packers, it was a night to forget. Their halftime deficit was one of the worst in Lambeau Field history and the largest since 2006. In the first half, Green Bay was outgained by a staggering 284-20 and had 12 fewer first downs compared to Detroit. Jordan Love struggled, throwing two interceptions and enduring five sacks.
So, why did the Lions win? They dominated the first half and effectively prevented the Packers from mounting a comeback in the second half. Their success was built on a potent pass rush, a robust running game, and key third-down completions from Goff, who boasts an impressive 11-3 record in his last 14 starts. The Lions also put the game to bed with a 14-play, 75-yard drive that consumed nearly nine minutes of game time and ended with Montgomery’s third touchdown run.
Conversely, the Packers’ loss can be attributed to a lack of cohesion. Their offensive line, already without key starters David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, gave up four sacks in the first half, putting Love in difficult situations. The running game provided minimal support, gaining just 27 yards on 12 carries, while the Packers’ defense allowed the Lions to gain 211 rushing yards on 43 attempts. Green Bay’s defense struggled to stop critical third downs, leading to several big gains for the Lions and ultimately points on the board.
A pivotal moment in the game occurred when the Packers, trailing 27-17, appeared to have forced the Lions to settle for a field goal. However, a penalty on Packers linebacker Quay Walker during the field goal attempt gave the Lions a first down. This costly mistake led to Montgomery’s third touchdown run, sealing the game for the Lions. Walker, despite his impressive 19 tackles, couldn’t overshadow this critical error.
The play of the game was undoubtedly wide receiver Kalif Raymond’s 40-yard run, emblematic of the Lions’ first-half dominance. It included a crucial block from Goff, who seems to have found new life in Detroit.
In postgame interviews, Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, a Michigan native, expressed his satisfaction at being on the winning side and the absence of Aaron Rodgers from the division. Meanwhile, Packers coach Matt LaFleur described the first-half performance as “very humbling and embarrassing.”
Looking ahead, the Packers will have some time to regroup as they don’t play again until October 9 when they face the Raiders in Las Vegas on Monday night. This will be their last game before their bye week. On the other hand, the Lions will return to action next Sunday against the Panthers, marking their only home game in a four-week stretch that included their Thursday night showdown against Green Bay.