The Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers flashed their immense aerial assault last week against the Minnesota Vikings but boasted their dominant rushing attack in their Week 2 matchup with the Detroit Lions. After being down 14-3 heading into the second quarter, the Packers rattled off 31 unanswered points en route to their 42 to 21 victory over the Lions.
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STORY OF THE GAME
Matthew Stafford and the Lions looked to bounce back after a nail-biting loss against the Chicago Bears in Week 1 but were unable to leave Lambeau Field with a one in their win column, falling to 0-2 on the season. After a hot start with a Kerryon Johnson rushing touchdown on their first drive and a 4-yard touchdown grab by Marvin Jones on the next, Detroit would not find the end zone until the last few minutes of the third quarter.
One major reason for the Lions offensive woes was the Packers pass-rush getting to their quarterback. Stafford was pressured on 27% of his dropbacks, compared to Rodgers being pressured on just 6.9% of his. Even when kept clean, the Detroit signal-caller looked off — he committed two turnover-worthy passes and missed the mark on some easy throws.
The Lions used a running-back-by-committee approach once again, with three of their backs tallying 15 or more snaps. Johnson had 20, garnering eight carries for 32 yards and the aforementioned touchdown. D'Andre Swift recorded 19 snaps, with 13 coming on passing downs, mostly out of the backfield. Adrian Peterson had just 15 snaps but was able to gain 41 yards on just seven attempts.
Despite a handful of drops, penalties and miscues, the Rodgers- and Aaron Jones-led offense scored over 40 points for the second week in a row. Rodgers finished the game with zero turnover-worthy plays while pushing the ball downfield, ending the game with an average depth of target over 10 yards.
Davante Adams left the game due to a hamstring injury in the first half after hauling in all three of his targets for 36 yards. With his star receiver out of the lineup, Rodgers looked to Marquez Valdez-Scantling to fill the lead role. He only caught three of his seven targets, but two went for 15-plus yards. He was the field-stretcher the Packers needed to open up the running game.
With the Lions defense dropping back to defend the pass, Green Bay took advantage and utilized their dynamic backfield. Jones totaled 168 yards on the ground with two touchdowns on 18 carries, also adding another 59 yards and a score through the air. Jamaal Williams was no slouch either, taking his eight carries for 63 yards and picking up three first downs for the offense.
The offensive line played its part, allowing just one QB pressure on 38 reps in pass protection. Although the entire line was impressive in the ground game, Corey Linsey was the best of the bunch, mauling Lions defenders from his center position.
Only three Packers rookies saw action today — second-round running back A.J. Dillon, seventh-round edge defender Jonathan Garvin and undrafted linebacker Krys Barnes. Garvin saw just two snaps while Barnes had 14 and looked decent in his limited playing time.
Much like in Week 1, Dillon only received snaps in the final minutes of the contest, carrying the rock five times for 17 yards. His lack of usage is not due to skill. Rather, there are just not enough touches to go around with both Jones and Williams having success in the same backfield.
On the Lions side of the ball, third overall pick Jeffrey Okudah, second-round running back Swift, third-round guard Jonah Jackson and fifth-round receiver Quintez Cephus all saw more than 15 snaps in the contest.
Okudah made his NFL debut after missing Week 1 due to injury, and the Packers made it a point to test him. He was targeted six times and allowed five receptions for over 50 yards and three first downs. It was a bit rough for the rookie, but he was up against one of the best QBs in the NFL, so he should only improve from here.
Swift didn't do much on the ground, gaining just over 10 yards on five carries, but he reeled in all five of his targets for 60 yards, highlighting his dual-threat ability.
Along the offensive line, Jackson stood out in both pass protection and the run game. Pending review, he did not allow a single QB pressure, giving Stafford as much time as he could in the pocket. He was able to create lanes and holes for his running backs to hit, though the team had to abandon that aspect of their offense early on.
After an impressive outing against the Vikings, Cephus was much quieter today, bringing in three catches for 54 yards, with his longest reception — 36 yards — coming in garbage time with the game out of reach.
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