GREEN BAY—Twenty-four hours later, the evaluation of the Packers’ 19-7 loss in Detroit remained the same: The Packers failed in their attempt to run the football.
That was the opinion of Head Coach Mike McCarthy immediately following Sunday’s game, and Offensive Coordinator Tom Clements echoed those sentiments on Monday.
“In the running game, we missed some holes and we need to finish (blocks) better, and we can’t start the way we started,” Clements said, referring to a 40-yard return for a touchdown of an Eddie Lacy fumble on just the Packers’ second play from scrimmage.
“We kind of anticipated what they would do,” Clements added of a Lions defense that schemed to protect an injured secondary by inviting the run. The Lions rushed four and dropped seven into coverage on most passing downs, and consistently stopped the run with six in the box.
“They had been playing more one-high (safety), but they were injured in the secondary and were on their fourth nickel (defensive back),” Clements said. “We wanted to run the ball, especially on the turf, and slow down their front.
“They didn’t blitz much. A couple of times they had a five-man rush. We wanted to try to run the ball,” Clements added, emphasizing the Packers’ intent.
What exactly did quarterback Aaron Rodgers mean when he said in his postgame press conference the Packers didn’t make enough adjustments?
“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask him,” Clements said.
“We didn’t play as well as we needed to play. We had six drops, by our count; 16 of 27 with six drops.”
On the play that resulted in Lacy being tackled by linebacker DeAndre Levy for a safety, Clements said, “We had a man assigned to him and just didn’t get the block.” Levy was able to run free to Lacy.
Meanwhile, Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers would’ve had reason to celebrate the play of his unit, if it hadn’t occurred in a losing effort.
“I thought we were able to disrupt (quarterback Matt Stafford’s) rhythm. I like the pressure we got out of a four-man rush. Both interceptions, we were in four-man rushes,” Capers said.
“Our red-zone play was the best it’s been all year. There were a lot of positives.”
The negatives were two late-game drives by the Lions. One resulted in a game-clinching touchdown, and the other killed the final 6:54 from the clock. It’s also important to note the Packers defense had been on the field for 38:13 and 74 plays, was likely worn out and was playing without Clay Matthews in the fourth quarter.
ADDITIONAL COVERAGE - SEPT. 22