DETROIT—Mike McCarthy used the words wounded and embarrassing to describe his team and a 40-10 loss to the Lions at Ford Field on Thursday, and there are still four games remaining in a season that hasn’t seen the Packers win since Oct. 27.
“It’s clear what’s gone on with our football team. We didn’t even come close to hitting the mark today,” McCarthy said in his postgame press conference, his mood one of tense resignation.
What’s happened to the Packers since they lost their quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, on Nov. 4 was underscored by the final stats in the loss to the Lions. With 4:17 left to play and the outcome long since decided, the Packers had been outgained 563-56. They surrendered yards to the Lions in gulps and rarely were able to do more than sip for themselves.
“We were minus nine in big plays at the halftime. I don’t ever remember that,” McCarthy said. “A very disappointing and embarrassing loss for us. They lined up and dared us to throw the football. We didn’t accomplish that.”
Yet, the Packers trailed by only a touchdown, 17-10, at halftime, thanks to three takeaways by the Packers defense, one of which was a fumble recovery safety Morgan Burnett returned for a touchdown. It could be said the Lions were making all of the game’s big plays, for and against.
Meanwhile, the Packers defense was helpless to stop anything. They were gashed for 241 yards rushing and 330 yards passing in what has become an all-too-familiar tale of futility.
“We can talk about scheme. Scheme is not a crutch. You need to get off the damn block and cut the ball carrier,” McCarthy said, clearly showing irritation with his defense’s failure against the run one week after allowing the Vikings to rush for 237 yards.
“National TV, everything on the line,” McCarthy added, referring to a charged atmosphere for what was the biggest game of the season for both teams. It left the Lions at 7-5 and in control of the NFC North title race, and the Packers at 5-6-1 and clinging to fading playoff hopes.
The Packers’ scheme on offense was to attack the Lions’ 28th-ranked pass defense. That scheme was largely rendered unsuccessful by the Lions’ ferocious pass rush, which sacked quarterback Matt Flynn seven times, the final time for a safety late in the third quarter. It all but sealed the deal at 26-10.
“They felt they had a matchup up front,” McCarthy said in talking about “tilting matchups” to each team’s favor. “We felt we had a favorable matchup on the perimeter but never got to it.”
One week after coming off the bench to rally the Packers to a tie against the Vikings, Flynn completed only 10 of 20 passes for 139 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and a 51.9 passer rating. Running back Eddie Lacy was held to 16 yards on 10 rushing attempts.
Lions running back Reggie Bush gained 117 yards on 20 carries and running mate Joique Bell gained 94 yards on 19 carries, a one-two punch reminiscent of what Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart did to the Packers four days earlier.
Matt Stafford threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns. He was intercepted by Tramon Williams in the first half and by Sam Shields in the second half, as the Packers won the turnover battle but lost the war.
“They got after us and got after us good. We don’t feel very good about ourselves right now. We’re a wounded football team. We got drilled today by a good football team. That’s the fact of the matter,” McCarthy said.
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