GREEN BAY – Davante Adams saw improvement in the form of Randall Cobb, screaming across the middle of the field on a 46-yard completion near the start of the fourth quarter.
It was one moment during an otherwise frustrating 30-17 loss for the Packers Monday night against the Detroit Lions, but the play also served as a reminder of what this offense is capable of with or without Aaron Rodgers.
“There were some plays made out there,” said Adams, who led Green Bay with seven catches for 53 yards. “Cobb did a great job on that (46-yarder). Those are the type of plays that we make all of the time and we can make all of the time. So we’ve just got to figure out what it is to make sure that we continue to make them.”
The signs of progress were there for the Packers’ offense, with backup quarterback Brett Hundley more than tripling his output from his debut two weeks ago against New Orleans, completing 26-of-38 passes for 245 yards and a 1-yard touchdown run with a little less than 10 minutes remaining.
That sneak completed the seven-play, 78-yard serving drive Hundley started with his throw to Cobb on a quick slant. As the Packers try to find their footing without Rodgers, those are the kind of plays they’re looking for.
While the Packers weren’t able to establish the run early like they did against the Saints on Oct. 22, they did march down the field on the opening drive before having Mason Crosby’s 38-yard field-goal attempt blocked.
Struggling to get back into rhythm, the Packers turned more to the no-huddle as the game progressed, which seemed to help Hundley get more comfortable.
“I think we did some good things. We just didn’t do enough of them,” Jordy Nelson said. “Another really good first drive. Then for whatever reason, we don’t do much after that. So we need to look at that and see what the difference is. Then, I think when we got in the no-huddle, the two-minute at the end of the first half was great.”
Nelson, Adams and Cobb combined for 16 catches for 146 yards, a spike from their five receptions against the Saints two weeks ago.
Still, Green Bay’s offense was only 2-for-9 on third downs and 0-for-2 on fourth, a reflection of its struggles to get the downfield passing game going early.
“We’re a better team than what we’re putting on film,” Adams said. “Regardless if 12 is in there or not, we’ve still got a lot of players in this locker room that have got enough talent in here to where we should be winning these type of games.”
After growing up idolizing Clay Matthews, Packers rookie linebacker Vince Biegel had the opportunity to line up on the opposite side of the line from the six-time Pro Bowler in his NFL debut Monday night. Home debut:
Biegel, activated off the physically unable to perform list this past week, had around 17 close friends and family in attendance for his first game with the Packers.
“I was actually pretty calm tonight,” said Biegel, who had two tackles. “A lot of emotions flying around, I’ve got a lot of family in town, definitely a great atmosphere here in Lambeau on Monday night, but I was pretty calm tonight. I was very focused. I had a great week of preparation. I was rock solid on all of my alignments and on my assignments. So I felt good rolling in there, and just being able to kind of let loose and play ball was awesome.”
Crosby and the Packers’ field-goal unit prepare for every situation, including the rare instances when they’re summoned for a last-second attempt with no timeouts. Quick kick:
After Adams caught an 8-yard pass with around 15 seconds remaining in the first half, Crosby and the specialists had to do a dead sprint onto the field to try a 35-yard field goal before halftime.
Crosby, working with a new long snapper in Derek Hart, drilled the kick as time expired in the first half for Green Bay’s first points of the game.
“It’s tough because there are a lot of moving parts,” Crosby said. “There are a lot of guys changing out and coming on the field. You’re kind of almost guessing to try to see where the spot is and guys did a great job of executing.”
The field goal helped offset a 38-yard attempt that was blocked on the Packers’ opening series after the timing of the operation was off from a low snap.
“We’ll look at it and see exactly what happened,” Crosby said. “Definitely had to reset. I didn’t even see what happened.”
No flag: Nelson and practically everyone on the Packers’ sideline were looking for a flag when contact was made between Green Bay’s veteran receiver and Detroit cornerback Darius Slay on a deep ball with a little less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
However, there was no flag to be found. Facing fourth-and-10, the Packers punted the ball back to Detroit, which then put together a 12-play, 63-yard drive culminating in a 19-yard Matt Prater field goal to extend the Lions’ lead to 20-3.
“(The referee) said something to (Green Bay receivers coach) Luke (Getsy) afterward. He said if he was going to call something, he was going to call it on me,” said Nelson. “I don’t know. He said I caused the contact, so I guess it’s on me. Yeah.”
Injury update: With Lane Taylor’s return from an ankle injury Monday night, the Packers had their preferred five starting offensive linemen available for only the second time this season.
However, they weren’t able to finish that way with right tackle Bryan Bulaga exiting due to a knee injury with 11:26 remaining in the fourth quarter. Head Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters afterward team doctors “seem very concerned” about Bulaga’s knee injury.
Bulaga was immediately declared out for the game with Justin McCray finishing the game at right tackle. McCray also injured an ankle, though, on the final drive.
“Of course you want all five of your guys out there, but injuries happen,” left tackle David Bakhtiari said. “You don’t plan for them, but we’ve got a job to do at the end of the day and just hoping Bryan’s going to be all right.”
Complete game coverage: