GREEN BAY – The Packers didn’t get much pressure on Lions QB Matthew Stafford on Monday night, sacking him just once in 34 drop-backs.
But it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
Green Bay sent a number of different blitzes at Detroit, but the Lions put on a clinic in pass protection, picking them up from every angle. And when the Packers did have someone break free to get to the quarterback, Stafford knew right where he was going with the ball and got it out.
Below are a handful of those plays on which the Lions beat the Packers’ pressure packages, followed by Green Bay’s impressive three-play, goal-line stand at the start of the fourth quarter, which included several key contributors.
Play No. 1: Second-and-5 from the Green Bay 25, first quarter, 1:50 left
Result: 25-yard TD pass to WR Marvin Jones Jr.
Packers S Morgan Burnett (42) is the blitzer, coming from the high slot, and even though he bowls over RB Ameer Abdullah (21), the interference is enough to allow Stafford to fire downfield. LB Chris Odom (98) also goes flying past a stumbling LT Brian Mihalik (72), but he’s too late.
Play No. 2: Third-and-10 from the Detroit 29, second quarter, 13:28 left
Result: 16-yard completion to Jones
Another five-man pressure, this time with LB Clay Matthews (52) starting on the edge but stemming to the inside looking to get in Stafford’s face. But RB Theo Riddick (25) steps right into the hole to pick him up, buying Stafford a few extra seconds to shuffle to his right and get away from the only rusher who has broken free, DT Mike Daniels (76).
Play No. 3: Third-and-3 from the Green Bay 39, second quarter, 5:10 left
Result: 15-yard completion to WR Golden Tate
This time it’s a six-man pressure, with CB Damarious Randall (23) coming from the low slot and S Josh Jones (27) attacking from deep. In the backfield, Abdullah has to decide whom to block, and he makes the right choice by taking Randall, who has a quicker path to Stafford. Jones is scot free, but it doesn’t matter, because he’s too late and the ball is on its way to Tate.
Play No. 4: Third-and-7 from the Green Bay 44, third quarter, 6:04 left
Result: 17-yard completion to WR TJ Jones
Again, two defensive backs come from opposite sides, with Matthews dropping into coverage. Randall comes from the slot on Stafford’s right, and RB Dwayne Washington (36) is right there, while Burnett gets picked up by Mihalik and comes up limping with an injured groin that forced him to leave the game. Stafford’s pocket is clean for another third-down conversion.
Now, for the goal-line stand, which are always intriguing to study on film.
Play No. 5: First-and-goal from the Green Bay 1, fourth quarter, 15:00 left
Result: No gain for Abdullah
As usual with these goal-line plays, there’s a lot to watch. Rookie LB Vince Biegel (45) gets a free run into the backfield as no one picks him up, LB Blake Martinez (50) deftly dodges a diving block attempt by Mihalik, and LB Jake Ryan (47) wins a violent collision with TE Eric Ebron (45) to help clog things up. Biegel is the first to contact Abdullah, and Martinez’s follow-up hit actually knocks the ball loose. Ryan nearly recovers, but Lions RT Rick Wagner (71) ends up pouncing on it.
Play No. 6: Second-and-goal from the Green Bay 1, fourth quarter, 14:16 left
Result: No gain for Riddick
Again it’s Biegel getting in on the action, as he sheds the block of TE Darren Fells (87) at the point of attack and recovers to stay in the play. Ryan cuts inside the block of WR Jared Abbrederis (10), while CB Kevin King (20) is free to step up and chop Riddick down just short of the goal line.
Play No. 7: Third-and-goal from the Green Bay 1, fourth quarter, 13:31 left
Result: No gain for Stafford
With both running backs thwarted, Stafford tries the QB sneak, but to no avail. DT Kenny Clark (97) powers into a double team, DT Mike Daniels (76) wedges himself between Wagner and RG T.J. Lang (76), and Martinez slips between Lang and C Travis Swanson (64), giving Stafford nowhere to go.