Detroit Lions vs Green Bay Packers: Good, Bad & Turkey


Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Just when hope was starting to fade, not only for the 2013 season, but the Thanksgiving game in general, the Detroit Lions kicked it up a notch. They lived up to their dominance on the stat sheet with an impressive, 30-point, 40 to 10 stomping (no Thanksgiving game pun intended) against their most bitter of rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

It’s been a long time

Certainly everyone who has followed the Lions knew it has been a long time since Detroit posted a victory on Thanksgiving, a holiday they helped to establish on the sporting landscape nearly 80 years ago. It also provided a snap to a nasty two-game slide, and a five-game skid to Green Bay.

More importantly, the Lions played like the team we always thought they were and could be.

Thanksgiving is always a great holiday, win or lose for the Lions. It seems silly to tie a holiday where people are to give thanks for their blessings to how the local football team does, but for once–for the first time in my children’s lives, we can be a little more happy this Thanksgiving.

And a win against the Green Bay Packers, my most hated team in all of sports, makes it that much sweeter!

Rocky road

Of course, it wasn’t all good on Turkey Day. The Lions inexplicably found themselves down 10-3 midway through the second quarter because of horrible mistakes. Reggie Bush pledged to not fumble again this season, but that was short-lived and short circuited an otherwise impressive opening drive. Matthew Stafford had a bad fumble and interception, but before hope was lost–the defense held Green Bay to a 3-and-out and paved the way for the Lions to score the tying and go-ahead scores to end the first half.

This was a rough time for Lions’ faithful. It is utterly maddening that this team can’t get out of its own way. Fans get upset and call for the coaches to be fired when the team plays sloppy, but you cannot blame coaching for turnovers. That is all on the players.

Ultimately, Bush, Stafford and the rest of the offense atoned, but early on it was ugly and you gotta give the defense credit for not becoming demoralized.

D-Line dominance

Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

For a bunch of “scumbags,” the Lions defensive line certainly showed up. With each defensive series, the legend of Matt Flynn gunning the Lions’ defense for six touchdowns in 2011 became more and more fleeting. The Lions defense, led by a motivated Ndamukong Suh, completely befuddled Flynn. My biggest concern coming into this game was that all Flynn had to do was throw it deep to have success. Credit rookie Darius Slay for calming fears of his past poor performance after being pressed into service with Chris Houston out.

But truth be told, he was rarely needed as those “scumbags” up front cleanly and accurately stopped the Packers at the line of scrimmage.

It was nice to hear postgame analysts finally give Suh his due–and getting headlines for something positive on Thanksgiving.

Bottom Line

  • We here at SideLion Report often tweet back and forth to each other how nice it would be for the Lions to have an easy laugher for once and not have their fate hanging in the balance near the end of the game. How nice was it that this finally arrived? Not only did it come against the Packers, and on Thanksgiving, but also on national television where the Lions have been awful for a decade in their rare appearances.
  • Don’t look now. The Lions, who were 0-6 last year, are now 4-1 in divisional play.
  • Yes, Packers’ fans, we get it. Aaron Rodgers did not play. But Calvin Johnson did not play in Green Bay. So there.
  • I am aware the Lions’ turnover problems continued against a team that doesn’t create many. There was also the kicking problems by David Akers and Sam Martin, I get that, but they were able to rise above that (aside from the jump ball interception in the end zone that was basically a punt on third down and out of field goal range) and win. We hammer them in losses, the least we can do is credit them in 30-point blowout wins on Thanksgiving. Those don’t come around too often.
  • The Lions really needed this win. It was a bad week for the franchise and its fans. A horrible loss started the week out, then there was Josh Sitton calling the team “scumbags,” and finally there was former Lion, Lawrence Jackson calling out Jim Schwartz. Many Lions fans have their differences with the coach, yet this is OUR team and when you take shots at the guys on the field or on the sidelines, you also take a shot at us. The Lions responded perfectly.
  • Happy Thanksgiving (weekend)!