Despite another failed season in 2018, the Detroit Lions went into Green Bay’s Lambeau Field looking to end their year with some semblance of positivity.
Already, this offseason inevitably seems to be a busy one for Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia. The embattled first-year head coach has had a rough transition from being a hot shot coordinator to being the face of an organization that’s tasked sometimes with answering difficult questions from a pressing media corps.
Expectations were high for Patricia and his team heading into this season but they’ve fallen well short of their lofty goals. Key moves need to be made this offseason but first, the Lions had a Week 17 game to finish against the Green Bay Packers.
Detroit opted to receive the game’s opening kickoff and quarterback Matthew Stafford (clad in short sleeves on a cold December day in Wisconsin!) led his unit onto the hallowed turf of Lambeau Field and promptly had his first pass attempt batted down by the Packers defense. Running back, LeGarrette Blount took his first carry for one yard and on the game’s first third down play, Stafford evaded pressure but his pass to wideout Brandon Powell was dropped as Detroit went three-and-out.
On the second down of Green Bay’s first series, Lion linebacker Jarrad Davis dropped Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the backfield for a sack, pushing the Packers into a tough 3rd & 22 down and distance. Green Bay would punt shortly thereafter as they posted their own three-and-out to open up the game.
A short punt from the Packers gave the Lions favorable field position as they began their second series and Blount gained 2-yards on the initial snap. Next, Brandon Powell gained 18-yards through the air for his quarterback but two plays later, Stafford was very nearly intercepted after a tipped pass.
Pinned just outside of the shadow of his own end zone, Rodgers very nearly got safetied by Detroit linebacker Devon Kennard but he ultimately threw the ball away on third down which led to another Packer punt.
Running back Zach Zenner came in and gained a yard on the first carry of Detroit’s third possession and he gained five more on the next snap. This time on third down, Stafford found receiver Andy Jones to move the chains. Later, Brandon Powell got the Lions into the red zone on a 14-yard pitch and catch and on 3rd & 10, Stafford hit wideout TJ Jones to get it to 1st & Goal. Zenner got it to the Packer 1-yard line with a strong 6-yard run but a Lion holding penalty pushed them back.
After shifty running back Theo Riddick gained a chunk of the penalty yardage back, on 3rd & Goal from the 5-yard line, Stafford hit TJ Jones for the short touchdown pass, 7-0 Detroit.
Detroit’s defense swarmed Rodgers and the Green Bay offense with great tackling and after another three-and-out, Stafford got another opportunity to put more points up on the board.
Stafford kept up his gunslinging tendencies as he began the new series by finding Andy Jones for 9-yards. Zenner came back into the game instead of Blount and converted the first down with a gain of three yards on 2nd & 1. On the next play though, Zenner was hit hard in the backfield for a loss of two yards and that was the last play of the quarter.