As heavy favorites and with the Green Bay Packers down several key players, it looked like the Detroit Lions would end their Thanksgiving losing streak on Thursday. But the Packers came out aggressive from the start, with a 53-yard pass from Jordan Love to Christian Watson on the first play.
The Lions could not protect Jared Goff, as he was sacked three times. Goff also fumbled three times (all lost), giving him six turnovers over the last two games. The defense couldn't get much done, and had some real lapses, in a 29-22 loss.
The Lions were able to survive a rough performance from Goff for most of Week 11 against the Chicago Bears, who didn't seem interested in actually winning the game by having some of their best defensive players off the field for the final drive.
The Packers, an inferior divisional opponent but not as inferior as the Bears even as banged up as they were, were not as accommodating on Thursday, The Lions could not dig out of a first half hole, and by the end of the game didn't appear too interested in doing so with timeouts left on the table.
Detroit Lions can't pull off second straight rally against divisional opponent
If last week's game against the Bears was proof of Goff's mettle and ability to leave an otherwise bad day behind to lead a comeback, as some Lions' fans would tell you, then Thursday's game has to be a harsher referendum on him. He's allowed to have a bad day, and back-to-back bad days for that matter, and the pass protection did him no favors.
Box score surfers, or Goff's fantasy owners who started him and don't get greatly penalized for fumbles, will see 29-for-44 for 322 yards and two touchdowns and see a day that looks fine. Not great, but fine. A 103.6 passer rating for the game even looks pretty good.
NFL analyst Jon Ledyard hit the right notes about the Lions' offensive performance and Goff on Thursday.
The Lions have now lost seven straight games on Thanksgiving Day. An 8-3 record and the division lead heading into December is something everyone would have taken heading into the season. The recent issues that will prove costly in the playoffs are widespread, and playing three games in 11 days did not create much leeway to fix things.
But now the Lions have a mini-bye week to do some self-evaluation and find some answers. And the answers have to be found, or it will be a short playoff run.