Defense: 2/5 stars
The pitchforks have come out after another disappointing performance by the Lions' defense. There are a few things to sort through. The defense did not have a good game. But the offense (mainly Goff) also put them in terrible spots against the Packers.
The Lions talk a lot about needing to play complimentary football. Thursday's game was the opposite.
The big issues in this game were familiar. The linebackers struggled to cover in space, and the lack of a true No. 1 corner on the outside is becoming more and more of a glaring need. And pressure on the quarterback was basically non-existent.
Defensive player of the game: Brian Branch
Once again Branch was the only bright spot. He’s been the Lions’ best defender for the last three or four weeks. He wasn’t nearly as involved near the line of scrimmage in this game, but on the other hand he was a lot more noticeable in coverage
With a rookie, sometimes things will go against them. Branch had multiple catches allowed when he was right on top of the receiver, including the opening touchdown. Jordan Love was fitting the ball into incredibly tight windows because Branch’s coverage was on-point. Overall, it was another solid day from the rookie standout.
Jahmyr Gibbs had a much quieter day on Thursday. Oddly, the Lions favored David Montgomery early on. At one point in the first half, the rushing attempts were 9-2 in favor of Montgomery. Even as Gibbs got more and more touches, nothing explosive materialized from them.
Following a dud week, Jack Campbell did not do himself any favors against the Packers either. The rookie is clearly on a slower development curve, but preaching patience won’t stand forever.
LaPorta had a nice touchdown catch early in this game, and was more involved than a week ago. He’s still not quite as featured as he was earlier in the season, but he made meaningful contributions on Thursday.
Overall, the rookie with the most hiccups was easily guard Colby Sorsdal. He struggled against Kenny Clark and company on the interior, which contributed to the ridiculous amount of pressure on Goff. It wasn’t a good day for any of the offensive linemen, and Sorsdal certainly was among those who struggled most.
Needs improvement: Turnovers
Anytime a stat pops up on the broadcast saying you have more than one turnover per quarter stretching across five quarters, that’s bad. Any time your quarterback turns the ball over six times in two games, that’s bad. And to make matters worse, the Lions went a whopping 1-for-5 on fourth down.
It’s difficult to figure out exactly why everything with the turnovers has unraveled at once, but it needs to stop. Over the mini-bye week with Thanksgiving, the Lions need a mental reset offensively. And more takeaways defensive, rooted in being in better position to do, would be nice.
Play of the game: Sam LaPorta’s touchdown reception
Not a lot of highlights to choose from in this game. But LaPorta and Goff did connect on a pretty sweet touchdown early on. A perfect pass from Goff, and a nice grab in traffic from LaPorta, to help the Lions cut the lead down to one.
Unfortunately, that was as close as the game would get. But it’s okay, losses happen. What matters most is how the Lions respond to it. Ideally, another solid defensive game like the last two games following a loss. That would be ideal to help the Lions faithful to relax a bit.