Packers mired in ‘awkward’ first half against Lions: How Detroit seized control of NFC North

By Matt Schneidman, Colton Pouncy and KC Joyner

The Detroit Lions used a dominant first half to shut out the Green Bay Packers 34-20 on “Thursday Night Football.” Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Packers (2-2) finished the first half with just 21 total yards and were cheered off the field by their home crowd, while the Lions (3-1) piled up 284 to take an early 27-3 lead. Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur called his team’s first half “humble” and “embarrassing” during a halftime interview.
  • After throwing an interception on Detroit’s opening drive, quarterback Jared Goff finished the game 19-of-28 passing for 210 yards and a touchdown.
  • Lions running back David Montgomery, who was listed as questionable entering the game, had 121 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries. He had 20 receiving yards.
  • Packers QB Jordan Love went 23-of-36 for 246 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions and rushed for a touchdown. Green Bay posted 230 total yards on the day after a poor first half.

AthleticInstant Analysis:

What worked in Detroit

The Lions started the game in the worst way imaginable: an interception on the first series, giving Green Bay a touchdown. The crowd erupted. It’s off to a disastrous start and a movie we’ve seen before. But then, the defense was determined: A field goal — the best answer. Then, it’s the turn of the offense. Lions scored 27 runs. They didn’t move. They took control of a game that we don’t see very often. Despite the Packers’ push, they held on and still won comfortably. A sign that this team could be different. It was something they wanted. They got it. — Bouncy

Everything happens to lions

Detroit is 3-1, in first place in a division, and looking weaker by the day, the city playing an underdog brand of football. It looks like their defense has taken a leap. Their offense is strong. It’s all coming together, as evidenced by the 14-point win at Lambeau. From here, they have a favorable schedule. They will host the 0-3 Carolina Panthers and then travel to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers. You have to think that the Lions will be the favorites in both of those games. Don’t look now, but lions might be real. — Bouncy

What went wrong for Green Bay?

In the first half alone, the Lions had six more points (27) than the Packers total net yards (21). Green Bay averaged a dismal 1 yard per play, while the Lions scored more points in the opening 30 minutes than the Packers did in one half. According to NextGen Stats, every Packers offensive lineman allowed at least one pressure in the first half, but the Lions didn’t blitz until the last play of the half, in which Love was sacked before even landing a Hail Mary attempt.

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After safety Rudy Ford’s opening-drive interception, the offense was only able to convert 3 points, and Green Bay’s defense collapsed. The Packers will go into halftime loudly from their home field. The deficit has already done enough damage to Green Bay’s winning hopes to be too much to overcome in the battle for early NFC North supremacy, which the Lions have clinched. — Schneidman

Packers magic is over

For a moment before Thursday night’s rush, it looked like Love and the Packers could still conjure up Lambeau Field magic. After erasing a 17-0 fourth-quarter deficit in last Sunday’s 18-17 win over the New Orleans Saints, the Packers cut a 27-3 Lions lead to 27-11 early in the second half and forced a three-pointer. And-out on Detroit’s next drive. They even forced the Lions’ next drive, after a largely ineffective defensive display in the first half, creating a Love run designed into the end zone to make it 27-17 with 14:52 left in the fourth quarter.

This time, however, the Packers’ comeback effort proved to be a tease, ultimately falling short, 34-20.

The Lions were still hopeful after leading 30-17 with 8:10 left, but a fumble penalty on inside linebacker Quay Walker’s field goal attempt gave the Lions an automatic first down, and they scored a touchdown with 2:10 off the clock. instead of It was, in essence, a ball game with six minutes left. — Schneidman

What happened to the play at the end of the third quarter?

Terry McCauley, rules analyst for Amazon Broadcasting, said a play by the Packers at the end of the third quarter should have been stopped because the clock hit zero and the quarter should have ended at that point. McAulay later pointed out that the play was not reviewable because end-of-quarter or end-of-game fouls do not fall into the category of reviewable plays.

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It sounds like something the NFL should take note of. Imagine the hue and cry of that team’s fans if a playoff game or the Super Bowl was decided on a game that started after the game. — Joyner

The highlight of the game

Vital statistics

Montgomery became the first Lions player since James Stewart in 2000 to rush for 100 yards and score three touchdowns in a single game.

Required reading

(Photo: Stacey Revere/Getty Images)

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