The Lions beat the Packers on TNF, taking early control of the NFC North

Rob Demowski and Eric WoodyardSeptember 28, 2023 at 11:29 PM ET5 minutes to read

Amon-Ra St. Brown does a Lambo jump after scoring a TD

Jared Goff floats one to Amon-Ra St. Brown wide open for a 24-yard touchdown.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Thursday night’s NFC North showdown between The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field saw the Lions jump out to a quick lead and hardly look back. Detroit led by 11 points in the first quarter, then extended it to 24 points by halftime.

After the Packers scored the first two goals of the second half to tie the game at 10 points, the Lions eventually pulled away for a 34-20 win.

At 3-1, the Lions lead the NFC North, ahead of the 2-2 Packers, 0-3 Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears.

Penny Siu-USA Today Sports

Detroit Lions

There’s a new sheriff in town. After another big win over the Packers at Lambeau Field, the 3-1 Lions are poised to secure their first NFC North title. Building a 24-point halftime lead helped the Lions extend their division winning streak to six — and four in a row over Green Bay. Detroit tied the franchise’s longest winning streak in the division in the Super Bowl era (1983, 1995) with coach Dan Campbell turning the tide.

Describe the game in two words: Examination of the gastrointestinal tract. Both the offense and defense held up their end of the deal during a dominant first half, but Detroit’s offense was shut down in the third quarter, as the Packers got within 10 to start the quarter, before eventually sealing the deal with a strong finish in a hostile environment.

Running back David Montgomery has at least one rushing touchdown in his first three games as a Lion. Despite missing Week 3 with a hip injury, the former Bears running back picked up where he left off with two rushing touchdowns before halftime. He seamlessly filled the role of former Lions running back Jamaal Williams, now in New Orleans, who was able to break Hall of Famer Barry Sanders’ team mark for most rushing touchdowns in a single season with 17 in 2022. Entering the game, Montgomery had two of rushing TDs in seven career games against the Packers.

QB Breakdown: What started with an ugly drive — Goff was intercepted by Packers safety Rudy Ford in the first two minutes — he quickly turned around with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Louis. Brown on the next drive. Goff picked Green Bay apart at times, finishing with 210 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT while completing 19 of 28 attempts. Goff is now 5-1 against the Packers in his career.

Next match: vs. Carolina Panthers (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, October 8)

Penny Siu-USA Today Sports

Green Bay Packers

Maybe the Packers aren’t really the kings of the NFC North anymore. Not if they keep losing to the Lions.

It wasn’t just that the Packers lost their fourth straight game in the series against the lowly Lions. They were laughed out of Lambeau Field in the first half. While they showed some fight after the break, this was an ugly loss.

Any number of stats could explain how bad of a start the Packers have had, but here’s one: Their 21 first-half rushing yards were the fewest by any NFL team in the first half of a game this season, even worse than the Jets. 39 yards in Week 1. That was the fewest yardage the Packers had in any half since Dec. 12, 1982, when they had 19 in the first half of a 30-10 loss to the Lions.

It’s a good thing the Packers pulled off a comeback in the fourth quarter five days ago against the New Orleans Saints, otherwise they’d be in a 1-3 hole. As it stands, they are 2-2 and two games behind the Lions (3-1) in the division.

The biggest hole in the game plan: There was certainly more than one of these, but if we had to pick one: The Packers had Aaron Jones, their most dynamic offensive player, for the first time since his 127-yard performance in the season opener, and yet they didn’t get the ball. Until about two minutes into the second quarter. To that point, the Packers had one total yard of offense on their first four possessions. They were already trailing 24-3 when Jones touched the ball for the first time. Meanwhile, Jordan Love started the game going 1-for-7 passing with an interception.

QB breakdown: Loew has done his best in the past two weeks when he plays from the back. Five days after leading an 18-point fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Saints, he showed a similar fight against the Lions. Wide receiver Christian Watson was involved in the first drive of the second half, hitting wide receiver Jayden Reed on a deep ball and running for a touchdown. His numbers ended up being halfway decent (23-for-36, 246 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs plus a rushing TD), but it ended up being an empty space.
Promising trend: Watson’s return bodes well for the offense. His first catch of the season after missing the first three games with a hamstring injury, he went 24 yards on a deep cross. He finished the drive with a wide-open 1-yard touchdown catch. Next match: at Las Vegas Raiders (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday, Oct. 9)

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