There weren’t any grand celebrations inside Lambeau Field after the Green Bay Packers’ 28-26 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Coach Mike McCarthy had to remind his somber team in the locker room that it had still won the game.
That didn’t change the ho-hum atmosphere.
Nick Barnett broke out an analogy to describe the anything-but-sound victory.
“(It’s) like a blind date — she’s not pretty but the personality was fine,” the middle linebacker said. “Like any ugly dates with great personalities, it was fine, took her out, had some food, but you dumped her.
“So, we’re gonna dump this one off and work on the next date. Try to get a cute one.”
A win over a Detroit franchise that hasn’t realized success in Wisconsin since 1991 may not warrant any parties, but the offensive performance was sub-par.
The Packers are regarded as one of the best offenses in the NFL, but showed only glimpses against the Lions.
The Packers managed just two drives longer than five plays, including seven of four plays or fewer. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers entered averaging 253.0 passing yards (ranked No. 11), but was held to 181 yards through the air. Shaun Hill, Detroit’s backup who was thrust into the lineup when Matthew Stafford suffered a shoulder injury in the season opener, hung 331 yards on the Green Bay defense.
The Packers possessed the ball for only 22 minutes, 23 seconds, compared to 37:37 for the Lions.
“Today was kind of a funny game,” Packer offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. “I don’t know that I have a feel for anything. I don’t have feel for our passing game. I don’t have a feel for our running game.
“It was a different kind of game.”
The Packers ran only 40 plays, and 12 came on the final drive when McCarthy used the ground game to run out the clock. The Lions ran 78 plays.
Part of what made the day so odd is Rodgers and Co. made a mockery of the Detroit defense in the first half. Three touchdown drives took a total of 11 plays. Rodgers threw a trio of touchdown passes (29, 13 and 17 yards) and went into halftime with a perfect 158.3 passer rating.
But the offense didn’t score a point in the final 36:47 of the game, and Rodgers threw two interceptions.
This is a team that woke up Sunday averaging 341.3 yards a game (No. 11 in the league), and fell 80 yards short of that mark.
“Offensively, we’ve got to find our identity again,” Rodgers said. “We’ve got to make sure that we’ve got our best players on the field at all times and find ways to get them the ball.
“We had some ad-libs today where we hit Donald (Driver) on that big play today. Take that play away and there’s really not a whole lot of production.”
Jermichael Finley’s postgame interview summed up the feelings regarding the offense. The usually gregarious tight end caught a team-high four balls for 36 yards, including his first touchdown. But there wasn’t a trace of a smile as his answers were unusually brief.
“I knew we were going to win,” Finley said. “That’s football. I’m not frustrated. We just left a lot of plays on the field.
“We’re OK. We’re all right. We’re not great yet.”