Lions launch winning streak in dominating fashion
Welcome to the 21st century Detroit Lions fans! Your team has a two-game winning streak against the Green Bay Packers for the first time in 15 years.
In defeating Green Bay twice in a row for the first time this century, Detroit has manhandled its rival like seldom before. If this game signaled last Thanksgiving's 30-point beat down of Green Bay was no fluke, the Packers got the message loud and clear.
Playing inspired defense despite the loss of key personnel, Detroit held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 223 yards in a clear-cut 19-7 win. With the victory, the Lions unleashed some performances not seen this side of 1999.
In overpowering Green Bay 40-10 last November, Matthew Stafford and Co. outgained their rivals 561 yards to 126. The 435-yard difference was the largest by the Lions in the series.
The Lions again had their way Sunday. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell rushed for enough yards to keep Green Bay honest and Stafford added 246 through the air as Detroit piled up 353 yards to 223 for the visitors.
Over a two-game span, that's Lions 914 yards, Packers 349. It's a record, shattering the previous best by Detroit, a 384-yard advantage forged during the 1980 season.
Defense carried the day. For Detroit that included its first return for a score against Green Bay in 12 years.
Defensive tackle Nick Fairley knocked the ball from running back Eddie Lacy on Green Bay's second offensive play. Safety Don Carey recovered and romped 40 yards into the end zone for a 7-0 Lions lead.
It was the first Detroit return for a TD against the Packers since Az-Zahir Hakim traveled 72 yards with a Josh Bidwell punt on Sept. 22, 2002. It was the first fumble return for a score in the series by the Lions since James Hall loped eight yards with a Brett Favre bobble on Nov. 22, 2001.
And it was the first time since Nov. 1, 1971 that a Lion defender scored as the result of a turnover on Green Bay's first possession. That afternoon, Bob Bell raced 25 yards to pay dirt after defensive end Larry Hand sacked quarterback Scott Hunter on the game's third play.
For the Packers, it was the second week in a row that a fumble led to a TD for the opposition. Had these been the Lions of old, that might not have mattered.
In four of five previous meetings with the Lions in which the Packers fumbled away their opening drive, they rallied to victory. The team overcame fumbles by Favre (2005 and 2007), Matt Flynn (2011) and Rodgers (2012).
Not this time. Led by DeAndre Levy (10 tackles), Detroit's defense reined in Green Bay's offense, particularly its passing attack.
A depleted defensive backfield did not allow a Packers' receiver to catch anything longer than 18 yards. Detroit hadn't managed that against its rival since opening day 1978 when Green Bay's long was 17 yards.
After some early success by Green Bay on third down, the Lions clamped down. They denied the Packers in their last four attempts and also once on fourth down.
The Lions offense got better in that regard. After whiffing on their first four attempts, they converted 11 of 14 (78.6 percent).
That's two games in a row above 50 percent against Green Bay. That hasn't happened since at least 1950.
Moving the chains allowed Detroit to possess the ball for 38 minutes, 13 seconds. Not bad, but a tad short of the 40:26 they commanded last November.
Not all went as planned for Detroit. Ha Ha Clinton Dix and Davon House each intercepted Stafford once. Julius Peppers forced and recovered a fumble by the Lions quarterback.
The miscues didn't stop the Lions. For the first time since Dec. 22, 1990 Detroit defeated the Packers despite committing three turnovers.
That happened 24 years ago in Green Bay, a time when the Lions knew how to win at Lambeau Field. Judging by their new found winning streak, it's something they might begin again starting with their visit north at season's end.
Most yards the Lions have outgained the Packers in consecutive games
Yds Year(s) GB-Det Totals
565 2013-14 349-914
384 1980 432-816
359 1976-77 312-671
344 1949-50 353-697
322 1970 238-560