Quick takes: Packers hold off Lions
GREEN BAY - By the time the Green Bay Packers trotted to their locker room for halftime of Sunday’s home opener, it was feeling a lot like 2014.
It ended feeling a lot like the past calendar year.
The Packers watched a 28-point lead late in the second quarter almost evaporate before holding on for a 34-27 win. They led 31-3 with one minute left in the second quarter, but the Lions scored 24 of the game’s final 27 points. They outscored the Packers 17-3 in the second half.
BOX SCORE: Packers 34, Lions 27
PHOTOS: Week 3 gallery
The Packers enter their early bye week with a 2-1 record. They also ensured the Lions would not win two consecutive games inside the state of Wisconsin. A year ago, the Packers’ 24-year home winning streak against the Lions was snapped with an 18-16 loss.
Still, there will be plenty to work on in the bye week. Here are some observations from the Packers’ home opener against the Lions.
Rodgers’ revenge: A week after his performance left everyone scratching their heads, Rodgers ended a 14-game drought without reaching a 100 passer rating that dated back to Week 6 last season. Rodgers finished 15-of-24 for 205 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions, a rating of 129.3. He tossed four first-half touchdown passes for the second time in his career. The other time was when the Packers hosted the Chicago Bears in 2014, when Rodgers threw six touchdowns in the first half. A big reason for Rodgers’ bounce-back performance, especially his success in the first half, was because …
Jordy’s back: He had been improving each week. In his third game returning from a torn ACL, Packers receiver Jordy Nelson surpassed the 100-yard mark for the first time since reconstructive knee surgery. It only took one half. Nelson finished with six catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns, though he did not have a catch in the second half. Nelson had his first 40-yard grab of the season — something he did routinely in 2014 — when he got behind the Lions defense for 49 in the first half. Nelson’s big day didn’t prevent the Packers from …
Rotating receivers: In search of a fast-break tempo, the Packers' offense had sacrificed variation with its personnel. Coach Mike McCarthy relied on more versatility Sunday, especially at wide receiver. Ty Montgomery lined up in the backfield and wide. Rookie Trevor Davis rotated onto the field, drawing a 66-yard pass interference penalty that set up a touchdown. Through the first two weeks, the Packers played Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams played most of the snaps. McCarthy balanced his personnel rotations with the offense’s desired tempo Sunday.
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Stout run defense: It took the Packers 11 quarters to allow their 100th rushing yard on the season. It finally happened with an 8-yard run from Lions running back Theo Riddick on the second play of the third quarter. The Packers entered Sunday as the NFL’s lone team to not allow 100 rushing yards through the first two games, relenting for only 78 combined rushing yards at the Jacksonville Jaguars and Vikings. The Packers were stout against the run for a third straight week, only the Lions to gain only 50 yards on 23 carries (a 2.2-yard average). It was an especially impressive performance against the run considering the Packers were without some of their best front-seven players. OLB Clay Matthews, DT Letroy Guion, OLB Datone Jones did not play because of injury. Of course, some of the reason for the Lions’ lack of run production was their early deficit, which led to a …
Secondary woes: For the second straight week, the Packers struggled without top cornerback Sam Shields. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, forced to chuck the football and try to cut into the Packers’ early lead, finished 28-of-41 for 385 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. The Packers’ secondary especially struggled on third down, a big reason the Lions converted 8-of-14. Of their 22 first downs Sunday, 17 came through the air. Receiver Marvin Jones had six catches for 205 yards and a two touchdowns.
Check back this evening for Bob McGinn's analysis of the Packers victory over the Lions.