GB-DET Grades: TE Richard Rodgers hauls in game-winner, career-high grade
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Packers’ 27-23 victory over the Lions:
– The Lions underwent a great deal of upheaval along their defensive line last season, so to get such a strong game from multiple members of their new look front is a major positive. Jason Jones (+2.7), Haloti Ngata (+2.1), Ezekiel Ansah (+1.9) and Devin Taylor (+2.0) all earned grades of +1.5 or higher, and all contributed multiple pressures on Aaron Rodgers. Taylor and Ansah combined to record three sacks on the Packers’ quarterback, but ultimately came up one play short of holding onto the victory.
– Matthew Stafford’s turnaround from a dire start to the season continued with another solid performance last night (+1.1), though there were missed opportunities that could have clinched the victory and avoided the agonizing nature of their defeat. Stafford was strong down the middle of the field, completing 16-of-21 passes targeted between the numbers, earning a PFF passing grade of +2.6, but hitting on only one of his six deep passes (Calvin Johnson’s spectacular touchdown catch) kept the Packers in touch for their late game heroics.
– The investment of high picks puts pressure on Larry Warford (+2.2) and Laken Tomlinson (+1.8) to produce better performances than they have so far this season, but solid displays last night should build confidence that they can provide a strong guard pairing moving forward. Both graded positively for the second straight week, making strong blocks in line and pulling to the edge, though the Lions’ running to the edge was consistently let down by their tight ends.
DE Jason Jones (+2.7)
RT Michael Ola (+2.5)
WR Golden Tate (+2.4)
RG Larry Warford (+2.2)
DT Haloti Ngata (+2.1)
Green Bay Packers
– This turnaround for the Packers was all about decisive moments, rather than long periods of control over the game; their shorthanded offensive line, in particular, did not allow them to do this. One such moment came courtesy of Julius Peppers (+2.6), as the Packers capitalized on two fumbles on consecutive plays from scrimmage to convert a 20-point deficit to a six-point deficit in less than two minutes. Tearing past Riley Reiff (-1.5), Peppers got to Matthew Stafford as he threw to set the Packers up at the Lions’ 12-yard line.
– From there, Aaron Rodgers (+1.0) hooked up with Davante Adams (-0.3) to convert a third down with a pinpoint throw over Josh Bynes (+0.2) to bring the Packers within six with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, having barely been in the game for the first 35 minutes of the night. Rodgers’ performance behind a patchwork offensive line was impressive; pressured on 19 of his 23 dropbacks, he racked up a passer rating of 117.9 on plays where he was not pressured, but that tumbled to 43.8 when he was pressured.
– The effect of the backup linemen coming into the game was no better illustrated than on the one play that made tackle David Bakhtiari (+1.1) feel missed early in the fourth quarter. Bakhtiari and Sitton (+1.3) combined to allow only two pressures, compared to the 14 from Lane Taylor (-2.5) and Don Barclay (-.83) on the right side, but when Bakhtiari went down, the Lions went right at backup Josh Walker (-0.9) with a stunt on third-and-long. Walker chased, rather than looking to exchange on the stunt, and the result was an easy sack for Ezekiel Ansah. The Packers are walking a tight rope in many areas of their offense right now, but they are doing just enough to stay alive in the playoff race, and could be a threat if a consistent target can emerge for Rodgers.
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (+3.3)
TE Richard Rodgers (+3.1)
S Morgan Burnett (+2.8)
OLB Julius Peppers (+2.6)
S Micah Hyde (+1.8)