Re-Focused: Week 14, Packers at Lions

| 6 years ago

Re-Focused: Week 14, Packers at Lions

This was a game most people assumed the Packers would be able to handle without issue. Instead the Packers completely collapsed, with the Lions’ defensive line dominating the Packers offensive line, as well as the Lions rushing game running all over the Packers defense.

Looking at the numbers, you would think the Lions would have won by more than 7-3, but a few turnovers cost the Lions from scoring more points than what they did.

This game brought the Lions a step closer to being a respected team, and left the Packers a step further away from the playoffs.

Packers: Three performances of note

When QB Aaron Rodgers (+1.6) got taken out of the game with a concussion, Packers fans were curious to see how QB Matt Flynn (-2.4) would perform. He ended up with a terrible performance, only completing three of his ten passes beyond 10 yards and missing on some shorter passes as well. He was only under pressure eight times as the Packers started to use more blockers as the game went on, but in those pressures he threw an interception and got sacked twice.

It felt like LOLB Clay Matthews (-4.7) had disappeared from the Packers’ defense in recent weeks, and this week he showed up but not in a good way. Despite having a sack, a pressure and a hit to help his rating, he was absolutely terrible against the run. This game should take away any question as to if Matthews should be Defensive Player of the Year.

Last year’s Defensive Player of the Year also came up short in this game. CB Charles Woodson (-4.9) missed three tackles in the game, and also allowed three catches for 59 yards. It is Woodson’s third-straight game with a negative rating.

Lions: Three performances of note

FB Jerome Felton (+4.4) doesn’t typically get used much in the Lions’ offense, and he has graded fairly poorly all season, but this game was different. He had more snaps this game than all of the games in the past two months, and played wonderfully as a run-blocker. Nether tailback was overly impressive for the Lions, but the run blocking that helped give their offense success.

Pretty much the entire defensive line for the Lions played at a high level in this game, but DE Lawrence Jackson (+2.7) stood out from the group. Recently he has seen a large number of snaps coming off the bench, and has performed well in each of the games. He had two sacks and a pressure, and also performed very well in stopping the run. With Kyle Vanden Bosch out for the year, Jackson made a strong case to be a starter in the future over Turk McBride.

RCB Nathan Vasher (+1.6) had his second start of the season and had his best game in the three years Vasher has been graded by us. He was thrown at six times covering Greg Jennings (-2.4) and Donald Driver (-1.3), and only allowed three catches for 18 yards. He was the best of the Lions defensive backs in this game, and is worth a look to see if he can continue this high performance.

Rookie report

RT Bryan Bulaga (-3.9) showed signs of improvement for the Packers in recent weeks, but he allowed two sacks, one hit and four pressures in this game. TE Andrew Quarless (+1.3) was possibly the best Packer on offense this week, catching five passes for 62 yards. HB James Starks (-0.5) ran the ball six times for eight yards, although he didn’t get much help from his line. ROLB Frank Zombo (-3.3) followed up his best performance of the year with his worst prior to getting injured. CB Sam Shields (-0.2) allowed two catches for 21 yards.

For the Lions, HB Jahvid Best (-1.7) for a third straight game had a lower number of snaps and only averaged 2.9 yards per run. DT Ndamukong Suh (+2.8) continued his strong recent performance with three stops, two pressures and a hit. CB Prince Miller (-0.2) took over as the nickel cornerback midway through the game and allowed three catches for 26 yards. FS Amari Spivey (-0.3) didn’t allow a catch and had an interception (although the INT was gifted to him by Greg Jennings after he’d already been beaten in coverage).

Random notes

The Packers used three left guards in the game. Daryn Colledge (+0.1) started but got hurt on the third play. Jason Spitz (-3.4) replaced him and played poorly, and at halftime was replaced by T.J. Lang (+0.2). … Cliff Avril, who was the star of the Week 13 game, was the only Detroit defender to grade in the red.

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • harryddunn

    Surprised by no mention of DeAndre Levy, who was awarded Player of the Game honors. Was it that his interception was a poor throw by Flynn rather than a good read on his part? I thought he looked good in the run game.

    • Nathan Jahnke

      DeAndre Levy did have a good game as well. He was above average against the run, but we had him even better in pass coverage. Also had a good grade in pass rushing, since he only rushed once that we noted, and it resulted in a pressure. There were 6 Lions on defense that were between a rating of 2 and 3 that I could’ve written about. Jackson stood out to me because he was a backup and just recently has been getting more snaps, and Vasher because to me he came out of nowhere and performed well. Easily could’ve written about Levy or a handful of others in the Lions front 7.

  • harryddunn

    I appreciate the difficultly in ranking our defense, having to factor in how obviously everybody benefits from the attention paid to Suh…

    But in seriousness, it’s encouraging as a fan to see your positive evaluations of Jackson’s recent performance, when considering his seeming aversion to pressuring the QB last year and the potential his draft status suggests. With KVB’s injury history, it’s a good luxury to have a backup of his caliber in fold, if in fact his recent performance is an indication of his talent going forward.

    They won’t have a choice but to give Vasher an extended look, as McDonald joined the litany of CBs on IR this week.

  • KnightOfGrace

    L. Jackson- only had one sack
    Turk McBride – had two sack