Instant Reaction: Lions 30, Packers 17

The Green Bay Packers (4-4) fell to the Detroit Lions (4-4), on Monday night at Lambeau Field. The loss marks the third in a row for the Packers, who continue to struggle in the absence of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Some initial thoughts:

  • Coming off the bye week, the biggest question for the Packers was whether they would open up the playbook for Brett Hundley in his second regular season start. The answer seemed to that question seemed to be no, as the third-year signal caller again lived and died by quick passes and check downs. It’s hard to tell, though, if the Packers did open things up and Hundley either failed to take his eyes downfield or just didn’t want to. On multiple occasions, Green Bay had receivers running open down the field, and Hundley ended up sacked or throwing short. If the issue is indeed that Hundley is saddled with an inability or unwillingness to look downfield, the Packers are in even more serious trouble—if that’s possible.

  • The pitchforks are going to be out more than ever this week for the anti-Dom Capers crowd, and it would be hard to blame them after yet another poor performance by the Packers defense. Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter had the Packers’ number all night, and his players executed extremely well. While some aspects of Green Bay’s defensive performance—namely tackling—improved, there was a lot to dislike. Their defense on third down stuck out as particularly atrocious, with Detroit going 8-13 overall and converting way too many double-digit yards-to-go situations. Time will tell if this game serves as a tipping point for the Packers as it pertains to Capers’ employment.

  • Aaron Jones carrying the ball only five times is absolutely criminal. Even against a stout Detroit run defense, the Packers barely gave their budding rookie running back a chance to get warm. Unless Jones was dealing with some kind of injury, it will be interesting to hear what exactly the thought process was behind the running game plan.

  • The Packers managed just one sack on the night, and it came on a flea-flicker when Matthew Stafford had to pull the ball down. The lack of a pass rush, even on five and six-man pressures, has reached a new level of absurdity in Green Bay.

  • At 4-4, the Packers are now two games back of the Vikings in the NFC North, having already dropped a game to Minnesota as well. Needless to say, the division may have already slipped away, and Green Bay is going to have to improve by leaps and bounds to stay in the NFC playoff hunt.