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2023 NFL season, Week 4: What We Learned from Lions' win over Packers on Thursday night

Detroit Lions
2023 · 3-1-0
Green Bay Packers
2023 · 2-2-0


  1. Lions make early statement, late gut check in impressive victory. The Lions are 3-1 following Thursday’s victory over the Packers at Lambeau Field. That’s now four straight wins for Detroit head to head against the team that has dominated the division for decades, while the Lions often have been looking up from the bottom. Who are these guys? The new NFC North favorites. That’s now two signature road victories -- and not just anywhere, at Arrowhead and Lambeau in prime time -- through four games. And it was the way it went down. The Lions dominated the first half, leading, 27-3, and outgaining the Packers, 284-21. That was the third-biggest halftime deficit the Packers have ever faced at Lambeau, tied with the Michael Vick playoff game of yore. The Lions’ win wasn’t quite as seismic as that night, but it is a sign that this team is here to stay.
  2. Detroit sets tone early, dominating both lines of scrimmage. Even after Jared Goff threw an interception on the third play of the game, the Lions were unimpeded in completely establishing dominance up front. Jordan Love was sacked on his second dropback, one of five on the night. A few of those were Love holding onto the ball too long. But amazingly, the Lions only blitzed once all night, per Next Gen Stats (on the final play of the first half). Love was trying to get a final heave in, but that play ended in a sack, too. On the other side, Goff had a mostly comfy pocket and the Lions ran for 13 first downs. Rashan Gary gave them some fits early, but it didn’t stop the Lions from ringing up 27 first-half points. Green Bay fought back in the third quarter and played better up front, but there wasn’t enough gas left in the tank.
  3. Humbling night for Jordan Love. Love’s first four starts this season have been a series of emotional highs and lows. The big Week 1 in Chicago. The blown lead Week 2 in Atlanta. The furious comeback Week 3. And then Thursday night, back down again. Love struggled to get into the flow of the game, appearing to react to pressure and never really getting his feet underneath him. Love started the game 1-for-7 passing for 9 yards and an interception where he made a bad choice, throwing into a crowded zone. He was guilty of holding onto the ball too long, even having to throw away a pass lefthanded in the end zone to avoid a safety. Love finally got going with some pretty throws: fourth down to Romeo Doubs for 15 and Jayden Reed for 44 to end the third quarter. But Love also cost his team 11 yards with a poor backward throw, killing the comeback momentum a bit with a wasted possession. It was a tough night, despite finishing with 246 yards. His second pick was the nail in the Packers’ coffin late in the game. It’s OK to remind ourselves that he’s young and inexperienced. There will be games like this.
  4. David Montgomery’s big night fuels Lions’ attack. There was still some question as to whether Montgomery might suit up for this game, having missed the Week 3 win with a thigh injury. But he was cleared for takeoff, and his hard running ended with his first 100-yard game for Detroit and a three-TD performance. Montgomery finished the night with a whopping 32 carries (the most in any game this season) for 121 yards and TD runs of 3, 2 and 1 yard. Don’t do the math -- sure, the rushing average was nothing special -- but Montgomery ground down the clock as Detroit held the ball for nearly 38 minutes. Goff had an 11-yard scramble, Kalif Raymond had a 40-yard run and Jahmyr Gibbs also added 40 on the ground, giving the Lions their best rushing effort since Week 17 last year.
  5. Comeback touchdown counted, but should it have? Thursday threatened to be a snoozer, but the cardiac Packers clawed back in the second half while the Lions sputtered. On the final play of the third quarter, with the Packers trailing, 27-11, Love hit Reed on a beautiful go ball for 44 yards to the Detroit 9-yard line. But … the Prime broadcast showed the game clock had hit 0:00, which should have resulted in the play being blown dead. It was not, and the Packers scored two plays later to cut the deficit to 27-17 with 14-plus minutes left. For anyone screaming why the Lions weren’t protesting, the play was not reviewable. But it was a massive play that kept the door open for another Lambeau miracle. Credit to Dan Campbell and the Lions for keeping their cool amid a tough spot. They had some bad luck and didn’t let it rattle them as they gummed up and held on for a big win.

Next Gen stat of the game: Aidan Hutchinson posted career highs in QB pressures (8) and pressure rate (21.1%), along with his 1.5 sacks tonight against the Packers. Hutchinson has generated at least five QB pressures in his past six games (since Week 14, 2022).

NFL Research: Sam LaPorta has more receptions (22) in his first four career games than any tight end in NFL history. The only tight end with more receiving yards than LaPorta (242) is Hall of Famer Mike Ditka (315).

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