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Lions Gobble Up Yardage in Thanksgiving Day Massacre

Looking Pack: Week 13

Nov. 29, 2013
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Jim Biever / Packers.com
The Detroit Lions hosting a Thanksgiving Day game has become as much a part of the holiday tradition as turkey and stuffing, post-meal naps, and weird uncles saying inappropriate things at the dinner table. The franchise has hosted a game on Thanksgiving every year since 1951. The Packers have been periodic participants in turkey day games since 1923, including 19 matchups against the Lions. Historically, Detroit has the series advantage, but the Packers have won the last three Thanksgiving games in Motor City (2007, 2009 and 2011).

However, that streak—and, maybe, Green Bay’s playoff hopes—would halt, as the Matt Flynn-led Packers couldn’t muster any semblance of offense to combat the potent Lions passing attack in an embarrassing 40-10 loss.

The game wasn’t always out of hand, though. After the Lions took the ball deep into Packers territory on the first drive of the game, Clay Matthews forced Reggie Bush to fumble. Morgan Burnett recovered it at the Green Bay two yard line. Initially, Flynn and the offense somewhat clicked, as the quarterback connected on a 20-yard pass play. But that drive, and four of the next five possessions, would end prematurely by way of a punt. Amidst the offensive woes (which translated to just three points on the day), the Packers defense stepped up early on. Tied 3-3 in the second quarter Nick Perry sacked Matt Stafford, forcing a fumble, which Burnett scooped up and toted one yard for a touchdown to give the Packers their first—and only—lead of the day.

While the Packers defense bailed out the offense in the first half, Green Bay’s fourth starting quarterback of the month couldn’t find his rhythm. Flynn being sacked seven times and being under constant pressure didn’t help either. The Seahawks, Raiders and Bills castoff threw for a paltry 139 yards through the air (68 of which came against Detroit’s prevent defense on the last drive). Meanwhile, the team had its worst rushing performance of the season to match. On 15 carries, the Packers had a mere 24 yards (that’s 72 feet!) with a long run of just four yards.

On the other side of the ball, the Lions had significantly less trouble moving down the field. Stafford tossed for 330 yards and a trio of touchdowns, including a five-yarder to former Packers fumble machine Jeremy Ross. Similar to last week’s tie-inducing lack of rush defense, the Packers permitted Detroit to run all over them. Bush had 117 yards and a touchdown, and Joique Bell added 94 yards and a score of his own. To the credit of Green Bay’s D, they did compile a pair of interceptions in addition to the fumble recoveries and touchdown in the early going. But with short Packers possessions and good Lions field possession to deal with, it was only a matter of time before the flood gates opened to allow Detroit to hang 40 points on the scoreboard, punctuated by a late game safety.

With a winless November that includes falling to the division leader, not to mention still Aaron Rodgers missing in action, Green Bay’s postseason chances, ironically, became slimmer after Thursday’s Thanksgiving massacre. That aside, the 5-6-1 Packers can be thankful for a few extra days of rest and an even less fortunate Atlanta Falcons team coming to Lambeau Field next weekend.

Player Of The Game (Offense) – James Jones

Nobody on Green Bay’s offense did anything worthy of positive attention. Amid the awfulness, James Jones managed a quietly decent day statistically. He had three receptions for 79 yards (both team highs), which is a bit misleading, given 56 of those yards came against a softened Lions secondary that was playing with a 30-point lead with less than two minutes remaining.

Player Of The Game (Defense) – Morgan Burnett

Despite the 40 points Detroit laid on the Packers defense, Morgan Burnett really stepped up and had a nice game. The safety had nine tackles and a pair of fumble recoveries, the second of which he returned for the only Packers touchdown.

Up next: hosting the Atlanta Falcons at noon on Sunday, December 8

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