Packers-Lions: First half thoughts
We were anticipating a shootout today at Lambeau Field but that was before Calvin Johnson was ruled out. Maybe it's apples to oranges but taking Johnson out of Detroit's lineup is like taking Aaron Rodgers out of Green Bay's lineup. It just changes everything.
So it certainly isn't a shock that Detroit only mustered three points. However, along the way there were a few surprising twists.
Packers sacked Matthew Stafford twice in the first half and the pressure was pretty decent throughout. This was one of the keys coming into the game. Stafford hasn't faced much pressure this year but here's where Johnson's absence is felt. Without a legitimate playmaker split out wide the Packers can focus in on the trenches.
For as good as Reggie Bush and Joique Bell are, we didn't see it in the first half. Bush was held to just nine rushing yards on six carries. Bell didn't fare much better with 16 yards. No Johnson means Kris Durham and Ryan Broyles become the top two receivers and they aren't going to beat you. Bush and Bell can but in the first half they were kept under wraps.
Also surprising, but not in a pleasant way, is how empty the offense looked. On two scoring drives the Packers ran 17 plays. The yardage is there. The time of possession is there. But the Packers just can't finish off drives.
Eddie Lacy put up a solid half of work with 53 yards. The Packers achieved balance in the playcalling yet in doing so it seems the Packers have lost some of the temp and rhythm when Rodgers drops back seemingly play after play.
The mystery of the punt returner will continue. Randall Cobb and Micah Hyde were both used and perhaps in time Hyde will become the guy but for now it doesn't look like the mystery has been solved.