The Green Bay Packers evened their record at 2-2 by beating the Detroit Lions 22-9 but it may have come at a high cost. Linebacker Clay Matthews broke his thumb and could be lost for the season. The Packers have been able to overcome short stretches without Matthews but losing him for 12 games is a different story.
The Packers dominated the Lions in all phases, but problems in the red zone prevented the score from being worse than it was. The Packers had 449 yards of offense but only 22 points. Not real good. The Packers only touchdown came on an 83-yard pass. The Packers newfound running should have made it easier but it seems to have complicated things. I don’t think head coach Mike McCarthy knows how to use a running game, after all, he’s never had one.
The Packers’ defense did an excellent job of containing the Lions, who without Calvin Johnson are not the same team. Even with the Packers’ offense settling for field goals you never had the feeling the Packers were in trouble. Linebacker Nick Perry, benched earlier in the week, responded with two sacks and will be counted on heavily now with Matthews out.
The Packers also lost linebackers Brad Jones and Robert Francois, the latter is out for the season with an achilles injury. Jones re-injured his hamstring and is probably going to be out for a few weeks minimum. Perry and Mike Neal will probably be the starting outside linebackers next Sunday in Baltimore.
Not sure how to fix the Packers red zone problems other than simply executing better. I do think the play calling has been questionable at times. The Packers have a new dimension in Eddie Lacy and they should try using him down there. Break out the old red zone screen that Edgar Bennett was so good at. Lacy with a head of steam is hard to bring down.
The Packers now face the defending Super Bowl champs who got off to a sluggish start but may be back on track after winning in Miami yesterday. The Packers do not want to start 2-3 again but are 0-2 on the road this year. Got to get the first one somewhere, might as well be Baltimore.