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6 things we learned in the Lions’ 30-17 win over the Packers on ‘Monday Night Football’

The Lions never had to punt once against the Packers.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions snapped a three-game losing streak and got back on track with a 30-17 win over the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football that was never really close.

Matthew Stafford found Marvin Jones for a 25-yard touchdown pass on Detroit’s opening offensive possession and never gave up the lead after that. Ameer Abdullah scored a 4-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and the Lions got in the end zone again in the fourth quarter with another Jones touchdown.

Detroit dominated every aspect statistically, and finished the game with 417 total yards of offense compared to 311 yards for the Packers. The Lions also had 36:55 time of possession. It was the first time the Lions went a game without a punt since 1971.

Green Bay’s first touchdown of the game came in the fourth quarter when Brett Hundley bulldozed ahead for a 1-yard touchdown. But it was too little, too late.

It was just the second time in the Lions’ last 27 trips to Lambeau Field that the team left with a win and it was the biggest margin of victory there since a 30-10 win in 1982.

Here are takeaways from Detroit’s easy win on national television:

Things we learned

1. The Brett Hundley-led Packers can’t score

Short passing is a good way to get a young, inexperienced quarterback comfortable in an offense. But eventually it’s a problem if the entire offense relies on plays that don’t go further than 10 yards downfield.

After a decent drive to open the game, the Packers struggled to move the ball for most of the night and Hundley often ran into trouble with scrambles behind the line of scrimmage that went nowhere. Even his biggest play of the game was a short pass that turned into something more.

It wasn’t all on Hundley, who wasn’t bailed out by his receivers making the tough plays. But it’s hard to trust that the Packers are going to be able to score many points on a weekly basis if that’s what the team looks like after a Week 8 bye.

Monday was the third consecutive game with the Packers finishing with less than 18 points. The last time that happened was in 2005, when Aaron Rodgers was a rookie backup for Brett Favre.

2. The Lions secondary deserves more credit

Detroit entered the week No. 27 against the pass, but much of that has to do with a pass rush that rarely gets home. It’s definitely not a perfect secondary, but Monday was a reminder that maybe Glover Quin and Darius Slay deserve more credit for being two of the NFL’s top defensive backs.

Quin made the defensive play of the game when he flew in to make a tackle behind the line of scrimmage on a fourth down. Through the first eight games of 2017, Quin is playing free safety as well as any player in the NFL.

3. Matthew Stafford, Golden Tate and Marvin Jones are real hard to stop

Stafford finished with 361 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. It was a great night against a defense that was ripe for the picking, but it was aided by a spectacular showing by his two starting receivers.

Jones showed what he can do on a pair of impressive touchdown grabs:

And even though Tate didn’t get in the end zone, he was a star too with seven receptions for 113 yards, including this clean pirouette on the sideline:

When the timing routes are on point for the Lions, good luck stopping them.

4. The Lions still can’t run the ball

OK, here’s the bad news. Even against a rush defense that isn’t very good, the combination of Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah still couldn’t get the job done.

Yes, Abdullah got a touchdown in the first half, but the team struggled on other trips to the red zone and had to settle for a field goal in the fourth quarter when it couldn’t punch in the ball on the doorstep. The touchdown for Abdullah was just the third on the year for a Lions team that has been near the bottom of the league in rushing on an annual basis for a while.

5. At least the Packers special teams are good

If one person for the Packers deserves some credit, it’s special teams coordinator Ron Zook. Because when his unit had just 10 seconds to run on for a field goal before halftime, they definitely had things figured out.

That’s about as impressive of a field goal fire drill as you’ll ever see. Unfortunately for the Packers, that was probably their highlight of the game.

6. The Lions are still alive in the NFC North

The Vikings are going to be hard to catch at 6-2, but it’s hard to feel that comfortable if Case Keenum is your starter. Stafford is far and away the best quarterback in the division for now — who knows if Mitchell Trubisky turns into a star — and the Lions are just two games behind Minnesota.

Detroit’s 4-4 record came after a tough schedule, including a three-game stretch against the Panthers, Saints and Steelers. They already have a win over Minnesota and will get a chance to sweep the season series in Week 12. If they do, the Lions are very much in business.


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