OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Matthew Stafford, quarterback, Lions After completing just one pass in 10 attempts for a meager 10 yards in the first quarter, Stafford rebounded to lead his team to victory. While not an artistic performance, Stafford displayed grit and leadership, throwing two second-half touchdown passes in the 18-16 triumph. Stafford finished the game with 24 completions in 38 attempts for 242 yards with one interception and a 87.8 quarterback rating.
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Nevin Lawson and Darius Slay, cornerbacks, Lions The NFL is all about matchups, and Lawson fared well against Davante Adams and Slay blanketed James Jones in a contest that was not called tightly by officials in the defensive backfield. Adams was targeted an astounding 21 times by Aaron Rodgers and caught 10 passes for 79 yards. Lawson’s physical play and tight coverage held Adams in check, while Slay went man-to-man with Jones, who was targeted twice and finished with no catches.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Ameer Abdullah, running back/returner, Lions Detroit deferred on the pregame coin toss, and Abdullah maximized that opportunity with a 104-yard kickoff return to open the second half. Micah Hyde saved a touchdown by tackling Abdullah at the Green Bay 1, but Detroit capitalized when Stafford hit tight end Brandon Pettigrew with a 2-yard touchdown pass on third down to take a 9-3 lead that it would not relinquish. Abdullah returned two kickoffs for 134 yards and a glossy 67.0 average.
MISSING IN ACTION
With his production waning and his body not at 100%, tailback Eddie Lacy was benched earlier this week by coach Mike McCarthy. On Sunday, Lacy was inactive due to a groin injury suffered in the loss to the Carolina Panthers. So James Starks carried the bulk of the load at tailback, and third-stringer Alonzo Harris made only a brief, carryless appearance. But the dynamism Starks offered against the Seattle Seahawks, the San Diego Chargers and the Panthers was largely absent Sunday. Starks carried the ball 15 times for just 42 yards — an ugly average of 2.8 yards per carry — and had six catches for 54 yards. Like last week, the majority of his contributions in the passing game originated during the Packers’ frantic comeback, with quarterback Aaron Rodgers dumping the ball off on check downs and screen passes. With what amounted to a one-back offense, the Packers managed just 47 yards rushing and did not reach the end zone.
WHAT IF. . . .
Needing a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game and force overtime, the Packers assumed possession with 1 minute, 57 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. From his own 27-yard line, quarterback Aaron Rodgers mounted an 8-play, 73-yard drive nudged along by a roughing-the-passer penalty on Ezekiel Ansah. Crucial completions to Starks (19 yards) and Justin Perillo (12) moved the ball to midfield, and short gains to Starks (9) and Richard Rodgers (6) inched the offense closer. Finally, after Ansah hit Rodgers below the knee, drawing the flag, the quarterback delivered a strike to Perillo for an 11-yard score. But the 2-point conversion went awry as the ball was dislodged from the hands of Davante Adams by cornerback Crezdon Butler. Rodgers lofted the ball high in the air toward the back-right corner of the end zone, but there appeared to be an opportunity for him to lead Adams away from the defender. The ball fell to the turf, and the Lions escaped. If Adams holds on, the game almost certainly goes to overtime. Would the outcome have been
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers mirrored his performance from the loss to the Carolina Panthers by leading another attempted comeback late in the game. Rodgers threw for 185 yards in the fourth quarter alone and finished 35-of-61 for 333 yards and two touchdowns.
Starting left tackle David Bakhtiari left the game with a knee injury in the second half. He was carted to the locker room and did not return. Don Barclay, who filled in while Bakhtiari was injured during the exhibition season, got the call again.
Inside linebacker Nate Palmer, benched partway through the loss to the Panthers in favor of rookie Jake Ryan, was in the starting lineup for the Packers on Sunday. Palmer made eight tackles, tied for second-most on the team, including one tackle for loss.
BY THE NUMBERS
Sacks of Matthew Stafford by the Packers, the third straight game the defense failed to record a sack.
Missed extra points by Lions kicker Matt Prater, which played a major role in the comeback attempt by the Packers.
Receiving yards for Jared Abbrederis, who made the first catch of his NFL career and caught four passes in total.
Completions for Aaron Rodgers, a single-game career high, that fell just one short of Brett Favre’s franchise record of 36 completions set on Dec. 5, 1993.
attempts for Aaron Rodgers, which ties a single-game franchise record set by Brett Favre on Oct. 14, 1996.
Yards per carry for tailback James Starks, now No. 1 on the depth chart, on 15 unproductive attempts that produced a long of just 9 yards.
After getting the starting job earlier in the week, James Starks had 42 yards in 15 carries.