GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers took care of business at home Monday night, overcoming a 17-14 halftime deficit and blitzing the Detroit Lions with a 21-0 second half run in a 35-17 victory.
The Packers rebounded at Lambeau Field before a sell-out crowd of 77,240 after a horrid performance against New Orleans in Jacksonville in Week 1. They are now tied atop the NFC North with the 1-1 Chicago Bears as the Lions joined the Minnesota Vikings in the division cellar at 0-2.
The “Aarons”—as in Jones and Rodgers—were involved in all five Green Bay touchdowns: Rodgers threw four touchdown passes, three to Jones and one to tight end Robert Tonyan. Jones was a matchup nightmare for Detroit in the red zone on his three touchdown receptions and rushed 17 times for 67 tough yards and a 1-yard touchdown run.
After a slow start, Rodgers got in a rhythm and had a stellar performance, completing 22 of 27 passes for 255 yards and four touchdowns for a 145.6 quarterback rating. He spread the ball to seven receivers, with Davante Adams catching eight aerials for 121 yards.
Rodgers had one of the worst games of his storied career against the Saints, and after a slow start found his rhythm against Detroit.
The veteran quarterback spoke his mind in his post-game press conference.
“I think people like to say a lot of bull—- and it’s nice to come back in here after a game like that,” Rodgers said. “I think there’s even more now than when I started playing—there’s so many over-reactions on a week-to-week basis.”
He added that it’s “Nice to come out and have a good performance and get the trolls off our back for at least a week.”
The Packers defense also started slow, allowing the Lions two touchdowns and a field goal on their four drives in the first half. The second half was a different story.
Rodgers marched the Packers 87-yards in an eight-play drive to open the third quarter and take a 21-17 lead on a perfect 22-yard touchdown strike to Tonyan.
The turning point of the game came on the next series, when Jared Goff advanced the Lions to the Packers 25 yard-line. Detroit opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 instead of kicking a field goal, and Goff’s low pass fell incomplete to Quintez Cephus, who was blanketed by rookie cornerback Eric Stokes.
Rodgers told ESPN in an on-field post-game interview with Jones that “Last week we were really disjointed on offense. The first half went the same way, but the second half we came out, got into a better rhythm, got a turnover and put the game away.“
After the fourth-down stop, Rodgers capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jones for a 28-17 cushion.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Packers defense and inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, the game’s leading tackler with 10 solos and three assists, came up big again.
In a steady rain, Campbell recovered a botched snap by Lions quarterback Jared Goff in the waning seconds of the third quarter to set up the offense at the Detroit 23 for their final touchdown run by Jones early in the fourth stanza that sealed the victory.
The Packers special teams also contributed to the victory. Kylin Hill, a rookie running back from Mississippi, provided a spark with a 41-yard kick-off return after the Lions had taken a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
Hill displayed his bravado and athleticism at the end of his return, hurdling kicker Austin Seibert for a few extra yards to the Green Bay 44. The offense capitalized on the short field and tied the score 10 plays later. Hill returned two kicks for 60 yards, a 30-yard average.
Green Bay faces another challenging road test Sunday night, traveling to San Francisco to face the undefeated 49ers, 17-11 victors over Philadelphia Sunday.
Week 2 NFL Predictions
Packers 37, Lions 17
Green Bay has not lost two in a row in two previous seasons under LaFleur. Team will rebound at Lambeau with dominant performance against Detroit as the Aarons (Rodgers/Jones) lead offensive resurgence after Saints debacle.