Patriots

Matthew Stafford dissects Packers in Lions' 30-17 victory

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Matthew Stafford dissects Packers in Lions' 30-17 victory

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Matthew Stafford put on a quarterback clinic for the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.

Aaron Rodgers could only watch from the sideline.

Stafford passed for 361 yards and two touchdowns to Marvin Jones, and the Lions snapped a three-game losing streak with a 30-17 win on Monday night over the offensively challenged Green Bay Packers.

"Matt (made) some great throws ... I just did what I love to do - go out there and get them," Jones said.

Stafford was 26 of 33, including 12 of 14 in the first half with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jones. Ameer Abdullah added a 4-yard touchdown run for Detroit (4-4).

Green Bay (4-4) finally got in the end zone on Brett Hundley's 1-yard quarterback sneak with 9:52 left.

The Lions answered with Stafford's 11-yard touchdown pass to Jones with 8:06 remaining, putting the game out of reach with a 17-point lead. Jones had seven catches for 107 yards.

The Packers have lost three straight games. Their once-potent offense has struggled since Rodgers broke his right collarbone on Oct. 15 at Minnesota.

Hundley finished 26 of 38 for 245 yards. Cornerback Darius Slay blanketed Jordy Nelson when the Packers did try to throw long while the game was still competitive.

"With this one obviously it doesn't get a whole lot better than this. We played well," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said.

Abdullah fumbled the ball away in the third quarter, but the Packers went three-and-out on the ensuing drive. Familiar problems in the red zone popped up for the Lions when they were stopped on three plays at the Packers 1, forced to settle for a field goal for a 17-point lead with 12:25 left.

But without Rodgers, the Packers couldn't keep up with the accurate, rocket-armed Stafford.

"I believe in Brett, that's not just a press conference statement," coach Mike McCarthy said about Hundley.

THIRD DOWNS

The Lions were 8 of 13 on third-down conversions, with Stafford burning the Packers with clutch throws. The Packers were just 2 of 9 on third downs and failed to convert both of their fourth-down chances.

"They controlled the third-down battle tonight," McCarthy said. "We have work to do. That's the fact of the matter and we have to do it fast."

CRITICAL PENALTY

The Lions' opening score was set up by an unnecessary roughness penalty on Mike Daniels, after the defensive lineman appeared to head-butt Detroit center Travis Swanson. The flag negated an incompletion on third-and-15 that would have forced the Lions to punt from their own 25. Stafford connected with Jones for the touchdown pass five plays later.

MILESTONE

The first scoring strike to Jones was the 200th touchdown pass in 117 career games for Stafford, the sixth-quickest in NFL history to reach the milestone. Stafford, who turns 30 in February, is also fourth in NFL history for career touchdown passes before age 30 behind Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.

NOT SPECIAL

Special teams didn't help the Packers.

Working in their third long snapper of the season because of injuries, Green Bay had a 38-yard field goal blocked in the first quarter on a play that started with a low snap. Trevor Davis didn't get past the 22 on three kickoff returns in the first half.

STAT LINES:

Lions: WR Golden Tate joined Jones over the 100-yard mark with seven receptions for 113 yards. ... Abdullah had 21 carries for 48 yards.

Packers: The team's playmaking receivers did have more opportunities, though most came on short passes. Randall Cobb finished with 58 yards on five receptions, including a catch-and-run for a 46-yard gain that set up Hundley's TD run. Davante Adams had seven catches for 53 yards.

"This game they were giving us the underneath stuff," Hundley said. "You have to take what's given."

INJURIES

Packers S Morgan Burnett left in the third quarter with a groin injury. He had returned from a two-game absence for a hamstring injury. RT Bryan Bulaga left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury.

ANTHEM

It appeared that all members of both teams stood for the national anthem, with many players and coaches locking arms on their respective sidelines.

UP NEXT

Lions: Host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Packers: Visit the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

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Speed to burn: Cooks, Brady team up to form most productive deep-ball combo

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Speed to burn: Cooks, Brady team up to form most productive deep-ball combo

The first came in the second quarter, when Brandin Cooks turned on afterburners to beat a Raiders double team and glide underneath a Tom Brady heave for 52 yards. The second came in the third quarter, on the third play from scrimmage of the second half, when Cooks faked an out-route, jetted past rookie corner Obi Melifonwu, and sped into the end zone to make the score 24-0. 

Both deep completions in New England's 33-8 win over Oakland just added to cumulative effect that Cooks has had on the Patriots offense since arriving before the season to become their top deep threat. 

Paired with Brady, Cooks has actually become the most productive deep threat in the NFL. 

MORE PATRIOTS

According to Pro Football Focus, Cooks leads all receivers with 431 yards on deep passes (throws that travel 20 yards or more down the field). In second place is Houston's DeAndre Hopkins with 313 yards. 

And Brady, who has long been more effective in the short-to-intermediate range than he has been deep, is now among the league leaders in creating explosive plays from the quarterback position. The Patriots are third in the NFL with 41 pass plays of 20 yards or more, and they are tied for second with nine plays of 40 yards or more. 

"You're always trying to work on that," Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show of his team's deep passing game. "It's not one particular year [you work on it]. I think that's been a concerted effort by our entire offense, trying to make more explosive plays in the pass game. 

"Sometimes your offense is built differently. We actually have some guys now that can really get down the field so that becomes more of a point of emphasis. The way Brandin runs, the way that Chris Hogan runs, the way that Phillip Dorsett runs, they're very fast. You need to be able to take advantage of their skill set . . . 

"When we had David Patten we were throwing it deep. I mean, but David Patten didn't run a lot of short routes. I would say Brandin Cooks, in general, he doesn't run a lot of short routes. Everyone has a different role. If we can get by you, I think that's a good place to throw the ball. if we can't, we gotta figure out ways to throw it underneath and different weeks are going to call for different things based on the strengths of the defenses we're playing, too."

A week before beating the Raiders, against the Broncos and their talented corners, the Patriots had less luck pushing the ball down the field -- though they tried to hit Cooks deep multiple times. In Mexico City, Cooks matched up with a weaker secondary, and he wasn't at all slowed by the altitude, catching six passes in all for 149 yards and a score. 

Per PFF, Cooks has seen almost one third of his targets (30 percent) come on deep passes, which is the ninth-highest rate in the league. He's caught all 11 of his catchable deep passes, three of them accounting for scores.

"Obviously when you're throwing the ball 50-60 yards down the field," Brady said, "your chances of completion go down, but if you hit it, it ends up being a very explosive plays and you can change a lot of field position and get a defense really on their heels if they have to defend every blade of grass on the field." 

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Belichick remembers Glenn: 'A good person with good intentions'

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Belichick remembers Glenn: 'A good person with good intentions'

Terry Glenn, the Patriots' top draft pick in 1996, died early Monday morning in a one-car accident in Irving, Texas. He was 43. 

Bill Belichick coached Glenn as an assistant with the Patriots during Glenn's rookie season. He was later Glenn's head coach in 2000 and 2001. Belichick traded Glenn to the Packers before the 2002 season after a tumultuous run in New England that involved legal trouble, injuries and clashes with the coaching staff.

During a conference call with reporters soon after the news of Glenn's death was published, Belichick remembered Glenn for his natural physical ability and "a good heart."

"I was pretty close with Terry," Belichick said, "and his rookie season was my first year here in '96, and so I had a lot of interaction with him and other people that were involved in his life and his upbringing separate from the Patriots. Terry's a very smart individual. Had a lot of, obviously, a lot of physical skill and talent. Could do a lot of things on the football field very naturally. And I think he was deep down inside a good person with good intentions and, you know, a good heart. Obviously it's very unfortunate. Very unfortunate passing. I mean, it's a sad day. Sad news."

According to reports, Glenn was with his fiancee at the time of the accident. She's being treated at a local hospital for unspecified injuries.