We’ve seen some great Lions/Packers games over the years. This wasn’t one of them.
The Lions entered Monday night’s matchup on a three-game losing streak. Now the Packers are the ones on a three-game slide. Detroit’s victory at Lambeau Field, a rarity for them, was hardly a nail-biter as the Lions surged to a 14-3 lead before halftime and never looked back. Matthew Stafford, a high school teammate of World Series runner-up Clayton Kershaw (which, by law, must be mentioned in every Lions broadcast), pulled Detroit back to .500 with perhaps his finest outing of the year. He flung the football with Kershaw-like precision, completing 26-of-33 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns. Stafford did most of his destruction after halftime, carving up Green Bay for 224 yards in the second half.
After going the first five weeks without a 300-yard game, Stafford has now eclipsed 300 yards passing in each of his last three contests while distributing five touchdowns during that span. Not only did the 29-year-old erase the Lions’ losing streak, but he made a bit of history in the process. Stafford delivered his 200th career touchdown pass on Monday night, becoming the fourth-youngest player to reach that milestone behind only Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino.
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Stafford wasn’t the only Lion to flex his fantasy muscles. Marvin Jones was the recipient of both Stafford touchdowns on Monday night including a 25-yard gem to get the scoring started in the first quarter. Jones would later add an 11-yarder in the fourth for good measure. Both touchdowns were of the highlight-reel variety with Jones devouring Davon House for his first score (there may have been a push-off on the play but any Michael Jordan fan can appreciate that) before leaping over Damarious Randall for his second of the night.
Jones has worn the boom-or-bust moniker throughout his career, but lately he’s been much more boom than bust. Including Monday night’s 107-yard effort, Jones has totaled a robust 338 yards over his last three outings with three touchdowns during that stretch. The 27-year-old has already made more end-zone visits this year (five) than all of last season (four). Golden Tate also had a productive game for Detroit, pulling in seven catches for a season-high 113 yards in the rout.
Detroit was less successful on the ground, managing a mere 64 yards on 33 carries (1.9 yards per carry). Lead back Ameer Abdullah saw a career-high 21 carries but squandered his big workload by limping to just 48 rushing yards. Abdullah also committed a pair of fumbles, though he did salvage the day for fantasy owners by punching in a goal-line touchdown before halftime. That capped a 13-play, 91-yard drive for the Lions. Abdullah’s first fumble was recovered by the Packers on their own 27-yard line while the second was absorbed by teammate Rick Wagner just shy of the end zone. The third-year back was immediately replaced by Theo Riddick though neither Riddick nor Stafford were able to score on the next two plays as Detroit settled for a 19-yard field goal to go up 20-3 with 12:31 remaining.
Handed the impossible task of filling Aaron Rodgers’ shoes, Brett Hundley predictably struggled in the Packers’ 30-17 defeat. The third-year signal caller wasn’t able to establish much of a presence downfield, aside from a 46-yard screen pass to Randall Cobb deep into garbage time. That completion was a career-long for Hundley, who also added four rushes for 22 yards and a touchdown.
While Hundley couldn’t match Stafford’s heroics, Monday’s performance would certainly count as a step in the right direction following lousy outings against Minnesota (18-for-33, 157 yards, one TD, three INT) and New Orleans (12-for-25, 87 yards, one INT). Hundley was reasonably efficient in operating Green Bay’s no-huddle offense and didn’t commit any turnovers, though he still held onto the ball too long and again failed to form any kind of connection with Jordy Nelson (four catches for 35 yards). This was never going to be one of Nelson’s better weeks squaring off with shutdown corner Darius Slay, but it’s a red flag that he’s caught just five-of-11 targets for 48 yards in Hundley’s two starts.
The Packers probably would have preferred to hide Hundley behind a strong running game, a common tactic among teams with flawed or inexperienced signal-callers. But that option quickly went off the table once Detroit jumped out to an early lead. Aaron Jones, who has emerged as the workhorse in recent weeks, took a clear backseat on Monday night as pass-catcher Ty Montgomery led the backfield with 51 yards from scrimmage. Jones became non-existent after halftime, contributing just one carry for three yards after the break with Green Bay in catch-up mode.
A brutal night for Aaron Jones owners was made worse when third-string running back Jamaal Williams plunged into the end zone for his first career touchdown on the game’s final play. That’s a gut punch but I can top it—Hundley’s rushing touchdown was the final nail in my coffin in a two-quarterback league. In a game that featured two fumbles, a blocked field goal and another kick that clanked off the uprights, it was only fitting for the night to end with fantasy owners ripping their hair out over meaningless garbage-time stats. Here’s a sobering thought. The Packers (4-4), once considered overwhelming favorites to win the NFC North, are now closer to the last-place Bears (3-5) than the first-place Vikings (6-2).
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Quick Hits: Jameis Winston will be shut down for at least two weeks after re-injuring his shoulder in Sunday’s loss to New Orleans. Ryan Fitzpatrick will fill in during his absence. Week 10 against the Jets will be the first game Winston has missed since entering the league in 2015 … Mike Evans was handed a one-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness. This stems from an incident Sunday when Evans laid a blindside hit on Saints CB Marcus Lattimore. Evans was flagged for a personal foul on the play … Despite a miserable outing against the Eagles in Week 9, Brock Osweiler will be back under center for Sunday versus the Patriots. The 3-5 Broncos have lost four straight … Jeremy Kerley is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on PEDs. Now in his second stint with the Jets, Kerley has managed 22 catches for 217 yards and one touchdown this season … With New York in the midst of a lost season, Giants coach Ben McAdoo implied that the team could look at other quarterbacks including third-round rookie Davis Webb down the stretch. If the Giants go that route, it would end Eli Manning’s streak of 219 consecutive starts (postseason included), which began during his rookie year in 2004 … Jaguars coach Doug Marrone expects Leonard Fournette to return against the Chargers in Week 10. Fournette was benched Sunday for violating team rules and hasn’t played since Week 6 due to an ankle injury and Jacksonville’s bye week … Josh Gordon is expected to report to the Browns’ facility on Tuesday and can resume practicing on November 20. Gordon was reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell last week following an indefinite suspension for repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy … In other Gordon news, the wide receiver admitted in an interview with GQ that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol for “probably every game” of his career. Gordon, who finished his most recent rehab stint in September, hasn’t played an NFL game since 2014 … Corey Coleman practiced Monday for the first time since breaking his hand in Week 2. He’ll be eligible to come off injured reserve in Week 11 … Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Blair Walsh isn’t in danger of losing his job despite missing all three of his field goal attempts in Week 9. Walsh had been 12-for-13 on the year before unraveling Sunday against Washington … C.J. Prosise is expected to make his return in Week 10 after missing four of the last five games with a high-ankle sprain. The second-year back has totaled 107 yards from scrimmage across four appearances this year … Ezekiel Elliott is hoping to have his six-game suspension overturned by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and will have his case heard Thursday at 2 PM ET. Elliott was suspended for domestic violence allegations made by his ex-girlfriend in 2016 … George Kittle has already been ruled out for Week 10 after injuring his ankle in Sunday’s loss to Arizona. The fifth-round pick ranks second among rookie tight ends with 277 receiving yards this year … Tom Savage is expected to draw another start Sunday against the Rams. Deshaun Watson’s season-ending knee injury has left Savage atop Houston’s quarterback depth chart … A.J. Green won’t be suspended for his altercation with Jalen Ramsey on Sunday. Green was ejected for putting Ramsey in a chokehold and punching him … Dez Bryant is day-to-day with knee and ankle injuries. Even playing hurt, Bryant still managed 73 yards in Sunday’s win over the Chiefs, his most since Week 4 ... Stephon Gilmore is expected to return for Week 10 after missing New England’s last three games with a concussion. Johnson Bademosi has been starting in Gilmore’s place … Denzel Perryman is expected to make his season debut Sunday versus Jacksonville. The third-year linebacker hasn’t seen the field since suffering an ankle injury during the preseason.