- Brett Hundley's struggles under center aren't the only reason behind the Packers' demise. Lions quarterback Matt Stafford completely picked apart Green Bay's defense.
GREEN BAY, Wisc. — Three thoughts from the Lions’ convincing 30-17 victory over the Packers Monday night at Lambeau Field.
1. After a second disappointing performance with Brett Hundley at the helm, and a potentially severe injury to Bryan Bulaga in the second half of a double-digit loss, it's tempting to write off these Packers for 2017 despite a 4–4 record. Hundley—the third-year pro doing his best to fill in for the irreplaceable Aaron Rodgers at quarterback—admittedly looked sharper in the second half of his third game, as he finished completing 26-of-38 passes for 245 yards with a rushing touchdown, no passing scores and no interceptions. Still, this is an offense accustomed to play-extending pocket footwork and scrambling, quick throws under pressure and pinpoint passes on the run—and Hundley predictably has not delivered what Rodgers could. His would-be saving grace—a productive running game— was absent Sunday night, with Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones struggling against a surprisingly stout Detroit run defense featuring Tahir Whitehead and the sure-tackling Glover Quin.
2. Matt Stafford was at his very best Monday night against a defense with a reputation for being kind to opposing passers. In completing 26-of-33 passes with two scores and no turnovers, Stafford was rarely pressured by an inept pass rush. His connections with Marvin Jones Jr. and Golden Tate in particular demonstrated the sort of chemistry with pass-catchers Stafford hasn't had with receivers since Calvin Johnson. All of this came despite a weak running game that came up with some early gashes up the middle, but it ultimately stalled, with Ameer Abdullah finishing with 48 yards on 21 carries.
3. Green Bay's defensive backfield will take the brunt of criticism for the defense’s struggles, but Clay Matthews and Co. have done close to nothing as pass rushers in losses to the Vikings, Saints and now Lions. As a unit, the Packers have managed just 12 sacks to their opponents’ 24. There were numerous instances on Sunday night when the Packers rushed five and were contained long enough for Stafford to find one of his man-coverage-beating receivers. The struggles of this defense begin with Matthews and outside linebacker Nick Perry, who have failed to deliver on third-and-long at critical junctures.