For one half, things were looking great for the Detroit Lions. Then, Aaron Rodgers woke up.
The second half unraveled quickly for the Lions, as the defense failed to stop Rodgers and Jared Goff turned the ball over twice. In the end, this spelled doom.
Green Bay beat Detroit, 35-17, in primetime Monday. Here are three studs and duds from the showing.
STUD: TE T.J. Hockenson
As the season goes along, there is less and less doubt about the value of Hockenson to the Lions’ offense. It was clear during the offseason that he’d be a top option in the offense, and he’s exceeded those expectations.
Hockenson caught eight passes for 66 yards and a touchdown Monday night, further establishing himself as the best player on this roster. He truly does it all, catching passes and getting open at all three levels of the pass game.
DUD: LB Alex Anzalone
Anzalone was just overmatched by the Packers. He was exposed in pass coverage, seeming to always be a step slow against Green Bay running back Aaron Jones. Rodgers linked up with Jones for touchdowns three separate times.
It was a tough night for Anzalone, who looked to always be chasing the play while being a step behind. He wasn’t gap-sound on run plays, and couldn’t keep up in the passing game. He was also beat on a Rodgers touchdown pass to Robert Tonyan.
STUD: WR Quintez Cephus
Outside of Hockenson, Cephus is the best option for the Lions in the passing game. He showed this on Detroit’s opening drive, hauling in two big plays. The latter was a touchdown, an impressive toe-tapping grab in the right corner of the end zone.
After a solid showing late in the Lions' season-opening loss to San Francisco, Cephus continued his momentum in Week 2. Due to a lack of downfield passes, he likely won’t get a ton of opportunities. But, he’s certainly made the most of what he’s gotten so far.
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DUD: LB Jamie Collins
Collins was exposed early and often by the Packers’ decision to utilize Jones in the passing game. Early on, he wasn’t getting to his zones quick enough, and was getting dusted as a result.
When the Lions transitioned away from the zone scheme and into a man-to-man look, it became even tougher for Collins to cover Jones. This culminated in Green Bay’s last drive of the third quarter, when Jones cooked Collins on a route across the field and dashed into the end zone.
STUD: C Frank Ragnow
For a half, Detroit’s offensive line was moving people. In both pass and run situations, the front five was all over Green Bay, creating run lanes and time for Jared Goff to throw. Ragnow anchored this effort.
Detroit was forced to abandon the run in the second half, but even so, Ragnow and company still gave Goff plenty of time to throw. With him and the Lions’ other young members on the line, there’s a ton of potential with this position group.
DUD: OLB Trey Flowers
Flowers really struggled. His limits were exposed, as Jones ran by him all night, both in the passing game and on runs.
All of this was amplified by the fact the Lions couldn’t get much pressure on Rodgers in key situations. The Packers took advantage of the pass-rush struggles by firing quick passes and pairing this with occasional downfield shots. Flowers had a tough time doing what he’s been paid so much to do -- getting to the quarterback.
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