Behind the Numbers: Packers hit low point following loss to Lions

Up against a one-win Detroit Lions team with an abysmal defense, the Green Bay Packers had the opportunity to get back in the win column in an effort to salvage this season. However, what we saw was yet another disappointing performance as the Packers fell to 3-6 and hit rock bottom.

Whether win or lose, we will be going Behind the Numbers with the stats and figures that you need to know about from the Packers’ performance.

9

Before this game took place, I wrote about how it was a prime get-right game for the Packers’ offense, given that this Lions’ defense is the worst in the NFL statistically. I also ended that same article by saying that if the Packers struggle, then there really is no hope for them to turn things around. Unfortunately, the latter took place.

The Lions dared Aaron Rodgers to throw the ball – which tells us a lot about the state of this offense – and did a very good job of bottling up the run game, holding Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to 59 rushing yards on 20 carries. The passing game was able to find success, totaling nearly 300 yards, but once again, Green Bay failed to find the end zone, in large part because of Rodgers throwing three interceptions. In what has been a mediocre season for Rodgers, this was by far his worst performance.

4

What in the heck were those final four plays by Rodgers? With two timeouts and roughly 50 seconds left, the Packers were just 17 yards away from winning the game. However, Rodgers was playing like they needed 45 yards and were down to 10 seconds. Two passes went flying out of bounds, nowhere near being caught. One was deflected, and on fourth down, the ball landed in some open grass, again, nowhere near being caught.

It looked like a lot of throwing the ball up and hoping something good happens, which brings us to a much larger issue in that the offense seems to be straying further away from some of Matt LaFleur’s core principles. With Rodgers not playing well and receivers who have not been able to win regularly, there were a lot of five-wide sets against Detroit. There is also the constant battle of motion vs. no motion. Playing under center vs. shotgun. Rodgers wants up-tempo, while LaFleur wants to huddle. LaFleur also wants play-action, bunch sets, and a balanced run-pass mix.

LaFleur and Rodgers trying to blend what each of them likes to do is nothing new, but with the team losing, the offense is straying away from what has worked in the past. Ultimately, this offense isn’t going to get fixed until those issues get sorted out.

25

On top of not executing, the Packers also continue to be their own worst enemy. Against the Lions, the Packers were flagged eight times, which brings their total to 25 penalties over the last three games. Green Bay’s 56 penalties on the season are the sixth most in the NFL. The margin of error is so small for this team that trying to overcome this many penalties each week feels like a nearly impossible task at the moment.

15

Credit to the Green Bay defense for their performance. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about this matchup beforehand. The Lions were averaging over 35 points per game at home and had an effective ground game coupled with a passing game that liked to push the ball downfield – which is a bad combination for this Packers’ defense. However, Green Bay held up well, holding the Lions to just 3.8 yards per rush, while Jared Goff threw for only 137 yards, along with an interception. Overall, the Lions were 6-of13 on third and fourth downs as well.

8

As of now, the Packers hold the eighth overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, and they are likely going to be moving up in the coming weeks. Green Bay’s next three games are against Dallas, Tennessee, and Philadelphia, who have a combined five losses. The Packers are staring 3-9 right in the face.

As I wrote recently, some high draft picks will help, but overall, it’s hard to see this team getting back to being a Super Bowl contender without drastic changes to how the offense is being run. There is minimal cap space again for Green Bay, which means outside of their draft picks, this team will look somewhat similar in 2023. The other alternative is Rodgers either retiring or working out a trade, which would likely send Green Bay into a rebuild. An infusion of some young talent would be great, but the issues the Packers have right now go beyond the personnel – there is already a lot of talent on this team; they shouldn’t have three wins.

9

To make matters worse, at one point, there were nine Packers players who left due to an injury. Jon Runyan and Robert Tonyan would both return, as would David Bakhtiari late in the game, but we will see what his status is this week. Aaron Jones has the potential to play against Dallas, while Christian Watson is not in concussion protocol and was held out for precautionary reasons. Romeo Doubs will be out for 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain, and Krys Barnes is in concussion protocol. In a huge blow to this team, Rashan Gary suffered a torn ACL, while LaFleur is concerned about Eric Stokes’ status moving forward.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire