Lions stun Packers on the backs of the Detroit youth movement

The Detroit Lions sure didn’t look confident down the stretch and made several mistakes. Fortunately for Dan Campbell and the Lions, the Green Bay Packers tried just a little harder to lose Sunday’s game at Ford Field.

Detroit prevailed 15-9 over Green Bay in a sloppy, weird game. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers couldn’t connect with anyone on a last-ditch fourth down conversion, and the Lions escaped with a rare win in a close game.

The top story from the game was the play of the youngsters on the Lions. The NFL’s most youthful team is relying heavily on player development of the young talent. It has not consistently shone over the first eight weeks, but the precocious Lions played with legitimate promise against the Packers.

Rookie safety Kerby Joseph picked off two passes in the red zone and broke up another would-be TD pass from Rodgers. Rookie DE Aidan Hutchinson made a phenomenal read and picked off another Rodgers pass in the end zone. Second-year LB Derrick Barnes deflected the first Joseph INT (off his helmet) and made several good stops in the run game. Fellow sophomore Jerry Jacobs got beaten some but also stepped up with strong man coverage and a timely tackle for loss as well in his first extended action. And that was just the defensive side of the ball.

Rookie TE James Mitchell caught his first career touchdown pass and also secured another first down with his other reception. Second-year TE Shane Zylstra caught the other Lions touchdown as a practice squad elevation. Right tackle Penei Sewell had a respectable game; not perfect, but a good one. So did third-year LG Jonah Jackson, looking very much like the Pro Bowler he was in 2021. Second-year WR Amon-Ra St. Brown led the team in receptions and yards and also threw a great block on RB Jamaal Williams’ best run of the day.

This was the manifestation of the rebuilding mindset. Lean on the young players and let them grow. Let them learn how to win together. It’s taken painfully long for this young core to find the path to victory, but better late than never. It also took a truly awful game from the injury-ravaged Packers, but Campbell and the Lions will not apologize for the victory.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire