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Lions Curb Stomp Packers In Biggest Win Of The Holmes/Campbell Era

Since Brad Holmes became the general manager of the Detroit Lions on January 14th, 2021, there has been no more significant a game than the one played this Thursday, September 28th, 2023.

In the last 2 1/2 years Brad Holmes has taken a Detroit Lions team devoid of talent and in cap hell and has transformed it into a team full of hope, no more exemplified by the win over Green Bay at Lambeau Field in Week 18 last year, to end the Green Bay Packers hopes of the playoffs.

However, for all the promise shown up till now, this was the biggest test the regime has had. Early in the season, a team full of hope against their biggest enemy, and their closest rivals for the division. The Detroit Lions (2-1) were joint leaders for the division with the Green Bay Packers (2-1), and so the winner had the chance to not only take sole lead in the NFC North but also have one hand on the grip of a vital tie break here come the end of the season.

With that in mind the Detroit Lions were bolstered pre-game by the news that left tackle Taylor Decker and running back David Montgomery were both fit to play which are vital parts of the running attack which the Lions so identify with.

The game itself started in the worst possible way with pressure from Green Bay up front, leading to a poor Jared Goff interception throwing off his back foot, into the middle of the field against zone defense. Rudy Ford plucked it out of the air and took it all the way to the Detroit 15 for a great starting field position. That this didn't turn into seven points was a big bolster for the Lions overall, the defense held firm and gave up zero net yards, thanks to a big Hutchinson sack, to force a field goal and give Green Bay their only lead of the night. 3-0 GB

From then on it was all Detroit Lions, first a big Sam LaPorta catch for 35 yards on 3rd down followed by a touchdown to Amon-Ra St Brown, where he made a great heads-up play, turning his curl route into a go-ball when Rasul Douglas slipped. 7-3 DET.

Detroit's defense then gets to work with a big sack by Isaiah Buggs, setting Green Bay back and forcing a three and out, with some GB flags for good measure.

Detroit's next possession from good field position started very well with a 23-yard gain to Josh Reynolds, a couple of runs from David Montgomery and then Jared Goff finding some wheels to gain 11. From goal-to-go situations, two David Montgomery runs ended in a touchdown. 14-3 DET.

Green Bay's offense stuttered yet again with two AJ Dillon runs before an incomplete pass to Romeo Doubs leading to another three and out. At this point, Jordan Love has only completed 1 pass for 9 yards and no first downs.

Detroit, instead of slowing down, put their pedal to the metal. Jared Goff threw deep to Josh Reynolds for 26 on first down and then pulled out a fabulous trick play; a handoff to Gibbs before he flipped it to Kalif Raymond on an end-around that went for 40 yards. The drive does stall eventually after a holding penalty against Jonah Jackson and must settle for a 33-yard field goal and a 17 to 3 lead.

Green Bay started to feel the pressure. They held on the kickoff, which set them back ten yards, and then the real hammer blow; Love threw over the middle, the ball was tipped by Alex Anzalone, the receiver was laid out by Tracy Walker, and the ball was caught one-handed by Jerry Jacobs. Jacobs returned the ball 20 yards to the Green Bay 7-yard line. Two further runs by David Montgomery led to a touchdown, and the Lions suddenly found themselves 21 points ahead at 24 to 3.

The next few drives stall out for both teams, before a final Lions drive bleeds the clock very nicely, a good move by Amon-Ra St. Brown on the 3rd and 10 converted before the drive ends on 4th and 6 at the GB 19, a 37-yard field goal is good, and the Lions lead 27-3 at the half.

Diagnosis: demolition job. The Lions were dominant on both sides of the ball following the Goff interception early, and it went as well as it could have been expected to in their wildest dreams.

Green Bay knew they had to hit back early in the second half and they did that quite early on. The Lions had a few injuries in this drive, including Brian Branch (who may be questionable going forward to Carolina) which introduced Will Harris to the fray. There was also an interesting illegal hands-to-the-face penalty (leaving some Lions fans with PTSD) on Aidan Hutchinson and an unnecessary roughness penalty called on Alex Anzalone which was also somewhat questionable. A miscommunication between Jerry Jacobs and Will Harris left Christian Watson wide open in the end zone and a two-point conversion succeeded for a 27 to 11 scoreline.

A couple of possessions later and perhaps the most controversial incident of the entire game; At the end of the third quarter, the clock clearly hit 0:00 for at least a second, and yet the play was allowed to continue. A really good deep pass by Jordan Love to Jayden Reed for 44 yards flips the Green Bay field from their own 47 to Detroit 9. A subsequent scramble by Jordan Love on 2nd and goal from the six meant that Green Bay ended up 27 to 17 behind, however, a two-point conversion failed with a massive John Cominsky tackle on Jordan Love as he tried to walk in by himself. Phew, still a two-possession game.

The Lions, now with the ball and still two possessions up saw an opportunity to really end. So ensued a largely running drive led by David Montgomery who was very much in-flow. This was also broken up with a throw to Josh Reynolds to catch the Green Bay defense by surprise. The drive did stall out and the field goal was kicked by Riley Patterson to give the Lions a 13-point lead, however, on the kick Quay Walker jumped over the line committing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which was accepted by the Lions, creating first down and goal. Montgomery punched it in on 4th down and goal from the one and the extra point was good leaving the Lions 17 points up and three possessions up late on in the game.

There was no coming back from this for Green Bay, and they actually ended up committing another interception in the red zone. Jacobs read a crossing route to Romeo Doubs near the end zone and jumped it for an interception. Green Bay added three points late but ended up with a 34-20 final score.

All along the Lions did what they needed to do. The first half was utterly dominant and given a big lead they killed the clock, effectively slowed Green Bay down, forced them to take time-outs, forced the ball into Jordan Love’s hands, and forced them to commit mistakes. It was very telling that in our preview podcast Peter, the Green Bay podcaster and fan, said that the Green Bay Packers would have no chance in this game if they could not effectively run the ball, and the Packers ended the game with 10 rushes from running backs for a total of 29 yards, so they had no chance.

With this victory the Lions have made a statement to the rest of the league, they're here, and they are ready to compete for it all. Who will want to face this team? This team has grit but it also has quality, and they displayed it in spades.

The other point to mention is the incredible support shown away from home by the Lions faithful. There was a huge amount of fans in Lambeau Field, and it really showed with audible chants happening around the stadium throughout the game, and the amount of fans who stayed in the stadium afterward was to be applauded. Well done Lions fans you made a terrific impact.


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Comments (2)

Ash, thank you so much for doing these. You and the rest of the ROTL UK gang are fantastic!


Jerimy Walker
Jerimy Walker
Apr 30, 2023

Greetings, I was glad to listen to your interesting interview. The season went really well. I liked the quality of your broadcast, which application did you use for this? Is it on this list? I just want to do live broadcasts

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