Detroit Lions - TeamReport
NFL Team Report - Detroit Lions - INSIDE SLANT
The Detroit Lions defensive linemen came out as a group Thursday during pre-game introductions. It was a sign of solidarity and it was a message to the Packers that they were on a mission.
Josh Sitton had called the Lions defensive linemen and their coaches "dirtbags" and "scumbags" in a radio interview on Wednesday. Suffice to say, he poked the wrong bear.
The Lions' response to that was to sack quarterback Matt Flynn seven times, including a safety by Ndamukong Suh, allow the Packers just 126 total yards and seven first downs in a 40-10 beatdown.
"Some things come back and bite you," center Dominic Raiola said. "Those guys looked unblockable."
The Packers had just 57 total yards through three quarters. Their longest run from scrimmage the entire day was four yards. Rookie defensive ends Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor had two sacks each. Taylor forced a fumble. Defensive end Willie Young recovered another fumble. DeAndre Levy picked off his sixth pass of the season.
"Not too bad for a bunch of scumbags, I'd say," Young said afterward.
Mostly, the players tried to downplay Sitton's comments.
"Guys are allowed their opinion," Suh said. "People have their opinions about me. Just go out and play. It (the talk) really doesn't mean anything to our defensive line, our team and our coaches. Just go out and execute. The most important thing is winning.
"For me, personally, there was no other motivation. It's just words."
That said, Suh had one of his most productive days -- four tackles, a sack and a safety, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits, one pass deflection and no personal fouls.
Playing a mean, aggressive game without taking dumb penalties was a victory in itself for the defensive line.
"I don't know if you take it personally, but you sure as heck hear it," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "What I was most proud of was how they played. I told the guys before the game when we were breaking it down before we left the locker room, 'This is my favorite time of the week, when the game comes, because talk is cheap. Now is the time to go do something about it.' Our guys responded."
Sitton didn't back off his comments, but he took his medicine like a pro.
"It's embarrassing," he said. "We got our (butts) beat, plain and simple. They smacked us today. I've been playing this game a long time. This is one of the worst beatings I've ever been a part of."
NFL Team Report - Detroit Lions - NOTES, QUOTES
--It was quite a day for Lions center Dominic Raiola. He not only played in his 200th game -- only Jason Hanson has played in more with the Lions -- he got a warm ovation from the crowd, a game ball from his teammates, he ended the nine-year drought on Thanksgiving and, he was part of one of the most impressive offensive line efforts in recent memory.
"I'm going to enjoy this one," he said. "It was the first one in a long time. Not only did we win convincingly, but there was no stress in the fourth quarter. It was a good way to do Thanksgiving and now we get to enjoy the day. It meant so much for this organization to get this today. Not just for what we did today, but to propel us for the rest of the season."
The Lions had a 561-126 edge in total offense. They had 241 rushing yards, the most in nine seasons. Reggie Bush had 182 total yards (117 rushing) and Joique Bell had a career-best 94 yards rushing (128 total yards).
"We just do what we are asked to do," Raiola said. "Those guys are hell of a running backs. I wouldn't trade those two for anyone in the league. They're explosive, look what they did today."
It had to be extra satisfying for Raiola and guards Rob Sims and Larry Warford. They lost their individual battles in Green Bay earlier this season.
"This feels so awesome right now," Raiola said.
--The light is starting to come on for rookie cornerback Darius Slay. He made his first start since Week 2, replacing an injured Chris Houston (foot), and performed well. He broke up three passes and only gave up one big play, a 56-yard pass to James Jones on the Packers' final possession, a ball that Slay appeared to tip.
"Darius has worked really hard and he had the opportunity today and he played well," coach Jim Schwartz said. "I feel a little bad for him on that last play. I thought he was going to make an interception."
--Add linebacker DeAndre Levy to the growing list of defensive players frustrated by the ever-shrinking strike zone in the NFL.
"It's a joke, man," said Levy. "The NFL's becoming a joke with some of these calls." Levy, who intercepted his league-leading sixth pass, was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a hit on tight end Ryan Taylor in the third quarter. He and linebacker Stephen Tulloch sandwiched him. Levy targeted his chest, but as Tulloch crunched him from behind, Taylor's head went forward and went helmet-to-helmet with Levy.
"I mean, it is what it is right now," Levy said. "Hopefully they review it and see that it was a clean hit. I felt like it was. I didn't see it on the screen, so we'll see."
NFL Team Report - Detroit Lions - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--WR Calvin Johnson caught six passes for 101 yards with a 20-yard touchdown. He has caught a touchdown pass in five straight Thanksgiving Day games. With the 101 receiving yards, Johnson broke Jerry Rice's NFL record for most receiving yards over three seasons -- 4.944. Johnson set the record in 43 games. Rice did it in 48 games.
--RB Reggie Bush fumbled inside the Packers 10 on the team's first possession. It was his third fumble in five games. But he was undeterred. He wound up with 117 yards rushing and 65 yards receiving.
--RB Joique Bell had a career-best 94 yards rushing. The Lions' 241 rushing yards was the most in nine seasons.
--WR Jeremy Ross had a big day against his former team. He caught a 5-yard touchdown pass. He ran a reverse for 24 yards. He had a punt return of 35 yards and a kickoff return for 30. He also had a 60-yard punt return nullified by a penalty.
--CB Bill Bentley did a masterful job on Packers slot receiver Jordy Nelson. He limited him to two catches on four targets for 14 yards.
--OLB DeAndre Levy became the third linebacker in franchise history to produce six interceptions in a season and the first since Joe Schmidt did it in 1958. His six picks leads the NFL.
--DE Ziggy Ansah is making a late push for rookie of the year. With two sacks in each of the last two games, he leads the team and all other rookie defensive ends with seven.
--CB Chris Houston (foot) did not play Thursday.
--WR Calvin Johnson (knee, back) came out of the game after falling hard on his back early in the fourth quarter. Coach Jim Schwartz said it was precautionary and he could have finished if they needed him to.
REPORT CARD VS. PACKERS
PASSING OFFENSE: A- -- Turnovers remain an issue, but quarterback Matthew Stafford's accuracy and decision-making were spot-on. He completed 22 of 35 passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted twice -- that's six in two games -- and he gave up a sack-fumble that resulted in a defensive touchdown for the Packers.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- A dominant performance by the offensive line. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell combined for 211 of the team's 241 rushing yards. It was the best run production the Lions have had in nine years.
PASS DEFENSE: A -- Seven sacks, five by defensive linemen. A safety by Ndamukong Suh. A sack-fumble by Devin Taylor. Quarterback Matt Flynn completed 10 of 20 passes for just 139 yards.
RUSH DEFENSE: A -- The longest run of the day for the Packers was four yards. Running back Eddie Lacy, who had been hot, was limited to 16 yards on 10 carries. The team had 24 rushing yards total. The Lions are the first team since 1933 to limit opponents to 62 yards or less and no rushing touchdowns in six straight games. The Lions haven't allowed a rushing touchdown in eight straight games, 34 quarters.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- The kicking game let them down a bit. Sam Martin had two kickoffs go out of bounds. David Akers missed a 31-yard field goal. Martin only had to punt once. Jeremy Ross had a 35-yard punt return and a 30-yard kickoff return. He has seemingly wrested the job away from Micheal Spurlock.
COACHING: A -- Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan pressed all the right buttons. He mixed the run and pass expertly and kept the Packers off-balance and guessing wrong all game. Defensively, coordinator Gunther Cunningham had his players loaded for bear after a couple sub-standard performances and a lot of public criticism.