Lions vs. Packers score, takeaways: David Montgomery scores three TDs, Detroit sinks NFC North rivals on road
Detroit takes over first place in the NFC North
The Detroit Lions emphatically ended Aaron Rodgers' era in Green Bay 263 days ago. On Thursday night, Dan Campbell's team handed Rodgers' successor, Jordan Love, a loss in his first prime-time start in a convincing 34-20 win for the visiting team.
After giving up an early field goal, the Lions steamrolled the Packers for the remainder of the first half and led 27-3 at intermission. Love, four days after leading Green Bay to a comeback win over the Saints in Week 3, helped the Packers cut their deficit to 10 points after starting the second half with consecutive scoring drives. But the Lions responded with a game-sealing scoring drive while improving to 3-1 and in sole possession of first place in the NFC North. It was the Lions' fourth straight win over the Packers, who fell to 2-2.
The Lions enjoyed a solid game from quarterback Jared Goff, who shook off an early interception by throwing a touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown midway through the first quarter. Running back David Montgomery rumbled for over 121 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries, while defensive end Aidan Hutchinson's 1.5 sacks paced the Lions' defense.
It was a historically bad night for the Packers, whose halftime deficit was the third highest in Lambeau Field history and the largest since 2006. Green Bay was out-gained 284-20 in the first half and had 12 fewer first downs than Detroit in the game's first 30 minutes. It was a particularly tough night for Love, who threw two interceptions and was sacked five times.
Here's a closer look at what went down in Lambeau.
Why the Lions won
Detroit dominated the first half and never let the Packers get to within one score in the second half. The Lions built their big lead largely on the strength of their pass rush, a bruising rushing attack and several timely third-down completions from Goff, who is 11-3 in his last 14 starts.
The Lions took the Packers' best punch in the second half and ended any hopes of a comeback by orchestrating a 14-play, 75-yard drive that milked nearly nine minutes off the clock. The drive was punctuated by Montgomery's third touchdown run of the night.
Why the Packers lost
While the Lions played complementary football, the Packers did anything but. Green Bay's outmanned offensive line (which was playing without starters David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins) gave up four first-half sacks while putting Love in tough spots. Love also received no support from a running game that gained just 27 yards on 12 carries. Conversely, the Packers' defense gave up 211 yards on 43 carries.
Green Bay's defense also surrendered several big third downs conversions in the first half. Several of those conversions were big gains that led to Lions points. Detroit's first touchdown, for example, came one play after Goff hit tight end Sam LaPorta for 35 yards on a third-and-five play.
Down 27-17, the Packers had forced the Lions to settle for a field goal after Detroit drove to Green Bay's 12-yard-line midway through the fourth quarter. But the Lions were awarded a first down when Packers linebacker Quay Walker was penalized during Riley Patterson's field goal attempt. Detroit made it a 34-17 game four plays later on Montgomery's third touchdown run. The score all but ended the Packers' comeback bid.
The penalty overshadowed Walker's 19-tackle night that included 10 solo stops.
Play of the game
Wideout Kalif Raymond's 40-yard run symbolized the Lions' first-half dominance. The big play included a key block from Goff, who has enjoyed a career resurgence in Detroit.
"I grew up with Aaron Rodgers kicking our ass every year. It's good to be on the winning side of things. Aaron's out of the division. Life is good right now, but we're gonna keep working." -- Hutchinson, a Michigan native, said during his postgame interview on Amazon.
"It's very humbling, and embarrassing." -- Packers coach Matt LaFleur said when asked during the broadcast to sum up the Packers' first half.
The Packers don't play again until Oct. 9, when they face the Raiders in Las Vegas on Monday night. That will be Green Bay's last game before their bye week.
Detroit will be back in action next Sunday against the Panthers. That will be the Lions' lone home game during a four-week period that includes Thursday's game against Green Bay.
All the Packers need to do now is recover an onside kick, score a touchdown, recover another onside kick with enough time remaining to score another touchdown, score that touchdown, and then try to win it in overtime (or go for two).
Goff decided to eat the sack there rather than risk the throw to St. Brown on the crosser. Looked like he was open for a split-second but with the three-score lead it wasn't worth the risk and it was probably better to make the Packers burn their second timeout.
And there's a probable game-sealing pick by Jerry Jacobs. Did not look like Love and Romeo Doubs were on the same page there. Doubs tried to turn upfield to give Love something to work with on the scramble drill but Love released the throw at basically the same time. Lions will try to run out as much clock as possible now.
Oof. Branch left the game earlier with an ankle injury, only to come back in. Not sure why he is on the field with the Lions up by three scores and less than five minutes left, to potentially be injured again.