GREEN BAY – At least the coach didn’t sugarcoat it.
“They manhandled us in every phase,” Matt LaFleur said of his Packers 34-20 loss to the Detroit Lions on Thursday Night Football at Lambeau Field.
“There’s a lot of improvement for us,” LaFleur continued. “Anytime you go out there and you can’t effectively run the football and conversely can’t stop the run, that’s a recipe for losing football.”
The first half was particularly troublesome, with Green Bay garnering surrendering 284 yards while gaining just 21 on offense.
Detroit led at the intermission, 27-3, and it looked bleak.
Perhaps taking a page from this past Sunday’s comeback win over New Orleans, Green Bay came out with purpose in the second half.
Quarterback Jordan Love engineered a 12-play, 86-yard drive that culminated in Christian Watson’s first touchdown pass reception of the season. The two-point conversion made the score 27-11.
Green Bay’s defense forced Detroit to punt from their own 27, with the Packers looking for some of the same magic that lifted them to victory on this same field just days earlier.
The Packers caught a break when play was not stopped despite the game clock hitting 0:00 before the ball was snapped at the end of the third quarter. Love found a streaking Jayden Reed down the right side for a 44-yard pass reception that took the ball down to the Detroit 9-yard line.
Two plays later, Love scampered up the middle for a 9-yard touchdown run and suddenly Green Bay was down by just 10 points as the final quarter was beginning.
But that was as close as the Packers would get.
“I don’t think anybody’s feeling sorry for us,” LaFleur continued. “So we have to get better. We have to look at what we’re asking our guys to do. Everything wasn’t good enough.
“The plan wasn’t good enough.”
Love finished his day 23-36 for 246 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
“We weren’t executing,” Love said of the first half. “To start the game, getting the ball in scoring position right there and I think we went three-and-out right away. So just not executing, not converting on third downs and just not putting ourselves in great positions to get positive plays going forward.”
Aaron Jones, playing in his first game since the season opener in Chicago, carried the ball just five times for 18 yards. A.J. Dillon never got going, either, carrying five times for just 11 yards.
If there was a bright spot, second-year receiver Romeo Doubs caught 9 balls for 95 yards.
The Packers will hold workouts Friday inside their new indoor walkthrough facility at Lambeau Field Friday before allowing players to leave town for a few days before preparations for their Oct. 9 game at Las Vegas begin.