Week 9: No Rodgers, No Problem (for Lions)
This might have been the best the Lions have looked all season long on both sides of the ball.
This game was brought to you by the letter U for URGENCY. The Lions riding a 3 game losing streak enterng this game. Stafford talked this week to his teammates about wanting to start hot -- in fact one of his receivers, Marvin Jones, hinted to us pre-game a big play was coming early in the game...
And boy was he right. on the Lions opening possession, On 2nd and 5 in the first quarter - Stafford sees Jones sprinting toward the end zone - Jones makes an insane grab and Detroit gets its first TD on an opening drive so far this season. Exactly how they scripted it. Jones, signed in free agency last year, is becoming a very good deep ball receiver for this offense.
Stafford: "He played great. Marv's a really talented guy. He's got great body control, and he's made some really tough contested catches like he did tonight. All the guys played well, I thought. I didn't think anybody was off their game, so that was nice."
Marvin Jones: "Matt (Stafford) threw some great throws, and I just did what I love to do. Go up there and get them. So it was good execution, good playcall. He put it where it needed to be, and I just catch it and make sure my feet is in."
There's something about Marvin Jones and playing Green Bay... Since joining the Lions via free agency before the 2016 season, Jones has played the Packers three times now – twice last year and once this year. In those three games, Jones has caught 18 passes for 386 yards with four touchdowns.
Most importantly, he's developing into a reliable scoring option for a team that has been unreliable at scoring.
Here's the thing.... This was the first game I've been to at Lambeau where the opposing team dominated from start to finish -- OL TJ Lang said after a 3 game slide they needed a win today for their confidence, to re affirm our beliefs we're a pretty damn good football team.
This was a statement win in a place that's difficult to do so... after the opening drive touchdown, then went missed field goal/touchdown/field goal/fumble/field goal/touchdown/field goal. Notice what's missing there? For the first time since November 1971, they did not punt. I spoke to players about how much momentum this gives them for the second half.
Darius Slay: "It sets us up good we are undefeated in Division and that is good for us."
Golden Tate: "A statement game, good to get rolling on road in first cold game"
Ameer Abdullah: "Every division game counted for 2, Matt was keyed on that all week."
I spoke to a few players including Lang who talked about what a driving force Matthew Stafford is in the locker room, getting everyone on the same page, and firing everybody up.