Lions grades: Secondary shines in rattling Pack
Quarterback: He wasn't perfect, but Matthew Stafford made plays at crucial times that helped the Lions win the game. His poise on the Lions' final touchdown drive as he converted two third downs, including one in which he scrambled for a while, was far more important than his statistics — 24 of 38 for 242 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Running backs: The team's longest run was an 11-yard gain by wide receiver Golden Tate, so this was far from a banner day. The Lions gained just 45 yards on 26 carries, and Ameer Abdullah's 3-yard average was by far the best among the running backs. Theo Riddick and Joique Bell had some nice plays in the passing game, but otherwise, this was a poor performance.
Wide receivers: As was the case with the quarterback, timing was the best aspect of the performance by the receivers. Golden Tate's 43-yard catch and run late in the fourth quarter was a huge play to set up what proved to be the game-winning touchdown. Calvin Johnson had six catches for 81 yards despite not having a catch in the first quarter. And Lance Moore had three catches for 29 yards, including that final touchdown.
Tight ends: Brandon Pettigrew caught a touchdown pass for the first time since 2013. Eric Ebron had four catches for 28 yards, but at least a couple drops, which remains a recurring issue.
Offensive line: There were some plays the Packers had no problem disrupting, but considering the Lions didn't give up a sack and allowed just three quarterback hits, this was a pretty solid effort. The run blocking was really bad, which is part of the reason the Lions replaced LaAdrian Waddle with Michael Ola at right tackle, but the line provided enough time when Matthew Stafford needed it.
Defensive line: There were some plays early where Aaron Rodgers had way too much time to throw, but the Lions eventually created some pressure, sacking him three times and hitting him four others. Ziggy Ansah's late roughing-the-passer penalty was problematic, though.
Linebackers: Tahir Whitehead had his longest run of the season, and although he had some lapses in coverage, he played well with eight tackles, one for loss, one sack and one pass defensed. Stephen Tulloch made some nice plays in the run game, too.
Secondary: Cornerback Darius Slay did an excellent job covering James Jones all day, holding the big-play threat without a catch. Nevin Lawson looked overmatched early against Green Bay receiver Davante Adams, but Lawson did well for much of the game. The Lions went with Isa Abdul-Quddus at safety instead of James Ihedigbo for much of the game, and the backup had eight tackles while Glover Quin added seven, including one that forced a fumble.
Special teams: Matt Prater missing two extra points nearly cost the Lions the game, but Ameer Abdullah's 104-yard kickoff return helped ignite the team in the second half, though he probably should score on such a play. Golden Tate averaged 9.8 yards per punt return, and Sam Martin hit four of seven punts inside the 20. Plus, Prater made both of his field goals from 49 and 51 yards.
Coaching: Lions defensive end Darryl Tapp praised coordinator Teryl Austin for calling "a hell of a game," and considering how confused the Packers offense looked, clearly the Lions coaches deserve credit. Jim Caldwell also made an aggressive call to go for a fourth and 1 at the Detroit 41 in the second quarter, which proved to be critical for field position. Also, credit Caldwell for keeping the locker room together through turmoil.