Good execution gives Lions 14-3 halftime lead

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Green Bay — The Lions took a 14-3 lead into the half of the team’s Monday night game against the Green Bay Packers, thanks to some excellent execution on offense and a pair of gifts.

*The Packers won the toss and methodically moved down the field, 58 yards on 15 plays, with the opening possession. The drive stalled when the pass rush started clicking — first a sack by linebacker Tahir Whitehead, followed by a hurried throw caused by defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson. After a third-down stop, the Packers settled for a 38-yard field goal attempt, but a low snap led to a low kick that was blocked by Robinson. The Packers are starting a new long snapper this week and it proved to be an early factor.

*The Lions looked poised to give it right back to the Packers after their first two offensive plays lost yardage and a deep pass to Golden Tate was caught, but ruled out of bounds on third down. But Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels lost his cool, headbutting center Travis Swanson at the end of that play. The personal foul gave the Lions a fresh set of downs and the offense caught fire from there. Four plays later, quarterback Matthew Stafford laid a pretty pass to Marvin Jones down the right sideline for a 25-yard touchdown.

*The touchdown was Stafford’s 200th of his career. He became the sixth-fastest to accomplish the feat, doing so in 117 games.

*The Lions continued to raise the bar for touchdown celebrations as Jones and three teammates pretended to enact a life-sized game of Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots.

*Detroit’s defense kept the pressure dialed up on the ensuing Packers possession, stopping the first- and second-down plays for a loss, setting up 3rd-and-16. Quarterback Brett Hundley was forced from the pocket on the next snap and stopped short of the sticks by defensive end Cornelius Washington on a scramble.

*The Lions worked into Packers territory again, but couldn’t extend the lead when Matt Prater’s 55-yard field goal attempt clanged off the crossbar.

*That gave the Packers outstanding field position, but the defense came up with another three-and-out. Cornerback D.J. Hayden came up with a pass breakup on third down, trailing Devante Adams across the field and reaching across the receiver’s body to bat it away.

*After a holding penalty on the Packers punt, the Lions were pinned inside their own 10. But the offense stayed hot. Running back Ameer Abdullah gained 18 yards on the first three plays, Tate extended the drive with a 17-yard, toe-tapping catch on third down and Abdullah capped the series with three more runs for 15 yards, including a 4-yard score. It was just his third carry inside the 5-yard line this season.

*The Lions continued to use return man Jamal Agnew on offense, handing it off to him on an end around that gained 4 yards, then faking it on a handoff up the middle to Abdullah that gained eight.

*The Packers were able to get on the board just before the half with a quick-hitting, 12-play drive. After a risky third-down play to the middle of the field with no timeouts remaining, the Packers were able to race their field goal unit onto the field and convert a 35-yard attempt as time expired.