Quick reads: Lions' Okwara, Hand terrorize Rodgers

By Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News
Lions' Romeo Okwara pressures Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to throw the ball away in the second quarter.

Nolan Bianchi of The Detroit News breaks down the Lions' 31-23 win over the Packers.

Okwara and Hand set up offense early and often

Romeo Okwara and Da'Shawn Hand put forth their best effort to dispel the stigma surrounding Detroit's pass rush. The two defensive linemen were the shining stars of a Lions defense that pitched a shutout through two quarters. Okwara's strip-sack on Aaron Rodgers late in the first led to a Matt Prater field goal, and his pursuit of the Green Bay quarterback on third-and-goal from the 5 later in the second forced a grounding penalty that pushed the Packers back just far enough to complicate Mason Crosby's third missed field goal of the day. Hand recovered a fumble he forced on Rodgers with 53 seconds remaining in the first half, and the ensuing Marvin Jones touchdown reception made it 24-0 going into the locker room.

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Golladay continues upward swing

Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay extended his streak of more than 50 receiving yards to six, dating back to Week 17 of last season. In Sunday's win over the Packers, Golladay pulled in four catches for 98 yards and a touchdown — not to mention an athletic 46-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter that was called back due to a Frank Ragnow penalty. Through Week 5, the second-year receiver is already 49 yards away from eclipsing his season-long production as a rookie, and with Matthew Stafford clamping down on accuracy issues that hampered the offense's momentum in Weeks 1 and 2, Golladay's ability to create separation in the secondary could mean big things for the 6-foot-4 receiver. 

Running game finds balance 

There was a lot of second-guessing offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter's limited use of rookie running back Kerryon Johnson in last week's loss to the Dallas Cowboys. In Sunday's win over Green Bay, both he and veteran LeGarrette Blount finally seemed to have settled into their respective roles. Johnson got a majority of the team's carries outside red zone and short-yardage situations, and was efficient in doing so. He averaged 5.8 yards-per-carry and finished with a total of 70 yards on 12 carries. Blount, on the other hand, asserted himself as the power back fans in Detroit thought they'd signed back in March. His two first-quarter touchdowns were both snapped at the 1-yard line as Detroit went 4-for-4 in the red zone.

Packers crush Lions over middle

While the first-half defensive strength was something to behold, Rodgers still torched the Lions for 442 yards — and put up 23 points in the game's final two quarters. This week's game was similar to the loss in Dallas, in which the Lions repeatedly let their opponent march down the field before making a fourth-down stop in their own territory. Detroit benefited from a dismal performance by Crosby, who missed four consecutive field goals — which proved to be the difference in an 11-point game — before putting one through the uprights in garbage time. Davante Adams was the main culprit, as he sprung free underneath the Lions secondary with relative ease on his way to a nine catch, 140-yard performance.

Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.