With only three road wins against the Green Bay Packers over the past three decades, the Detroit Lions took to Lambeau Field Monday night in what was initially a more competitive game than we thought heading into the season.
Green Bay was coming off a brutal 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints in its season opener. Meanwhile, Detroit opened the Dan Campbell arrow with a 41-33 home defeat at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers.
While Detroit did keep it close for a while, an inexperienced secondary coupled with some tremendous play from the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers-led offense opened this thing up big time. In the end, the Packers came away with their first victory of the season, 35-17. Here are seven winners and losers from this Week 2 “Monday Night Football” matchup.
Winner: Davante Adams, wide receiver, Green Bay Packers
Much like the rest of his Green Bay Packers team, Adams struggled big time Week 1 against the Saints. He caught just five passes for 56 yards. It was obvious that the Pack needed their top receiver step up against a lackluster Lions defense on Monday. Boy, did he do that.
The Pro Bowler caught 8-of-9 targets for 121 yards. Adams also broke up a would-be Aaron Rodgers interception in the third quarter, which led directly to a Packers touchdown and a two-score lead. That can’t go unnoticed in all of this.
Loser: Jamie Collins, linebacker, Detroit Lions
We can blame young Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn for putting his players in less-than-stellar situations. With that said, Collins is a veteran of nine NFL seasons. He’s earned two Super Bowl titles. The Pro Bowler needs to understand where he is on the field on a consistent basis.
That did not happen Monday against Green Bay. Collins yielded two touchdown catches, both into the hands of running back Aaron Jones. This comes on the heels of some major struggles against both the run and defending the pass in Week 1. As a veteran on an inexperienced defense, Collins simply needs to play better.
Winner: Aaron Jones, running back, Green Bay Packers
Jones more than lived up to his contract Monday night after struggling to the tune of nine yards on five attempts in Week 1. Bringing back memories of his four-touchdown performance against the Dallas Cowboys back in October of 2019, Jones scored four of the Packers’ five touchdowns. That included three scores in the second half alone.
It wasn’t just about getting into the end zone, either. The former mid-round pick gained 115 total yards on 23 touches. Green Bay needs to continue seeing this type of balance on offense with its injuries a long the offensive line and set to take on a stout San Francisco 49ers defense in Week 3.
Loser: Kevin King, cornerback, Green Bay Packers
How bad is it for this former second-round pick of the Packers? He was legitimately booed by the home fans during introductions Monday evening. This comes following a two-year span in Green Bay that has seen King yield a 100-plus passer rating when targeted.
Like clockwork, Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn targeted King out of the gate. That included a 46-yard completion from Goff to wide receiver Quintez Cephus on Detroit’s opening drive — eventually leading to a Lions touchdown and a 7-0 lead. At some point, Green Bay has to pull the plug on this experiment and simply bench King. That point might be now.
Winner: Penei Sewell, offensive tackle, Detroit Lions
After holding his own against Nick Bosa in his NFL debut last week, Penei Sewell didn’t have as difficult of a matchup against the Packers Monday night. Even then, playing on the road at Lambeau Field on national television was a huge stage.
The rookie from Oregon more than stepped up. He anchored an offensive line that allowed just one sack of Jared Goff and helped Detroit average 5.7 yards per rush on the ground. If these first two games are an indication, the NFL is not too big of a stage for Sewell.
Loser: Rashan Gary, defensive end, Green Bay Packers
Speaking of injuries, the Packers need Gary to step up with Pro Bowl pass rusher Za’Darius Smith currently on injured reserve. While it might not have impacted this team too much against a talent-stricken Lions offense Monday night, more disappearing acts from the former first-round pick will have some wide-ranging ramifications moving forward.
After being held without a hit or sack in 37 defensive snaps in Week 1, Gary did hit Goff one time Monday night. But that came on a scramble. He failed to record a sack or do much of anything in the offensive backfield. Set to take on a 49ers offensive line that has not allowed a sack in two games, Gary must step up if the Pack want to have a chance.
Winner: Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay Packers
A lot was made of Rodgers’ struggles in a 35-point season-opening loss to the Saints. Obviously, that had to do with the drama surrounding the reigning NFL MVP and his organization. With that said, the future Hall of Famer was not panicking. There was really no reason to believe said struggles would continue into Week 2.
Rodgers ended up completing 22-of-27 passes for 255 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions in a vintage-like performance. We’ll see if this continues against better competition. But it’s definitely a start for Rodgers and Co.