What a difference a week makes. Or, in this case, four days.
In Week 3, Packers coach Matt LaFleur giddily came bounding into the postgame media session following the stunning comeback win over the Saints, talking about dreams and pride. On Thursday night he came into his postgame press conference, having led what looked like an utterly unprepared young group on national television to a 34-20 drubbing at the hands of the Lions, and was bitter, churlish and petty.
The highlight (lowlight?) of the presser came when veteran Packers reporter Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette had the temerity to ask LaFleur what happened in the first half of the game, when the Packers’ offense imploded and a tired defense could not do much to stop Detroit.
LaFleur snapped at Dougherty.
“You saw it, Pete,” he said. I mean, we got our a** kicked. If I knew, it wouldn’t have happened.”
After a long pause, and after the next question started, LaFleur went back at Dougherty.
“That’s a B.S. question, man,” he said.
Actually, Matt LaFleur, It Was a Fair Question
Except, it wasn’t. It was a question all 82,000 or so fans in attendance at Lambeau Field were asking, too. How could a team coming off the kind of win the Packers had in Week 3 look so unprepared in Week 4? How could any NFL team look so overmatched?
The Packers entered Week 4 with an opportunity to take hold of the NFC north if they could have beaten the Lions. But after converting a Jared Goff interception into three points with a field goal to open the game, Detroit scored 27 straight points and led at halftime, 27-3.
They were utterly unable to corral the Detroit running game, which totaled 211 yads, led by 121 yards from David Montgomery.
Pretty fair to ask what happened there, no?
The Lions had 15 first downs in the first half. The Packers had three. The Lions had 284 first-half yards, to 23 for the Packers. Detroit ran 40 plays, and the Packers ran 22. At halftime, it was, as commentator Al Michaels pointed out, a pretty rare Lambeau sight: The team was booed off the field by the home crowd.
“They manhandled us really in every phase,” LaFleur said.
Packers Did Improve in 2nd Half
LaFleur said he was happy with what happened in the second half, as the Packers responded after being challenged in the locker room. But it was too little, too late by that point, and the Packers did not have another comeback in them.
“Give Detroit a lot of credit, they came in and they whooped us pretty good,” LaFleur said. “I was pleased with our team’s effort in the second half—I told them, I challenged them at halftime to continue to compete. We did that, it was down to 10 and we had a bad penalty to make it a three-possession game.
“Every area, there’s a lot of improvement out there for us. I think any time you go out there and you can’t effectively run the football and, conversely, can’t stop the run, that’s a recipe for losing football and that’s what happened tonight.”