The Green Bay Packers went into Week 4 against the Detroit Lions with a ton of momentum. They were coming off of a historic come-from-behind victory against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3, but all the positive momentum built from that game was stopped in its tracks.
The Lions demolished the Packers on Thursday Night Football, winning 34-20. They gained 196 yards of total offense in the first quarter alone, despite an interception by Jared Goff on the first possession of the game. After that, it was all Detroit.
Green Bay trailed 27-3 at halftime as the Lions scored on five out of their six possessions to end the first half after the interception. The Packers had no answers, on either side of the ball, for a hungry, aggressive Lions team.
With a mini-bye heading into Week 5, as the Packers won’t play until Monday Night Football against the Las Vegas Raiders, they will be able to rest up a little bit. They can use this time to figure out what went wrong against Detroit as well.
What needs fixing and who did well in Week 4? Here are five of the biggest takeaways from the matchup between NFC North rivals.
5. Offensive Line Woes
For the first time in the 2023 season, the Packers’ offensive line struggled in all facets. Through Week 3, Green Bay was struggling in the run-blocking department but they had one of the better pass-blocking units in the NFL. Against the Lions, nothing was working.
Jordan Love was pressured on nearly half of his dropbacks against Detroit, while Jared Goff faced pressure on just over a quarter of his. When protected, Love produced at a high clip, but when under pressure, he wasn’t able to get the job done.
If the team cannot figure things out in the trenches soon, this season will get away from them. If they aren’t going to open up rushing lanes for Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, they need to keep Love clean.
4. Romeo Doubs Emerging As Go-To Target
The Packers offense hasn’t been whole this entire season. Week 4 was the first time that Love had his full complement of offensive weapons at his disposal as wide receiver Christian Watson played for the first time this season and Jones was back after missing two games because of a hamstring injury of his own.
Despite their presumed top two options being back in the lineup, it was Romeo Doubs who showed out. Doubs led the team with nine receptions for 95 yards as he has emerged as Love’s go-to target offensively.
Limited by a hamstring injury of his own in the early going, Doubs looks to be 100 percent healthy now. That is good news for Green Bay, as this offense has immense potential with all of the young talent.
3. Inconsistent Run Defense
The Packers’ success this season on the defensive side of the ball has been very cut and dry. When they win at the line of scrimmage and can contain the run, they win games. When they fail to do that, they lose.
Against the Chicago Bears and Saints, their two victories, Green Bay has surrendered 199 rushing yards combined. Against the Atlanta Falcons and Lions, their two losses, both teams gained 211 rushing yards.
That kind of inconsistency is something Matt LaFleur and his staff have to figure out. Winning the line of scrimmage is key for Green Bay to be successful, but they haven’t cracked the formula as to how to do it consistently. Once they figure that out, everything else will fall into place.
2. Rudy Ford Cementing Himself At Safety
Coming into the season, arguably the biggest concern for the Packers was the safety position. No one was emerging from the depth chart, as it was the team’s weakest positional group on the roster.
But, now at the quarter point of the season, Green Bay looks to have found at least one player they can count on in Rudy Ford. He was excellent in all facets of the game against the Lions and deserves some praise for his performance.
Ford had eight tackles without a miss against Detroit and was the player who intercepted Goff. PFF had him as the second-highest-graded player on the team’s defense behind Rashan Gary, something he earned with a solid level of play.
1. Injuries Piling Up
Injuries are a part of the game and something that teams have to overcome throughout the season. But, the Packers have been hit hard in recent weeks and the hits kept coming against the Lions.
Rookie tight end Luke Musgrave was knocked out of the game in the first half with a head injury. It was officially diagnosed as a concussion and he has been placed in the league’s protocols. Right guard Jon Runyan Jr. battled through an ankle injury and was spotted in a walking boot after the game.
Those injuries are on top of left tackle David Bakhtiari being placed on IR ahead of the game against the Lions and left guard Elgton Jenkins battling a knee injury suffered against the Falcons. Star cornerback Jaire Alexander has missed two games with a back injury as the injury report is beginning to get crowded.