Packers Need To Figure Out The Run On Both Sides Of the Ball

AJ Dillon, Aaron Jones, Jahmyr Gibbs, David Montgomery, Packers, Lions
Packers Coverage, NFL Analysis Network

The Green Bay Packers have some issues that came about from their dismantling at the hands of the Detroit Lions. Detroit went into Lambeau Field on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 4 and won 34-20 in blowout fashion.

Things started hot for the Packers, who intercepted Jared Goff on the Lions’ first possession of the game. But, another slow start plagued them as Green Bay didn’t gain a yard after the interception, leading to a 34-yard field goal from Anders Carlson.

That would be the only lead the Packers held in the game as the Lions dominated from there on out. Detroit scored on their next four possessions and five out of six to end the half, taking a 27-3 lead into intermission.

A big reason for that lopsided score was the inability of the Packers to get anything going in the ground game on offense or defense. The Lions were dominant in the trenches, which head coach Matt LaFleur gave them credit for. “Give Detroit a lot of credit, they whooped us pretty good,” said LaFleur postgame.

It was tough sledding on the ground offensively. Even with Aaron Jones returning to the line, Green Bay got nothing going with their ground game. 

Jones was the leading rusher, handling five carries for 18 yards. AJ Dillon handled five carries as well, gaining only 11 yards, while Jordan Love had two rushes for -2 yards. He and Jones had the longest runs of the game, which went for only nine yards.

Run blocking has been a challenge all season for the Packers, who have a grade of 52.7 and ranking 25th. Their running grade of 67.5 is ranked 23rd.

Things aren’t much better on defense, as the Lions gained 211 yards on the ground. David Montgomery led the way with 121 yards on 32 carries, scoring two touchdowns. Explosive rookie Jahmyr Gibbs added eight carries for 40 yards as well.

“We are going to have to do something different because it’s insane to do the same things over and over again and expect different results,” said LaFleur. “That is a good offensive line. They got really good runners. I think Gibbs and Montgomery are two of the better backs.”

LaFleur did not that the Lions have one of the stronger offensive lines in the NFL, which is true. They are an elite run-blocking group, as their 70.0 PFF grade is third in the NFL.

Run defense has been an issue for the Packers once again this season. They now rank 22nd in run-defense grade with a 58.8, as their performance has been ‘inexcusable’ according to LaFleur.

“That’s one of the best offensive lines in ball,” LaFleur added, “but it’s still inexcusable. We should be able to take one phase away from them. If you want to stop the run then commit to that and make them throw it over your head.”

That led to lopsided numbers in the ball control department. Detroit possessed the ball for nearly 16 more minutes than Green Bay, running 20 more plays. That is a recipe for disaster as no defense can sustain a high level of play receiving that little amount of rest.

In both of their losses this season, the Packers have been steamrolled on the ground. The Atlanta Falcons gained 211 yards on the ground as well in Week 2 in their victory. When Green Bay won in Week 1 and 3, they surrendered 199 rushing yards combined.

Winning in the trenches is key to the Packers finding success on the field. If they want to start stacking wins and sustain a winning streak, they need to figure things out on both sides of the ball with the run.