GREEN BAY, Wis. — No matter what happened Monday night, Matt LaFleur was not going to abandon the Green Bay Packers’ running game.
The third-year head coach left last week’s opener feeling he never gave the Packers’ running game a chance in a blowout loss to New Orleans. LaFleur, the offense’s play-caller, had ample opportunity to abandon the run game Monday against the Detroit Lions. The Packers trailed by a touchdown before the offense ever took the field, thanks to continually shoddy defense from new coordinator Joe Barry’s group.
But LaFleur was not going to make the same mistake twice.
The Packers ran the football three straight times to open the game Monday night. They ran on eight of their first 11 plays en route to their first touchdown drive of the season. In all, the Packers finished with 31 carries carries for 96 yards in their 35-17 win against the Lions, rediscovering the bedrock for how they built the NFL’s highest-scoring offense in 2020.
It was a stark contrast to their opener against the Saints, when the Packers rushed only 15 times for 43 yards.
Once the Packers reestablished their run game, their pass game followed. Aaron Rodgers, who has responded to stinkers with big games throughout his career, did so again against the Lions. The NFL’s reigning MVP completed 22-of-27 passes for 255 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 145.6 rating.
That was 108.8 rating points higher than Rodgers had against the Saints, when he completed just 15-of-28 passes for 133 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. His 36.8 rating against the Saints was the fourth lowest of his career.
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“I think that there’s, even more now than when I started playing, there’s so many overreactions that happen on a week-to-week basis,” Rodgers said. “So it’s nice to come out and have a good performance and get the trolls off our back for at least a week.”