Green Bay Packers: 7 Stats to Know from Lions Week 1 Performance

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) passes against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 at Ford Field.Lions 49ers
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) passes against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 at Ford Field.Lions 49ers /

It’s time to begin turning our focus from the Green Bay Packers’ abysmal Week 1 performance and on to their Monday Night matchup with the Detroit Lions.

The Lions — along with the rest of the NFC North — lost their opening game as well, falling 41 to 33 at home to San Francisco, although it wasn’t really as close as the final score will suggest.

Having watched that game and taken a look at some of the numbers, I believe that there are several key stats from the Lions’ Week 1 matchup with the 49ers that will help provide some insight into their performance. Of course, any one of these numbers could drastically change since it has been a very small sample size, but these stats help define the one and only game we’ve been able to see.

Here are seven stats from the Lions Week 1 performance that Green Bay Packers fans should know.

33 points

As I’ve already mentioned, the Lions did put up 33 points against San Francisco, which should strike a bit of fear into Green Bay Packers fans after the defensive performance we saw from this group against New Orleans. There were blown coverages, little pressure, and the Saints picked up steady yards on the ground.

However, when it comes to the 33 points that the Lions put up, it’s worth pointing out that at the 7:54 mark of the third quarter, they were trailing 38 to 10. At the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, they were down 41 to 17–scoring two touchdowns in those final minutes.

Yes, they put up 33 points, but half of that came in garbage time when San Francisco was playing safer—although credit to Dan Campbell’s team for playing all 60 minutes.

28 pressures

The Detroit Lions offensive line really struggled against the 49ers pass rush, which hopefully means we can see the Green Bay Packers find some success.

According to PFF ($$), the Lions allowed 28 pressures, although only two of which were sacks. Left guard Jonah Jackson led the way with nine, while tackles Matt Nelson and Penei Sewell each allowed six, and guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai allowed five. Look for the Packers to apply some pressure on Jared Goff–hopefully.

4.8 yards per rush

Detroit was able to tally 116 total rushing yards against the Niners, and that included a solid 4.8 yards per carry. While the Green Bay defense was able to eliminate any explosive running plays, the Saints were able to pick up what seemed like four to six yards on every carry, finishing the game averaging 4.4 yards per rush.

The Green Bay Packers should be prepared for a heavy dose of D’Andre Swift and old friend Jamaal Williams to help control the clock, mitigate the pass-rush, and open up the passing game.

5.7 yards per rush given up

On the flip side, the 49ers run game found plenty of success of their own. As a team, their running backs posted 127 rushing yards at 5.7 yards per carry, and this included a 104-yard performance from Elijah Mitchell.

As I recently wrote, it’s going to be vital to the Packers success that they stick with the run game and get it going this week—which they did not do against New Orleans. And the Lions present them with the opportunity to do just that.

Hockenson and Swift in the passing game

With some question marks surrounding the wide receiver depth, the Detroit Lions relied heavily on tight end TJ Hockenson and running back D’Andre Swift in the passing game. Both players were targeted 11 times, with each hauling in eight of those targets. Swift would total 65 yards with a touchdown and Hockenson 97 with a touchdown as well.

Against the Saints, the Packer defense would allow six completions on eight targets to New Orleans’ tight ends Adam Trautman and Juwan Johnson, with Johnson also finding the end zone twice. Although to their credit, Green Bay did do a nice job of containing Alvin Kamara in the passing game, giving up only eight receiving yards on three receptions; however, he did find the end zone.

Amani Oruwariye

Boundary cornerback Amani Oruwariye had a rough outing against San Francisco. According to PFF, he was targeted eight times, allowing five completions at 16.4 yards per catch. Oruwariye would only break up one pass; he gave up a touchdown and had a passer rating when targeted of 136.5.

This is a Green Bay Packers team that could not get anything going in the passing game against New Orleans, who ran a cover-2 shell for much of the game. According to Peter Bukowski, the Lions primarily ran cover-3 against San Francisco, which Aaron Rodgers had a lot of success against last season.

Look for this Packers passing game to get back on track, and perhaps Oruwariye is someone who is once again targeted heavily.

Third and fourth down efficiency

The game against New Orleans really began to spiral out of control when the Green Bay Packers’ defense could not get off the field. It led to long scoring drives for the Saints, tiring the Packer defense, and it kept Rodgers on the sidelines. New Orleans finished the game 7/12 on third and fourth down conversions.

Detroit, however, did not see that kind of success against the Niners. The Lions finished their game converting only 6 of their 20 third and fourth down attempts, per ESPN.

8.0 yards per play allowed

I’m sure the 41 points put up by San Francisco suggested it, but the Niners were able to move the ball very efficiently against this Lions defense, and they did so with some chunk plays. When it was all said and done, the 49ers averaged 8.0 yards per play, which was the second-most by any offense Week 1, trailing only the Los Angeles Chargers.

As we all know, this Green Bay Packers offense was unable to get anything going against New Orleans–and for some added context, that game Green Bay would average only 4.4 yards per play, ranking 29th.