Hungry Lions take bite out of Packers

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn in the...

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn in the end zone for a safety at Ford Field in Detroit, Nov. 28, 2013. (TIM FULLER/USA Today)

Morris Dalla Costa, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:05 PM ET

DETROIT - Rule No. 1, if you are going into the junkyard, don't poke the junkyard dog.

The Green Bay Packers forgot Rule No. 1 and as a result the junkyard dog bit and bit hard.

The Detroit Lions tore a chunk out of the Packers 40-10 Thursday in the traditional Thanksgiving NFL game in Detroit.

There was already plenty at stake for the Lions who are trying to win an NFC North Division title. They were tied with the Chicago Bears and the Packers were only a half-game back.

That was incentive enough.

But earlier this week when a Packer offensive lineman called the Lions a "dirty team" and their defensive line "scumbags" the junkyard dog had its teeth bared when the Packers arrived.

It took a while but by the time it was over there wasn't a part of the Packers that wasn't pretty well chewed.

A few days prior to the game Packers offensive guard Josh Sitton called out the Lions during a radio interview.

"They go after quarterbacks," Sitton told WSSP 1250 AM in Milwaukee. "Their entire defence takes cheap shots all the time. That's what they do. That's who they are. They're a bunch of dirtbags or scumbags. That's how they play, and that's how they're coached."

He also called Lions coach Jim Schwartz "a d---."

"We didn't even talk about it," Schwartz said. "We made fun of it a little bit last night in the meeting and it was just light-hearted. A lot worse has been said about us you know."

The Lions defence systematically dismantled the Packers offence especially the offensive line.

Seven times the Lions sacked Packer quarterback Matt Flynn. They limited the Packers to 126 yards in total, 56 of them on a pass with less than two minutes left in the game.

That's a big difference from the 2011 game when the Packers had more than 500 yards passing against the Lions.

The only touchdown the Packers had on Thursday came from a fumble recovery.

The Lions had 30 first downs to seven by the Packers and accumulated 561 yards.

It could have been worse if the Lions actually had their act together in the first half. They committed three turnovers and missed a field goal worrying the Thanksgiving Day crowd that it was in store for yet another turkey. It was the first Thanksgiving Day win for the Lions since 2003.

Against a good team that kind of first-half performance wouldn't get them very far but against a Packers team that was horrid without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Lions had more than enough.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is always at the centre of dirty play controversy, said he didn't find any greater motivation because of the comments.

"It's just words," he said. "A lot of people have their opinions. People have their opinions of me. We just go out there and execute. We got the most important thing done."

But that doesn't mean it was all forgotten. Defensive tackle C.J. Mosley says there wasn't much trash talking on the field.

"They pretty much didn't have anything to say," he said. "I wouldn't either. You have to put points on the board to say anything."

As for Sitton he was unrepentant.

"I said what I said. I'm not taking it back," Sitton said. "I've moved off them."

The Packers need to get Rodgers back as quickly as possible. Without him, they are just meat for the slaughterhouse.

As for the Lions, they'll be thrilled with the win even though they know they still have to play a lot better if they want to scare anyone. If they can't limit their turnovers, they'll be just a team that wound up winning a bad division and they'll be meat for the slaughterhouse come playoff time.

But there is hope. The Lions ran the ball for 241 yards and were able to finally generate some turnovers of their own.

The Lions only took five penalties. That too leaves Lions fans with the hope that there's still something that can be taught the junkyard dog.

BUSH CAN’T KEEP PROMISE

Detroit Lions’ running back Reggie Bush made a guarantee when he fumbled two weeks ago against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

That he wouldn’t fumble again.

That promise lasted less than five quarters.

Bush fumbled with just over five minutes gone in the first quarter as the Lions marched on the Green Bay Packers in a 40-10 Thanksgiving Day win Thursday.

When Bush fumbled against the Steelers two weeks ago, Lions’ coach Jim Schwartz sat Bush.

On Thursday, Bush was back out there almost immediately.

“We took a twitter poll to find out if we should give him the ball and the twitter audience said to stick with him so we did,” Schwartz said. “Like I said, you can’t play scared. A lot of people made fun of me a couple of weeks ago for saying that we don’t play scared and we don’t coach scared. We weren’t scared to give him the ball.”

Good thing.

Bush came back with 117 yards on 20 carries for a touchdown. He also caught the ball five times for 65 yards.

He credited his teammates for keeping him from getting down on himself.

“ I was really down on myself and really just disappointed that I fumbled the ball again. It something we have to clean up,” Bush said.

Bush didn’t make any other promises.

morris.dallacosta@sunmedia.ca


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