Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DAVE DYE  |  Last updated 10/6/13
No Megatron, no offense. Thats the way it looked Sunday for the Detroit Lions, who were completely shut down while losing to the Green Bay Packers for the 23rd straight time on the road. The Lions defense kept it close until late in the third quarter, but they needed some help and eventually wore down as the Packers pulled away for a 22-9 victory at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The absence of star receiver Calvin Johnson brought the Lions offense to a halt. Johnson, hampered by a knee injury going all the way back to training camp, missed his first game since the final week of the 2010 season. He had practiced Friday and was listed as questionable, but after he went through some agility and running drills before Sundays game, the decision was made to hold him out. Coach Jim Schwartz didnt want to talk about how the offense was affected without Johnson during his post-game radio interview. He wasnt one of our 46 (active) guys today so thats really not an item up for bids, Schwartz said. The depleted receiving corps is also without Nate Burleson, who suffered a broken arm in a car accident. It meant that Kevin Ogletree, recently released by Tampa Bay, was rushed into the lineup just four days after signing with Detroit. The Lions failed to move the ball inside Green Bays 30-yard line until they finally put together a drive that resulted in a touchdown in the final minutes after the outcome had been decided. Remember how effective running back Reggie Bush had been in this offense? Not so without the opposition having to focus heavily on Johnson. Bush had only 14 yards rushing on his first nine carries. He ended up with 44 yards in 13 attempts. Those open running lanes that he found with Johnson in the lineup didnt exist. The Lions finished with just 286 total yards offensively, the fewest theyve gained in the last 23 games. This was against a Green Bay defense that had allowed 88 points in its first three games. Meanwhile, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers moved the ball effectively much of the day, but they were unable to finish early on. Detroit kept it close with a bend-but-dont-break defense and trailed just 6-3 at halftime. We were hanging in there, Schwartz said in his radio interview. We were just one score away and then we had a couple big plays against us. Those plays really turned that game. The first was a 67-yard run by Randall Cobb that set up a field goal with 5:04 left in the third quarter. Less than two minutes later, the Packers struck again on James Jones 83-yard touchdown reception for a 16-3 lead. Jones ran past cornerback Chris Houston and was wide open. Houston, who wasnt able to practice much of the last week because of a hamstring injury, reacted as if he was expecting help from a safety on the play. He didnt get it, Jones raced all the way to the end zone and the Packers had enough points to beat a Megatron-less opponent. Detroit, which hasnt defeated Green Bay on the road since 1991, remained in a first-place tie in the NFC North with Chicago. The Bears, who lost at home to New Orleans, are also 3-2. The Packers (2-2) moved half a game behind the leaders. Minnesota, which was idle, is 1-3. The Lions will be on the road again next Sunday when they travel to Cleveland to face the surprising 3-2 Browns. Well bounce back, Schwartz said. Well regroup. This is a hard-working team. This is a resilient team. Theres going to be things like this over the course of the season. Its a long season. Well be ready. EXTRA POINTS Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh left himself open to more criticism when he kicked his leg out at Rodgers and got called for tripping on the Packers first possession. Jason Fox returned after missing three games because of a groin injury and reclaimed his starting job at right tackle over Corey Hilliard. Hilliard got some playing time in the second half. Rookie running back Theo Riddick left the game in the first half with a concussion. The Lions only scoring came on a 53-yard field goal by David Akers in the final minute of the first half and then a 13-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Kris Durham with 2:06 to play. Stafford got sacked five times, two more than in the first four games combined. Lions rookie defensive end Ezekiel Ziggy Ansah got another sack, giving him 3 in his first five NFL games.
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