Jordan Love propels Packers past Lions on Thanksgiving: How Green Bay pulled off upset

Jordan Love tossed three touchdown passes as the Green Bay Packers upset the Detroit Lions 29-22 at Ford Field on Thanksgiving day. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Love continued his improved play, going 22-of-32 passing for 268 yards and three touchdowns for a 125.5 passer rating. Christian Watson racked up his best statistics this season with five catches for 94 yards and a TD.
  • The Packers (5-6) added a first-quarter defensive TD on a sack fumble by Rashan Gary on Jared Goff, allowing Jonathan Owens to scoop up the ball for a 27-yard TD return. Gary picked up three sacks in the win.
  • The Lions (8-3) quarterback went 29-of-44 passing for 332 yards and two TDs for a 103.6 passer rating. Goff lost three fumbles.


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Shorthanded Packers play big

The Packers entered Thursday’s tilt with the Lions as two-score underdogs. Not only was Green Bay 4-6 and Detroit 8-2, but the Packers were without running back Aaron Jones, inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, cornerback Jaire Alexander, tight end Luke Musgrave, safety Darnell Savage and safety Rudy Ford. The Lions had one player ruled out on their injury report, left guard Jonah Jackson. But this is why they play the game because, against one of the best team in the NFL, a team who has looked lost for the majority of the season marched into opposing territory and snatched an upset win to revitalize their playoff hopes. 

Green Bay uncharacteristically chose to receive the opening kickoff after winning the toss and one the first play from scrimmage, Watson hauled in an underthrown bomb from Love for a 53-yard gain. The Packers scored a touchdown four plays later when Love threaded the needle to receiver Jayden Reed and the Packers never relinquished the lead. — Matt Schneidman, Packers staff writer

Love was the real deal

Love looked all the bit of a franchise quarterback on Thursday, completing 22-of-32 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns to go along with what was essentially the game-sealing 37-yard keeper on third and 1 late in the fourth quarter. In the last two games, he’s completed 49-of-71 passes for 590 yards and five touchdown passes.

Love has now looked better in each of his last four successive games — the Packers are 3-1 in that span — and he should have squelched any doubt from inside or outside 1265 Lombardi Ave. as to whether he’s the guy for Green Bay. — Schneidman

Gary’s extension pays off

While the Packers’ offense certainly came to play, it was the other side of the ball that produced the best story of the day. Gary tore his ACL at Ford Field last season. In his first game back, Gary had three sacks and two forced fumbles, one that was picked up by Owens and returned for a touchdown and one that Gary recovered himself on fourth down in the fourth quarter. After registering no sacks from Weeks 7-10, Gary has four sacks in the last two games. That’s why the Packers just gave him an extension worth $24 million per year. — Schneidman

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No holiday joy for Lions

Rough day all around for the Lions. The defense made Love look like his Packers QB predecessors, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns in his first Thanksgiving start. On the other side, Goff fumbled three times — recovered by the Packers each time, including one for a touchdown. The offensive line had one of its worst games of the season, unable to handle Green Bay’s front seven in protection or in space. And the red-zone offense was inefficient throughout the game. The Lions haven’t won on Thanksgiving since 2016. After today, that streak will last another year at the very least. — Colton Pouncy, Lions staff writer

Detroit’s fix-it list

The Lions will have 10 days off before their next game — a trip to New Orleans. It’ll be much-needed, because there’s work to do. The defense has had few answers the last five games. There’s been little-to-no pass rush and the coverage has been soft. Goff has six turnovers in his last two games, and that’s simply not going to get it done. The Lions were always far from a finished product this season. Their issues are starting to show. — Pouncy

Highlight of the game

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Key stat

The Lions failed on four of five fourth-down attempts, including the Packers’ stop on a fake punt in the third quarter. Detroit converted one late in the fourth quarter.

Required reading

(Photo: Mike Mulholland / Getty Images)

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