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The Lions Are Finally Good Enough To Cause Someone Else’s Coach To Have An Emotional Outburst

Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers looks on prior to a game against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field on September 24, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

At any point in the past, I don't know, several decades, the phrase "the Detroit Lions are playing in prime time" would have brought with it a specific set of expectations. During the particularly lean years, a blowout loss for Detroit would be in the offing. During those rare seasons when the team was allegedly good, a blown fourth-quarter lead and a gut-punch loss would be hiding around the corner. But this year's Detroit Lions, who beat the Packers 34-20 on the road on Thursday and are now 3-1 on the season, appear to have graduated from allegedly good to actually good.

The margin of victory doesn't quite capture how breezy this game was for the Lions. They scored 14 points in the first quarter, 13 more in the second, and were up 27-3 headed into halftime. The Packers simply could not move the ball—they totaled 21 yards of offense in the first half, to go along with four punts and just three first downs. Green Bay got more into the game in the second half, but that's because garbage time started more or less when the third quarter did.

With this win, the Lions can safely call themselves owners of the Packers' number. At the end of last season, they stuffed Aaron Rodgers's words back into his mouth and barred the Packers from the playoffs. That was just a moral victory, but a step forward nonetheless. Thursday night's win was a bit more meaningful given Detroit's lofty aims for this season, and it came with another symbolic yet meaningful development. For once, it wasn't their own coach becoming overrun with emotion during a postgame press conference:

"I mean you saw it, Pete. I mean, we got our ass kicked," is how Packers head coach Matt LaFleur answered a reporter who asked him why the Packers played so badly in the first half. "If I knew it wouldn't have happened. That's a BS question, man."

Matt, buddy, this isn't the way. Do you think Dan Campbell got his team to this point by snapping at reporters after every humiliating loss? No, he got them here by almost crying after every humiliating loss. Try that next time.

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