The Green Bay Packers got a much-needed, in-division victory Sunday over the Detroit Lions, 22-9.
The win turned out to be a costly one for the Packers as they lost back-up inside linebacker and special teams stud Robert Francois for the season to a ruptured achilles. Francois came in for the injured starter, Brad Jones, who left the game after tweaking is already tender hamstring. It's unknown if Jones will miss any time with the injury.
The worst injury news came from star outside linebacker Clay Matthews. Matthews broke his thumb on Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford's arm as he hit the quarterback late in the third quarter. Matthews had surgery on this thumb earlier this morning and is expected to miss at least a month, possibly more.
Aside from more injuries, the Packers performed well on Sunday, in particular, the defense stymied the Lions all day.
Lets take a look at how Pro Football Focus graded the Packers' win.
Rodgers finished with the best grade of any Packers' player Sunday (+ 4.1) and had a nice bounce-back performance following arguably his worst performance as a pro against the Cincinnati Bengals in week three.
Although the numbers weren't there for the Rodgers, 20-30 for 274 yards and a touchdown, he made enough plays for the Packers to cement the victory late in the second half. Rodgers is No. 5 in the NFL in quarterback rating at 105.5 and with nine touchdowns to just three interceptions, Rodgers is on pace for another big season.
Left guard Josh Sitton put together his third straight solid performance grading out as the second highest player on the offensive side of the ball (+ 2.4). Besides a hiccup against the San Francisco 49ers, Sitton has made the transition to left guard from right guard seamlessly.
Sitton didn't allow a single sack, quarterback hurry or pressure the entire game Sunday — his pass blocking performance against the very stout Lions' front four was very impressive. As long as Rodgers is the quarterback in Green Bay, keeping him upright is the offensive line's No. 1 job and Sitton has done a great job of that early in the season.
Nearly every week Jordy Nelson has made a catch that leaves us in awe of his ballerina-like foot work on the sidelines — he did it again Sunday.
Nelson finished the game tied with Sitton for the second-highest offensive grade given out (+2.4). He caught five passes for 82 yards in the victory Sunday.
It appears Nelson is back to his 2011 form, which is bad news for any defense in the NFL. In 2011 he caught 63 passes for 1,263 yards and seven touchdowns, he is on pace to match those numbers in 2013.
Barclay has been solid for the Packers thus far in 2013, but he continues to struggle in the run game. Barclay's overall grade of (-2.5) was the worst offensive grade given out to the Packers against the Lions and his (-2.4) grade in the running game was one of the worst in that category all season.
To his defense, Barclay did a good job in pass protection giving up only three quarterback hurries on the day and he didn't allow Rodgers to be touched all game long.
With Rodgers at quarterback you'd rather have your linemen be stout in the pass blocking game opposed to the run game. Barclay is still a very young right tackle and will improve in the running game, given time to develop, Barclay could be a very good right tackle in the NFL.
After an exciting pro debut against the Bengals in week three where he rushed for 103 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown to go along with three catches for 23 yards — Franklin regressed considerably this week.
He carried just three times for one yard Sunday, and once again fumbled, thankfully for Franklin, Rodgers was able to fall on the ball to keep possession.
It appears early in his career that Franklin has a bit of problem with ball protection. Nothing will get you in the dog house of Mike McCarthy quicker than not protecting the football. Franklin's grade of (-2.2) was the second worst grade on the offensive side of the ball given out Sunday.
Mike Neal continues to be a pleasant surprise for the Packers' defense in 2013. His move to outside linebacker at first was laughable, but now it's appears to be plain genius by the coaching staff. Neal has been a terror on defense and is finally living up to all hype that surrounded him when he was drafted.
Neal graded out the highest of any Packers' player on either side of the ball with a grade of (+4.6). Neal's play count has continued to grow as his performance has continued to improve on a week-to-week basis — this week he played 46 downs.
Neal finished the game with one sack, five quarterback hurries, three solo tackles and an assisted tackle.
I've been waiting along time to put Perry on this list. Perry played the best game of his professional career on Sunday and was very fun to watch while doing so. He finished the game with a grade of (+3.2) the second highest defensive grade given out.
Perry has underperformed for much of his career and a performance like this may get him on the right track. He finished the game with two sacks and four solo tackles. With Matthews out for at least a month, Perry will need to play more consistently for the Packers to the weather storm without Matthews.
While there weren't many defensive losers for the Packers Sunday after a very good defensive performance, one that stood out was A.J. Hawk. Hawk continues to prove why he wasn't worthy of a top-five draft choice back in 2006. Hawk is an average, at best, middle/inside linebacker in the NFL. In eight NFL seasons Hawk has been a relative non-factor for any Packers' defense.
Sunday, Hawk had his worst performance of the season grading out as the worst Packers' defensive player with a grade of (- 2.6). Hawk was bad in run defense (-1.2) although he had seven tackles, he got locked up with Lions' blockers on numerous occasions and failed to make a play.
In pass coverage he was targeted seven times and allowed six catches for 68 yards — Stafford had a quarterback rating of 107.1 when targeting Hawk on Sunday.
There you have it, the final grades from the bible of statistical analysis, Pro Football Focus. Keep it here at APC as we break down the big Packers' win further and preview their non-conference showdown with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
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