GREEN BAY – No one on the Packers' defense walked away from last Thursday's loss to the Lions feeling good about how things went.
But in the midst of a rough night, the Packers' youth on the defensive front is showing some promise, even if it's not consistent enough – yet – for the defense to be where it wants to be.
Here's a sampling of both moments where teamwork produced a good result, and times a strong individual effort got the job done.
Play No. 1: Second-and-5 from the Detroit 28, third quarter, 2:23 left
Result: 10-yard sack by DL Karl Brooks
Starting with the teamwork, the rookie Brooks (94) gets his second career sack, but a big chunk of credit goes to a fellow rookie, LB Lukas Van Ness (90). Coming off the edge, Van Ness winds up occupying both LT Taylor Decker (68) and C Frank Ragnow (77), even taking Ragnow to the ground. That allows Brooks, whose initial stunt inside with DL T.J. Slaton (93) doesn't appear to work as planned, to get a clear path to QB Jared Goff for the takedown. Van Ness then gives a celebratory tap on the head to Brooks, who'll be thanking his fellow draft classmate in the film room.
Play No. 2: Second-and-goal from the Green Bay 3, fourth quarter, 7:27 left
Result: 4-yard loss by RB David Montgomery
This time, it's rookie DL Colby Wooden (96) getting the tackle for loss on the stat sheet, but it's teammate Slaton who makes the play, splitting the attempted combo block by LG Jonah Jackson (73) and TE Sam LaPorta (87) to stop Montgomery in his tracks. Wooden then gets a clear shot at the running back and doesn't miss.
Play No. 3: Third-and-9 from the Detroit 32, fourth quarter, 3:51 left
Result: 10-yard sack by DL Devonte Wyatt
Here the assist on Wyatt's sack goes to veteran DL Kenny Clark (97), who while executing the stunt, occupies both Ragnow and RG Graham Glasgow (60) long enough for Wyatt to get up a head of steam. Glasgow tries to peel back off the double-team on Clark to pick up the stunt, but Wyatt proves to be too fast and gets past him rather swiftly.
Play No. 4: Third-and-goal from the Green Bay 14, second quarter, 14:15 left
Result: Incomplete pass
As far as well-executed individual efforts go, here's one you don't see every day – a 300-pound defensive lineman not just dropping into coverage, but doing so a full 10 yards downfield. With the long-yardage situation, that's what Wyatt does here as the Packers rush just three and cover with eight. Wyatt does a nice job of preventing any thoughts of a quick throw on the slant to WR Josh Reynolds (8) and the defense forces the field goal.
Play No. 5: First-and-10 from the Detroit 40, second quarter, 11:01 left
Result: Offensive holding penalty
Another look at a nice play from Brooks, who makes a nifty move at the snap to try to shoot the A gap, and Jackson ends up grabbing a fistful of shoulder pad and jersey for a holding call.
Play No. 6: Second-and-18 from the Detroit 32, second quarter, 10:02 left
Result: Incomplete pass
Two plays later, Brooks generates an effective pressure to help put the Lions into third-and-long. LBs Quay Walker (7) and Isaiah McDuffie (58) get a 2-on-1 vs. Ragnow with the double-A-gap blitz, so somebody there is getting home no matter what, but Brooks flat-out beats Jackson one-on-one to get the pressure and share the hit on Goff.
Play No. 7: Second-and-7 from the Green Bay 16, fourth quarter, 9:42 left
Result: 2-yard loss by Montgomery
Here it's Wooden with the solid individual play, getting a TFL that helps force the Lions to try a late field goal. Stunting with LB Rashan Gary (52), the rookie Wooden darts to his right at the snap to split Detroit's two tight ends on that side, LaPorta and TE James Mitchell (82), powering through Mitchell to get to Montgomery before he can find any space.