Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn for a safety during the third quarter of an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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DETROIT — Josh Sitton had to concede that this was a pretty one-sided loss.
Earlier this week, the Green Bay offensive lineman called Detroit’s defensive players “dirtbags” — and the Lions responded with a 40-10 rout of the Packers Thursday.
Green Bay was outgained 561-126, reaching triple digits only because of a long pass late in the fourth quarter, well after the outcome had been decided.
“No question that this is embarrassing,” Sitton said. “I’ve been playing football for a long time, and I’ve never been part of a beatdown like this.”
Green Bay (5-6-1) has a five-game winless streak, coinciding directly with the absence of Aaron Rodgers, who fractured his collarbone against Chicago on Nov. 4. The Lions (7-5) turned the ball over four times, but even that wasn’t enough to prevent a blowout.
Matt Flynn, Green Bay’s fourth starting quarterback this season, was sacked seven times, once by Ndamukong Suh for a safety.
“You don’t want to say that we can’t win without Aaron, but he’s been out for five games and we haven’t won any of them,” Sitton said. “He’s our best player, and this is tough.”
Sitton didn’t mince words in an interview Tuesday with Milwaukee radio station WSSP 1250.
“Their entire defense takes cheap shots all the time,” he said. “That’s what they do. That’s who they are. ... They’re a bunch of dirtbags ... that’s how they play, and that’s how they’re coached.”
After the Green Bay offensive line looked overmatched against the Lions, Sitton stood by his comments.
“I don’t take back anything I said, but I don’t want to stand here and discuss it again. They played great,” he said. “No one ever said they weren’t a great defensive front. They are probably the best inside combination in the league. It doesn’t change the way I feel.”
The Lions would have been motivated anyway — they had lost nine straight on Thanksgiving — but the win was especially satisfying after Sitton’s comments.
“It’s just adding fuel to the fire,” Detroit cornerback Rashean Mathis said. “It’s waking up sleeping dogs. That’s how he felt, he expressed it and we responded.”
Flynn threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns against Detroit in the final game of the 2011 regular season. This outing couldn’t have been more different. He went 10 for 20 for 139 yards with an interception and two fumbles.
“They might have a lot of the same guys, but I can say they’re a different defense. They’re flying around, creating havoc,” Flynn said. “As a quarterback, we’ve all kind of had those games offensively when you can’t get into a rhythm and you’re getting off the field too much. Makes for a tough day.”
Detroit’s Matthew Stafford was 22 of 35 for 330 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He also had a fumble, which was returned 1 yard by Morgan Burnett for Green Bay’s only touchdown.
The Packers led 10-3 in the second quarter, but once the Lions stopped turning the ball over, this was a mismatch.
Reggie Bush ran for a 1-yard touchdown to give Detroit a 17-10 lead late in the first half. He finished with 117 yards rushing and 65 receiving.
Detroit’s Joique Bell ran for 94 yards and a score. Calvin Johnson had six receptions for 101 yards, including a 20-yard TD that put the Lions up 24-10 early in the third quarter.
The Packers have been leaning on rookie running back Eddie Lacy lately, but he was limited to 16 yards on 10 carries against one of the NFL’s best defenses against the run.
“We’re a wounded team that got drilled Thursday, by a good football team,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “That’s the facts of the matter. We have a long weekend. Hopefully we’ll get some more people back.”
If Detroit hadn’t started the game so poorly, the score could’ve been even more lopsided.
Bush ended what was a productive opening possession by fumbling inside the Green Bay 10 when former USC teammate Clay Matthews knocked the ball out of his hands. Detroit later had first-and-goal from the Green Bay 7 and had to settle for David Akers’ field goal.
On Detroit’s next snap, Nick Perry stripped the ball away from Stafford, and Burnett’s short return gave Green Bay the lead. Stafford ended the next drive with an interception.
NOTES: Green Bay C Evan Dietrich-Smith, who was stomped on by Suh in a Thanksgiving game two years ago, left this one with a knee injury and didn’t return. ... Packers TE Ryan Taylor was evaluated for a concussion after a crunching hit by Detroit’s DeAndre Levy, but he was able to return. ... Lions CB Chris Houston was inactive with a foot injury.
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