Sunday, September 14, 2008

Packers beat Lions 48-25

The final score was really not reflective of how close the game actually was. For a brief moment.

The Lions made a game of it in the fourth quarter, to actually take a 25-24 lead with 7:41 left in the game.

How did it get that way? The Packers play calling seemed to get conservative. Field position was also not good most of the time. A fine return by Will Blackmon to the Packers 40-yard line was negated by a penalty on Jarrett Bush. On the ensuing series, the Pack went three and out, only to have the snap go through the punter's hands and out of the endzone for a safety. This made the score 24-18 Packers, but momentum was clearly turning the Lions way.

After getting good field position on the ensuing free kick, Lions' QB Jon Kitna connected with WR Calvin Johnson on a 50-yard catch and run for a TD to put the Lions up 25-24 with 7:41 remaining. Johnson beat cornerback Tramon Williams badly as a result of Williams' poor arm tackling approach and Aaron Rouse's whiff tackle attempt.

On the next series, however, on 2nd and 13 (thanks to the sixth offensive penalty of the day by the Pack), Packers' QB Aaron Rodgers hit WR Greg Jennings on a quick slant over the middle , who turned it into a 60-yard gain to the Lions' 24. On third down, RB Brandon Jackson dropped a wide open pass at about the 5-yard line. The Pack had to settle for another Mason Crosby field goal to regain the lead, 27-25.

On the first play of the first series after the kickoff, Charles Woodson picked off a Kitna pass at the Lions' 40-yard line. On 3rd and one from the 19, Brandon Jackson made up for earlier drop by rushing for a touchdown to increase the lead to 34-25 with 3:31 remaining in the game.

On the Lions' next series, Woodson again intercepted Kitna's pass and returned it about 42 yards for a touchdown. Packers 41 - Lions 25 with 3:09 left.

Having to continue to go to the air, Kitna was again picked off, this time by Nick Collins who returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. Packers 48 - Lions 25.

And that's where the game wound up. How fast things can change. The Packers had it in hand and got a bit complacent and conservative after the half. The Lions, to their credit, kept trying to exploit the passing lanes over the middle and ultimately found success. But the Packers' defense took care of business when it needed to as well, accounting for 14 of the Packers' final points.

Aaron Rodgers finished the day 24 of 38 for 328 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wide receiver Greg Jennings finished with his best receiving day yet, catching 6 passes for 167 yards.

Packers atop the predicted here
So the Packers are 2-0. What about the other teams? Well, we know that the Lions are now 0-2. What about Da Bearz? Lost in a comeback victory to Carolina, 20-17. Ohhhhhh. They're now 1-1. And the ViQueens? Lost to the Colts 18-15. Ohhhhhh. Actuallly, make that 0-2.

So, as predicted here in our pre-game preview, the Packers now sit alone atop the NFC North at 2-0, followed by Da Bearz at 1-1 with the 'Queens and Lions bringing up the bottom at 0-2.

Da Bearz play Tampa Bay in Chicago next week, while the Panthers visit Minnesota. The Lions go to San Francisco. The Packers are at home next Sunday night against the Cowboys in what could be a precursor to a possible NFC Championship Game later in the season.

But for now...let's just enjoy this one. The team looked really good at the beginning and the end. Some of the middle looked a bit iffy, but in the end talent prevailed.

Ah, it's good to be a Packers fan!!!