Sunday, December 28, 2008

Packers win 31-21!

It wasn't pretty. And the Lions didn't fold. But the Packers were finally able to put the Lions in the record books as the first team with an 0-16 record by beating them 31-21.

The Pack scored 17 points in the final quarter while holding the Lions to a sole touchdown.

The first score of the 4th quarter came early on a 36-yard field goal by Mason Crosby to put the Packers up 17-14. About 5 minutes later, the Pack went up by 10 on a 5-yard TD catch by FB John Kuhn, making the score 24-14.

But as so often has been the case this season, the Packers gave up their newly-found momentum quickly. It took the Lions only about a minute to go 80 yards for a TD to pull back within 3 points, at 24-21. It came courtesy of two big pass plays, including a blown coverage. Once again, it looked like the defense might collapse and give away a victory.

But on the Packers' first play after the ensuing kickoff, Aaron Rodgers hit a wide open Donald Driver on a rainbow 71-yard TD pass to put the Pack back up by 10, 31-21.

There were a number of nervous moments in the following 7 minutes of the game. One real turning point was on a Detroit drive when Lions rookie RB Kevin Smith was flagged on the Packers' sideline for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. That put Detroit in a 3rd and 4th and 28 situation from which they could not recover. In fact, Nick Collins got another pick -- matching Charles Woodson's 7 -- to essentially seal the deal with a little over 2 minutes remaining. The Packers never gave the ball back after that.

A few high water marks occurred in this game. Rodgers threw for more than 4,000 yards this season. Since 1970, he is only the second quarterback to have done that in the same season as his first career start; the only other to have done so was Kurt Warner. Rodgers threw 3 TDs on the day, putting him at 28 for the season versus 13 interceptions...a pretty darn good season by any measure. Donald Driver, for the fifth straight season, had more than 1,000 yards in receptions. Ryan Grant rushed for 106 yards today, taking him over 1,200 for the season. DeShawn Wynn also finished with 106 yards rushing today, with 73 of those yards coming on his first quarter TD run.

The Packers didn't play a great game by any stretch of the imagination. But we got the win. The fact that the Lions were in it so late was not only a tribute to them but also a real reminder of all the glitches the Packers need to address in the offseason.

There is no reason this team should be 6-10 and packing up their lockers.

Except themselves.