His 1-yard touchdown run capped the defining drive of the game and propelled the Green Bay Packers to an emotional and spirited 27-15 victory over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving at Ford Field.
With that, the Packers are 11-0 and capped a stretch of three games in 11 days by winning their 17th consecutive game. They will surely enjoy their mini-bye before traveling to New Jersey to face the up-and-down New York Giants (6-4) on Dec. 4.
But that's getting way, way ahead of ourselves. Green Bay led 7-0 at halftime and got the ball to start the third quarter because of coach Mike McCarthy's decision to defer after winning the opening coin toss. The Packers' offense, which ranged from mediocre to bad in the first half, finally got in gear. On the second play, Aaron Rodgers hit Jermichael Finley for 26 yards. Then there were back-to-back completions of 15 yards to Donald Driver and 19 yards to Greg Jennings. After a false start, Rodgers threw a quick-hitting pass to Jennings, who left cornerback Aaron Berry in his dust for an 18-yard gain to the 7.
Finally, on third-and-goal came the circle-it-in-red play of the game. Rodgers threw incomplete to Driver in the end zone. After the play, though, Lions Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh rammed backup right guard Evan Dietrich-Smith's head into the turf twice. When one of Dietrich-Smith's teammates tried to pull Suh off the pile, Suh stomped on Dietrich-Smith's leg.
That gave the Packers a first down and Suh an early shower. After a first-down incompletion, Kuhn took the handoff, followed lead-blocker/nose tackle B.J. Raji and scored to make it 14-0.
Moments later, backup inside linebacker Robert Francois made a leaping interception. Rodgers wasted no time. James Jones beat cornerback Brandon McDonald across the field, caught the ball at about the 40 and beat two defenders to the pylon for a 65-yard touchdown. Suddenly, it was 21-0. That would become 24-0 not long thereafter, with Charles Woodson's interception setting up a 35-yard field goal by Mason Crosby.
The cushion was huge for a beat-up Packers defense. Inside linebacker Desmond Bishop was lost in the first quarter with a calf injury. Fellow inside linebacker A.J. Hawk didn't play in the second half because of a calf injury. Outside linebacker Erik Walden was injured in the third quarter, when Detroit cut the margin to 24-8, though he returned by midway through the fourth quarter.
The Lions were in no better shape. When Green Bay drained the clock and kicked the clinching field goal late in the fourth quarter, Detroit had receiver Rashied Davis playing in the secondary.
The first half had the feel of a heavyweight fight, and appropriately, it was 340-pound Ryan Pickett that made the biggest play of a chippy and contentious opening 30 minutes.
On second-and-10, Stafford targeted tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who was covered about 10 yards downfield by Clay Matthews. Pickett jumped and deflected the pass, with Matthews racing forward and hauling in the ball.
That gave Green Bay the ball at the Lions' 13. On first down, Rodgers' end-zone pass to Jennings fell incomplete but cornerback Chris Houston was flagged for pass interference. That made it first-and-goal at the 1, and Rodgers connected with Jennings for the touchdown.
The Packers took that lead into halftime, which was an upset in itself considering the first-half numbers. Detroit held advantages of 218-86 in yards and 20:02-9:58 in time of possession. The Packers' high-powered offense went 0-for-3 on third down, and of their seven first downs, three came on defensive penalties.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.