Play of the Day
With a botched goal-line series, the Packers came up empty on an impressive opening possession and swung the momentum in Detroit’s favor.
But not for long.
The Lions managed one first down but punted, with Micah Hyde doing what the offense failed to do moments earlier. Taking Sam Martin’s 45-yard punt, Hyde had plenty of room to operate. It started with jammers Sam Shields and Chris Banjo flattening Cassius Vaughn and Jarrett Bush tying up his man just past midfield. That got Hyde started and helped him put a move on Jed Collins, who was unblocked and had a clear shot at the tackle. From there, Demetri Goodson, Brad Jones and HaHa Clinton-Dix had key blocks, and Hyde used his speed to win a race to the end zone. That gave Green Bay a 7-0 lead and it never trailed.
Player of the Day
Who else could it be other than Aaron Rodgers?
With Rodgers presumably out for the rest of the game with a calf injury, a 14-7 lead wasn’t just on thin ice. It was like an ice shanty on Lake Michigan on a 45-degree day in April.
But, with the Packers lining up to punt after a three-and-out series piloted by Matt Flynn, Rodgers limped out of the locker room to a loud ovation.
“I thought of Willis Reed hobbling on to the court when he came back,” Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk said, thinking back to the New York Knicks legend hobbling onto the court to inspire the Knicks in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers. “To not only come back but come back and play like he did might be the top of the list for me.”
It wasn’t Rodgers’ finest performance but it was perhaps his finest hour. He finished 17-of-22 for 226 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating of 139.6 was the best of his 12 career games against the Lions. More importantly, he helped turn a 14-14 tie into a 30-14 lead.
Gazing into the Crystal Ball
Everything, clearly, rides on the health of Rodgers’ left calf. If this badly needed bye week proves to be the right tonic, this season might wind up in Glendale, Ariz., for Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1. Offensively, the Packers rushed for 152 yards against the NFL’s best run defense and Rodgers was more than good enough. Defensively, the Packers held the Lions to 312 yards and limited Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate to seven receptions in 16 targets. Assuming Rodgers can get healthy and special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum can find some guys who can block on kicks, there’s no reason why the Packers can’t win the championship.
Numbers Worth Noting
4: Consecutive division championships won by the Packers. The Lions have won four division titles in franchise history.
7.6: Touchdown-to-interception ratio this season for Aaron Rodgers, with his 38 touchdowns vs. five interceptions. Among quarterbacks with 30 touchdowns in a season, only Tom Brady (9.00; 36 TDs/4 INTs in 2010) is better, though Rodgers holds two of the top three spots. (Rodgers was 7.50; 45 TDs/6 INTs in 2011).
12: Wins by the Packers, the third time accomplished by the team since Mike McCarthy took over as coach in 2006. The Lions have one 12-win season in franchise history.
13: Giveaways for the season by the Packers, with two on Sunday including the botched onside punt. That beats the franchise record of 14, accomplished in 2011.
24: Consecutive home victories by the Packers over the Lions, extending their NFL record.
34:18: Green Bay’s time of possession. The Packers won the time-of-possession battle seven times this season and went 7-0 in those games. Green Bay had the ball for just 21:47 in the Week 3 loss at Detroit.
50.4: Difference between Rodgers’ passer rating of 139.6 and Matthew Stafford’s passer rating of 89.2.
100: Rushing yards by running back Eddie Lacy, the first individual to rush for 100 against Detroit. It was Lacy’s third 100-yard game of the season, though he had games of 97, 98 and 99 the previous four weeks.
112.2: Rodgers’ season passer rating. He’s topped a 100 rating in six consecutive seasons. No other quarterback in NFL history has more than four.
139.6: Rodgers’ passer rating against the Lions. Green Bay went 11-0 this season when Rodgers topped 100.
240: Pass attempts at home this season by Rodgers without an interception. Only Brady (241 in 2003) can eclipse that feat.
318: Points at home this season. Green Bay is just the fourth team in NFL history to score 300 points at home in a season, joining the 2011 Saints (329), 2011 Packers (321) and 2013 Broncos (316).
418: Consecutive passes at home without an interception by Rodgers, dating to Dec. 2, 2012. He’s thrown 36 touchdown passes since his last home interception. Both are records.
98/1,519/13: Receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches for Nelson. Only five players in NFL history can match that production. The others:
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