Flashback: Packers vs. Lions

A 2-6 start had put the 1981 Packers in a hole and coach Bart Starr on the hot seat.<P> After climbing back toward the .500 mark, Green Bay desperately needed a win over Detroit at Lambeau Field to continue their comeback.<p> Sound familiar?<p>

Originally written off at the half-way mark, the Packers had reversed their fortune with a three-game winning streak. The spark was a trade for San Diego wide receiver John Jefferson - a perfect complement to James Lofton.

A loss to Tampa Bay ended the Pack's winning streak, but Green Bay rebounded with a win over rival Minnesota. Entering the Dec. 16, 1981 tilt with Detroit, the Packers needed a win in their home finale to break even at 7-7. That was back when a .500 season would have been considered a moral victory for Green Bay.

The weather was cold and, at the outset, so were the Packers. The Lions took a 10-0 lead into the second quarter before the newly high-powered offense took over with 21 unanswered points.

Quarterback Lynn Dickey was 20-of-31 for 279 yards with two touchdowns. Dickey made the most of his three top weapons in Lofton, Coffman and Jefferson.

"When you've got three guys who can make big plays, it doesn't matter if the passes are a little bit low or over their heads," Dickey said. "They make the catches." Harlan Huckleby got the Packers on the board in the second quarter with a one-yard run - the first of his two TDs that afternoon. Dickey's five-yard touchdown pass to Coffman gave the Packers the lead for good.

Another touchdown pass to James Lofton plus a 36-yard field goal by Jan Stenerud helped turn the game into a comfortable 31-17 victory.

The victory left the Packers with such a good feeling, Starr felt compelled to share the team's joy with 54,481 on hand for the Lambeau finale. After the game, Starr called his players together at midfield and then sent his players to the stands to thank the fans.

One fan ran on the field and hugged Starr, who later called this moment one of his most memorable as a Packers.

"We have received incredible fan support in recent weeks," Starr said. "I just wanted them to go and thank them. I can't think of a better way than to touch somebody up close, shake their hand, look them in the eye and tell them you appreciate it."

Packer Report Top Stories