Report card vs. Lions

High marks for Packers defense and coordinator Bob Sanders

On the same day he set the NFL record for career completions, Brett Favre had his worst game of the season from an efficiency standpoint with a passer rating of 32.9. The Packers managed to win despite Favre not having a touchdown pass, throwing a season-high-tying three interceptions and amassing all of 174 passing yards.

Favre's would-be receivers were of little help, dropping five passes — two each by tight end Donald Lee and running back Ahman Green (both resulted in interceptions) and one by tight end David Martin at the goal line. Favre's other pick was into triple coverage in the end zone. He has eight interceptions in the last four games and suddenly is at 15 for the season, with 17 touchdowns.

The line was shaky, as center Scott Wells caused a fumble with a premature snap and right tackle Tony Moll had two of the team's four procedural penalties.

What holes Ahman Green rarely could find, Vernand Morency hit with blazing authority. Morency starred in a supporting role, averaging 7.7 yards in seven carries. He essentially spared Green Bay from an embarrassing defeat by turning on the jets for touchdown runs of 14 and 21 yards, the latter capping a 12-play, 78-yard drive late in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.

Green, meanwhile, had only three significant runs out of his 22 carries, highlighted by a 19-yarder, and was dropped by a relentless front seven of Detroit four times behind the line of scrimmage. Green had seven other runs of zero to 2 yards and totaled 79 yards, though he joined Jim Taylor in the team's exclusive 8,000-yard club.

Roy Williams would have been shut out in the catch department had Jon Kitna not escaped the pocket vise of Cullen Jenkins and Ryan Pickett and scrambled to make an 11-yard completion on a broken play in the Lions' second series. Williams wasn't heard from thereafter, thanks in great deal to the deference paid by the Lions to cornerback Al Harris, as the Packers' horrific pass defense changed its spots.

Jenkins more than responded to his first start of the season at right defensive end, perhaps ushering in the end of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila's declining stay in Green Bay. Jenkins had a career-high three sacks, two when he moved inside on passing downs, by early in the second quarter. His dominating first half also included a fumble recovery and deflected pass that Harris intercepted to the inside of Williams.

Aaron Kampman later got in the sack act with two as the Packers posted a season-high six and yielded but 84 net passing yards. Charles Woodson matched Harris with an interception, giving him a career-best six for the season. Middle linebacker Nick Barnett, though, struggled in coverage with tight end Casey Fitzsimmons.

Barnett made up for his lapses defending the pass by racking up a game-high 12 tackles. As expected, Detroit didn't challenge the defense much on the ground with Kevin Jones out. The Lions utilized their replacement backs only 12 times and generated just 24 yards. The bulk of their 58-yard output was by Kitna, who scrambled and sneaked his way to 34 yards.

Gbaja-Biamila missed a tackle past the line of scrimmage on an 18-yard gain by Kitna on third-and-8 in the second quarter.

The kickoff- and punt-coverage units were outstanding, led by Tracy White, Ben Taylor, Jason Hunter and Noah Herron. The dangerous Eddie Drummond had sub-par averages of 5.5 yards on punt returns and 17 yards on kickoff returns. Taylor atoned for a head-butt penalty at the end of a punt return in the third quarter by ripping down Drummond at the Lions' 15 after the Packers went up 17-9 with less than three minutes to play.

On the flip side, though, Woodson had gains of two and minus-2 yards in his first two punt returns and was exonerated of a fumble on his third runback by a penalty on teammate Tyrone Culver. Greg Jennings took over the return duties in the second half and was dropped for a 2-yard loss in his only opportunity.

Morency averaged a pedestrian 20.8 yards on kickoff returns. Jon Ryan shanked a punt but also boomed another 51 yards. His averages of 42 gross yards and 33.6 net yards reflected his up-and-down day.

Much-maligned defensive coordinator Bob Sanders earned kudos for one of the few times this season because he latched onto and exploited an opponent's glaring weakness. He targeted a battered Lions offensive line from the get-go and allowed a capable front seven to go after Kitna with reckless abandon. The constant harassment paid off not only with the half-dozen sacks but also the big interceptions by Harris and Woodson.

The Packers allowed a season-low 142 total yards. Head coach Mike McCarthy had balance in his play calling, but the slew of dropped passes this late in the season doesn't speak well for the offense's preparedness. McCarthy also has to get back to reining in Favre some more because the careless passes into multiple coverage are rearing their ugly head.

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