Driver doing everything but scoring TDs

The Packers' No. 1 receiver doesn't need to get into the end zone to make a major difference,'s Steve Lawrence says. Looking ahead to next week, Driver and Owens form an interesting contrast.

Donald Driver has gone eight games without a touchdown reception, matching the longest stretch since he became a full-time starter during the 2002 season.

Before Thursday, he hadn't caught more than five passes in a game since Week 4 at Minnesota.

He didn't score during Green Bay's 37-26 victory over Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, either, but Driver served notice — for those foolish enough to think otherwise — that he's still one of the NFL's top receivers.

Brett Favre wasn't asked about Driver after Thursday's game, but he couldn't help but talk about him.

"What can you say about Donald Driver? I told him, walking off the field right at the end, I said, ‘You don't have to score touchdowns to be awesome.' Of course, he knows that, but he makes those 3-yard catches look unbelievable. A couple of them I threw it, and he was behind the line of scrimmage."

Led by another shake-your-head-in-awe performance by maestro Favre, Driver helped carve apart the Lions' defense like he was an electric knife to the Lions' overcooked Thanksgiving turkey. With a knack of making the difficult seem routine while making the ordinary seem extraordinary, Driver caught passes short and long for season bests of 10 receptions and 147 yards.

It was the type of day Driver made seem commonplace last season, when he caught a career-high 92 passes. Driver bobbed and weaved, dipped and darted and shaked and shimmied his way for extra yards time and again against the hapless Detroit secondary.

Next week, in the NFC showdown at Dallas, Favre and Tony Romo will get the lion's share of the headlines, but Driver and Terrell Owens form an interesting subplot.

Over the previous four games, Favre completed 100 passes for 10 touchdowns. Driver caught just 17 of them without a touchdown. Driver, being the consummate team player, was genuinely happy for his teammates after each of those touchdowns. Not once did he pout. Not once did Driver not celebrate those touchdowns like he had scored them himself.

Reverse roles, and how would Owens react?

All is good in T.O.'s world these days. He's playing the role Sterling Sharpe played when Favre was a young quarterback. Sharpe often was Favre's first and only read, and the same goes for Owens and Romo.

But how would Owens react if he were still the No. 1 option on offense but not necessarily in the red zone, essentially doing the heavy lifting so a teammate could get the glory? While Driver has two touchdowns this season, Greg Jennings has nine. During Driver's eight-game scoreless streak, Jennings has scored touchdowns in six of those games, including two against Detroit.

Instead of pouting or sabotaging the team for his own self-interest, Driver flashes that mile-wide grin of his and happily accepts the good-natured ribbing he gets on his TV show.

Favre is having perhaps the best season of his career, due in part to the merging of two factors. One, Driver attracts defenders like moths to a light. Second, Jennings, James Jones, Ruvell Martin, Donald Lee and, now, Koren Robinson are so good, that there's almost always somebody open, and that might not be Driver.

That's what Favre means when he said to Driver, "You don't have to score touchdowns to be awesome." Driver's presence alone, and not just on the football field, is a big reason why these Packers probably don't need an airplane to fly to Dallas.

Steve Lawrence is a regular contributor to E-mail him at

Packer Report Top Stories