Report card vs. Lions

Favre leads an A-plus offense in Thanksgiving Day win, but rush defense gets low grade

PASSING OFFENSE: A-plus -- An unprecedented, 18-minute stretch by a Packers quarterback essentially made the difference on the scoreboard. Brett Favre was a passing virtuoso from the two-minute mark of the second quarter to the first minute of the fourth quarter. He completed a team-record 20 straight throws, to seven different players, for 233 yards in a span of four possessions, which resulted in 20 points (two TDs, two field goals). With that, Favre added another notch to his recent run of incredible efficiency. He finished 31-of-41 for a season-high 381 yards and three touchdowns, with a passer rating of 128.2.

Donald Driver was his fearless self going over the middle and had a monster day with yards after the catch, totaling season highs of 10 receptions and 147 yards. Greg Jennings, Driver and James Jones had big first-down pickups in the final series to set up a clinching field goal. Jennings has proved to be Mr. Reliable gaining separation in the red zone, scoring twice to run his team-best TD total to nine.

The protection was outstanding, keeping Favre sack-less for the second time in three games. Tony Moll, in relief of Mark Tauscher at right tackle for the final quarter, had what could have been a costly holding penalty in the decisive late possession.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus -- It was no fault of Ryan Grant that he had but 7 rushing yards with the game more than 40 minutes old. Up to that point, he had only three carries.

Everything changed, though, when Grant ripped off a 31-yard gain off a stretch play to the left that he instinctively cut back straight across the field late in the third quarter. He was on his way to contributing his third 100-yard game in the past five, getting to 101 yards in a hurry with 15 carries.

The limited touches early in the game had Grant running fresh and with toughness late. He bounced off Fernando Bryant and knocked the cornerback from the game in the fourth quarter. Grant then pitched in to the crucial final drive with a heady 27-yard run to get Mason Crosby in position for the insurance field goal.

Moll whiffed on a backside cut block of Cory Redding, who slammed Grant for a 1-yard loss on third-and-1 preceding the Crosby field goal. Grant's strong runs down the stretch, however, had nobody remembering that left guard Daryn Colledge's right foot tripped up Favre and caused a fumbled exchange with Grant on the Packers' first play from scrimmage.

PASS DEFENSE: B-plus -- Even without cornerback Charles Woodson for the final three quarters because of a toe injury, Green Bay had the upper hand on Detroit's top-notch receiving group for most of the game. Just the presence of Al Harris and his hounding ways at the line of scrimmage was enough for the Lions to look away from Roy Williams, whose first catch wasn't until late in the first half. Williams had modest totals of three receptions and 32 yards.

Rookie Calvin Johnson was Jon Kitna's main alternative, piling up seven catches for 83 yards and snaring a 6-yard TD surrounded by three defenders.

Previously untested Tramon Williams, in the game as a dime back with Woodson out, showed ball skills with two breakups on throws to Johnson.

Rookie safety Aaron Rouse was instinctive in stepping in front of Johnson over the middle for an interception and long return in Lions territory to get the offense on track at the outset of the second quarter.

Aaron Kampman dominated Detroit's right-tackle tandem of Jonathan Scott and Blaine Saipaia, hitting Kitna three times with two sacks. The Packers, though, were susceptible to flares and screens over the middle, with situational back Aveion Cason's amassing 58 yards with four catches.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Packers suddenly appear to be vulnerable stopping the run. They missed not having athletic Johnny Jolly, who suffered a shoulder injury in the previous game. They then lost imposing Colin Cole to a fractured forearm.

The Lions' maligned offensive line shockingly dictated play in the trenches early and often, springing Kevin Jones to the outside for 93 yards in 20 carries and leading bulldozing T.J. Duckett up the middle for some significant early gains.

In all, Green Bay was gashed for 134 rushing yards and a per-carry average of 4.5. It has surrendered 265 yards on the ground in the past two games. Michael Montgomery, in a backup role at end, provided some resistance with two impressive stops of Jones by getting off blocks.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus -- Tramon Williams also excelled in his primary role on the special-teams units. He had a 33-yard kickoff return early in the game and, in the second quarter, had a touchdown-saving tackle when he made up nearly 15 yards by sprinting to chase down Cason on a 74-yard kickoff return.

Woodson paid the price for his season-best 34-yard punt return late in the first quarter, suffering the toe injury when he was ripped down from behind by Alex Lewis, who avoided a potential TD-springing block by Jarrett Bush.

Punter Jon Ryan had decent averages of 43.5 gross and 38.5 net. Offside penalties on Bush and Jason Hunter on extra-point kicks in the fourth quarter were detrimental to field position for the offense in the final quarter.

COACHING: A -- As the injury casualties mounted, young reinforcements were prepared to come in and make some plays that allowed the Packers to build a 34-12 lead and kept them from folding down the stretch.

Head coach Mike McCarthy has the magic touch for getting his team to persevere on the road, its fifth win in as many tries this season. As the play caller, McCarthy exploited the Lions' coverage schemes by spreading things out and making liberal use of the pass to ride Favre's hot right arm.

Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders countered Detroit's multiple-receiver sets by going extensively with the dime for the first time this season and putting his trust in the front four to generate pressure on Kitna.

Penalties still are a blemish on the team's 10-1 record. It had nine infractions for 81 yards, including a horse-collar tackle by Frank Walker and a blatant facemask takedown of Roy Williams by Harris late in the game.


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