Report card vs. Lions

High grades all around after regular season finale rout over Lions

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Brett Favre needed a little more than a quarter to show he's ready for the playoffs before he punched out early in the meaningless regular-season finale.

Even with starting wideouts Donald Driver and Greg Jennings and playmaking TE Donald Lee inactive, Favre engineered three touchdown drives in as many series, completing his last seven passes to finish 9-for-11 for 99 yards and two touchdowns. The scoring throws were significant for who was on the receiving end -- Koren Robinson and TE Bubba Franks, both of whom have endured different ordeals off the field this season.

Craig Nall's first significant action at QB since the end of the 2004 season was more bad than good. He fumbled twice in the pocket, losing one, and was under a lot of duress caused by a patchwork offensive line. Nall, though, was able to hang his helmet on a 32-yard touchdown strike to a wide-open Ruvell Martin on fourth down late in the third quarter.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-plus -- For an offense that wasn't certain six games into the season that it would have one running back who could do an adequate job carrying the football, the Packers go into the playoffs perhaps envisioning what a two-headed monster might mean to their title aspirations. Green Bay racked up a season-high 217 yards on the ground, averaging 5.7 yards per attempt.

The best news of the day was previously forgotten rookie Brandon Jackson nearly doubled the 57 yards Ryan Grant gained before he left in the first quarter with a stinger. Jackson was 180 degrees separated from the hesitant, ineffective starter he was at the outset of the season. He didn't waste time or steps in hitting the hole and exhibited previously unseen power in breaking several would-be tackles en route to a 20-carry, 113-yard performance.

Favre set the tone for the prolific output by the backs, running free for 21 yards on a bootleg on Green Bay's second play from scrimmage.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The coverage was ragged at times because all but a handful of starters were out the last three quarters with the game in hand.

CB Tramon Williams stood out among the young backups, breaking up two passes, including being Johnny-on-the-spot for an interception caused by a Cullen Jenkins deflection deep in Green Bay territory.

The defense, missing Aaron Kampman, was sack-less for the fourth time in five games, but it generated a lot of pressure on Jon Kitna, who completed only 22 of 48 throws.

Rookie Desmond Bishop was effective as a blitzer in relief of Nick Barnett at middle linebacker.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- Thanks to the big early lead forged by the offense, the Green Bay defense wasn't put on the spot to keep itself from imploding again against the run. Detroit had only 17 run plays and gained just 47 yards.

The young tackle tandem of Justin Harrell and Daniel Muir, playing quite a bit with NT Ryan Pickett held out as a precaution, succeeded in clogging the middle and harnessing powerful T.J. Duckett (average of 2.2 yards in 13 carries).

Nickel back Jarrett Bush snuffed out an end-around by Shaun McDonald.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus -- The hangover from the pathetic, wind-blown effort at Chicago the previous week lasted only for the start of the game Sunday.

Aveion Cason nearly returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but kicker Mason Crosby actually committed a good tripping penalty by leg-whipping Cason past midfield. Thereafter, the coverage units tightened, though the execution was poor on an early onside kick that should have been recovered.

Crosby, who scored 10 points to get to 141, set himself apart as the league's top scorer this season, and he set a franchise scoring record for kickers. Better yet, Jon Ryan took out his frustrations from the two blocked punts and mishandled snap against the Bears by pounding a career-best 72-yarder on a frigid day.

COACHING: A -- Mike McCarthy underscored a philosophy of insuring the club is at optimum health for the playoffs by holding out six otherwise healthy starters.

The team didn't suffer for the decision, mainly because a young group of backups who have been sufficiently prepared all season came through with flying colors. McCarthy saw to it that the offense built some momentum for what's ahead by expertly mixing the pass and run to get Favre and others quickly out of the game with 21 points in hand.

The onside-kick attempt after the first touchdown, just five minutes into the game, was indicative that even incredibly short-handed, the determination was to not go into the postseason on a two-game slide.

Packer Report Top Stories