PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus
Aaron Rodgers finished a solid debut season as a starter with a flurry. His passer rating was a career-best 132.2 on the strength of 21-of-31 accuracy for 308 yards, a personal-high tying three touchdowns and no interceptions. The completion percentage would have been off the charts if not for seven drops, including an uncharacteristic four by top receiver Greg Jennings. Previously under fire for not being able to come through at crunch time of close games, Rodgers shot back with the team's longest pass play of 2008, a laser that traveled 50 yards in the air to Donald Driver, who covered the rest for a 71-yard touchdown that delivered the final knockout to the 0-16 Lions with 7 minutes to play in what was a three-point game at the time.
Driver (six catches, 111 yards) and Jennings (five catches, 101 yards) had 100-yard performances. Rookie tight end Jermichael Finley finally let his play do the talking after he had taken issue with his involvement in the offense and questioned Rodgers' throwing abilities earlier in the season. Finley pulled down a 3-yard fade pass for an early touchdown and had a 26-yard catch on downfield lob later in the game. Rodgers was sacked four times behind a makeshift offensive line that was shuffled some more on two occasions in the game because of injuries.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A
Wynn, filling the No. 2 role for the second straight game in place of an injured Brandon Jackson, needed only seven carries to realize his first 100-yard game. In one fell swoop, he broke away for a 73-yard touchdown (Green Bay's longest run of 2008) in the first quarter. Daryn Colledge, the normal starting left guard making his first pro start at right tackle, sprung Wynn by sealing off a defender on the outside in the open field. Wynn received a blocking escort to the end zone from Driver the last few yards. Grant broke out of a mini-slump by averaging 5.6 yards in 19 carries. He made amends for losing a fumble for the first time since Week 4 by turning his next carry in the third quarter into a would-be 80-yard touchdown — the call was overturned when Grant was determined to have hit the ground on a tackle, leaving him with a 21-yard gain.
PASS DEFENSE: C-minus
Covering up Harris' misdeeds were the usual Pro Bowl ball-hawking antagonists of cornerback Charles Woodson and safety Nick Collins, who stayed in step with each another with their seventh interceptions to finish the season tied for the league lead. Collins clinched the victory by picking off a desperation heave from Dan Orlovsky on fourth-and-27 down at the goal line with the Packers ahead 31-21. Defensive end Jason Hunter had the only sack of Orlovsky, who rarely was pressured.
RUSH DEFENSE: B
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus
The Lions had just closed their deficit to 24-21 on Smith's touchdown run with 7:32 left in the final quarter. Instead of relying on the run in an attempt to chew up some clock and stem Detroit's momentum, the first play called by McCarthy on Green Bay's next possession had Rodgers roll out on play-action and let loose with the 71-yard scoring strike to Driver. McCarthy's balanced play calling — 35 pass plays to 26 running plays — yielded superb results in both facets. McCarthy was even better with clock management to end the first half, having all three timeouts at his disposal to force the Lions to punt and set up the fair-catch free kick.
Whether better results on defense and special teams were enough to spare defensive coordinator Bob Sanders and special teams coordinator Mike Stock from possibly being cut loose remains to be seen. Avoiding a six-game losing streak to end the season and not allowing Detroit to gain its first victory were a credit to the coaching staff for keeping the players focused on the otherwise meaningless game.
Packers vs. Lions report card
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