1.) Woodson's still playing ball like it's 1997
Following his junior year at the University of Michigan, Woodson took home college football's most prestigious hardware – the Heisman Trophy, as the nation's most outstanding player. Usually reserved for quarterbacks, running backs and the occasional wide receiver, Woodson became the first predominantly defensive player to win the award. Twelve years later, the 33-year-old cornerback was striking a Heisman pose in Michigan once more, this time following a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown that sealed the win for Green Bay.
It was Woodson's second interception of the day and capped another ridiculous performance that saw him force and recover a fumble, register a takedown of Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford on a blitz and notch six solo tackles. Just as impressive, he held Calvin Johnson, Detroit's star, albeit banged-up, receiver to two receptions – a 9-yard catch to go with a 1-yard touchdown. Woodson's seven interceptions are one off the league lead and he's tied a personal best with four forced fumbles. If Woodson isn't everyone's front-runner for NFL Defensive Player of the Year, they're not paying attention. No other defensive player means more to his team's success.
2.) Green Bay has nothing to worry about at quarterback
An injured Matthew Stafford showed some moxie when he came back onto the field a week ago against Cleveland and threw the winning touchdown pass with time expired. His coaches may have shown some bad judgment when they ran an often-grimacing Stafford out against Green Bay, trying to build off the positive vibe he established a week earlier and restore a tradition of competitiveness to the Turkey Day contest. Despite his best efforts, Stafford looked every bit the struggling rookie signal-caller in going 20-for-43 with four interceptions and once touchdown.
On the other side was Aaron Rodgers. While Detroit is praying that potential will someday equal production with the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft, Rodgers is ripping the league up as one of its premier passers at the ripe old age of 25. He was 28-of-39 at Ford Field for 348 yards, while connecting with tight end Donald Le and receivers Donald Driver and James Jones for scores. He's not the next Brett Favre. He's the first Aaron Rodgers. That's been impressive enough.
3.) Driver looks like he can play until he's 40
He says, in all seriousness, that he wants to play five more years. After watching the 35-year-old catch seven passes for 142 yards and touchdown, there's no reason not to believe him. Driver is having one of the best seasons of a standout 11-year career, and plays like his 68-yard catch are the reasons. He continues to get deep on defenders 10 years younger than him, and shows a zeal and willingness to catch the ball in traffic and fight for extra yards.
If he was expected to take a back seat to fellow receiver Greg Jennings, he's showing that he's still in the "Driver's" seat, and the pedal is stepped down. His 15.9 yards per catch is a career high, and with five games left, he's on pace for more than 75 receptions and 1,200 yards. Driver was well-deserving of Fox's "Golden Gobbler" or whatever his Turkey-themed trophy was dubbed. And in true Driver fashion, the enthusiasm he showed in accepting the award matched the energy he showed in the three hours leading up to it.
4.) Another typical performance by the not-that-special teams
It looked like it was going to be a Turkey Day for all the wrong reasons when Jordy Nelson fumbled the opening kickoff and Detroit capitalized with a 1-yard Stafford-to-Johnson touchdown toss. Later in the half, Packers kicker Mason Crosby missed on a 43-yard attempt and Green Bay opted not to try a 48-yarder later. Considering Crosby has four misses from 50-plus and has missed kicks in seven of 11 games, that was a wise decision. It's unclear how a player with a seemingly strong leg who led the league in scoring as a rookie seems to be on shaky ground.
Along with those miscues, Green Bay's struggles in kick coverage continue. This time, they gave up two 34-yard kickoff returns that gave Detroit excellent field position. A stronger opponent would've made them pay. As Green Bay continues to iron out its problems from scrimmage, this phase of the game continues to leave room for improvement.
5.) Finley got back up
It was the game's scariest moment. And also the cheapest. Football isn't a contact sport, it's a collision sport. But the hit Lions rookie Louis Delmas laid on an unprotected, outstretched Jermichael Finley was absolutely uncalled for. With 8 minutes and 24 seconds left in the second quarter, Rodgers put a pass high over the middle to his tight end, who stretched out but couldn't make the grab.
While fully extended in the air, Delmas came with a head of steam and put his helmet into Finley's chest, catching his chin in the process. The hit not only knocked the wind out of Finley, but knocked him out cold for a few seconds as he crashed to the ground. Delmas was flagged on the play and Rodgers immediately got in the rookie's ear. Finley assured there would be payback, though it never came on the field. Of course, the best revenge will be when Delmas is sitting home in January, watching Finley lead his team to a wild-card playoff berth.
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W. Keith Roerdink has covered the Packers since 1992. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.