Maybe the Detroit Lions should be thankful for Matt Flynn playing at quarterback for the Green Bay Packers instead of Aaron Rodgers, because they’re no way they’d be winning by 30 points if that was the case. However, it shouldn’t harm the feeling of elation for a franchise that’s seen so many rough seasons and Thanksgiving disappointments. They’re leading the NFC North, and seem to be in good hands with the trio of Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush leading the offense.
The game was close up to a certain point, but there was only one team in the second half. Matt Flynn, one of the tragic figures of this season, led the Packers to only 126 total yards. Green Bay got their only points through a field goal and a fumble return by Morgan Burnett. With 12:33 left in the second quarter, the Packers stopped scoring, conceding 37 consecutive points en route to a 40-10 loss, which means they are now 5-6-1, falling fast in the race for a playoff spot.
It wasn’t a fair fight, pure and simple. Matthew Stafford didn’t even need to put on a special show. He was intercepted twice (and threw for three touchdowns), connecting six times with Calvin Johnson for 101 yards and a touchdown pass. Reggie Bush had one of his best games of the season, rushing 20 times for 117 yards and a touchdown, adding 5 more catches for 65 yards as well. The Lions outgained the Packers by 435 yards, just the fourth time in the last ten seasons an NFL team gained 400 yards or more than their opponent in a single game and the second largest disparity in that span.
How bad were the Packers? Flynn was 10-of-20 for 139 yards and an interception, but he was also sacked 7 times, which is very similar to his only start this season for the Oakland Raiders. And to think of the way he said goodbye to the Packers at the end of the 2011 season… Eddie Lacy, credited for bringing life back to the Packers offense, was going nowhere. He gained 16 yards on 10 carries; the Packers rushing attack had only 24 yards on 15. The Packers had 0 rushing 1st downs; the first time since 1990 that the Packers failed to get one on the ground.
This is just how much a franchise quarterback means. Maybe with Aaron Rodgers they would still lose, but that player alone is worth 10 wins a season. The Packers aren’t the best team in the NFC, but they’re good enough for the playoffs and maybe more, but another season will possibly go wasted due to Rodgers going down in that loss to Chicago, starting a streak of five games without a win.
The Lions don’t and shouldn’t care. Not about the pains of the Packers, or the calls of being a dirty team. That’s the price of being successful, currently at 7-5, looking like the favorites to win the division and make the playoffs for the second time in three years. After so many bad years for a lot of these players, ending a 10-year losing streak on Thanksgiving means a lot more than just a divisional win.
It’s easy when you lose a couple games in a row, particularly the fashion that we lost, for people to say, ‘Here we go again,’ and I’m sure there were some people that were saying that, but they weren’t on our sideline. It’s a step in the right direction for us. I’m sure the turkey will taste better.