Packers versus Lions was unlike any other game in the history of the NFL. (I was there.) Plenty was at stake for Green Bay heading into this game. With a win the Packers would secure a first round bye in the playoffs, and possibly the top spot in the NFC. Losing to the lowly Lions was unthinkable.
Prior to kickoff, fans (nearly all donning Packers gear) gathered around the lower bowl, as close to the field as they could get. Players danced and stretched and Crosby kicked! Some fans were lucky enough to get a glimpse of J.K. Scott’s glorious punting form. Others such as myself, played catch with a relaxed and curiously left-handed Jamaal Williams. Jamaal continued to dance and interact with fans throughout the stadium, as I received the notification that he had been ruled out with a shoulder injury.
As we mingled in the stands and spoke with other die hard Cheeseheads, a wonderful lady in the a number 91 jersey asked to squeeze by. “Preston”, she called from the first row in the stands. As it turns out, she was outside linebacker Preston Smith’s loving mother, and called him over to speak with him before the game. In a matter of moments I had played catch with a Packers player, and met another. Unbelievable! And the game had yet to begin!
Once the game kicked off, the mood of many Packers fans quickly turned. As they so often do, the Lions came out of the gates swinging against the visiting Packers. In the midst of yet another losing season, Matt Patricia had his troops prepared for this one. Detroit slammed the ball down the Packers throats for the first two quarters. With Mike Pettine choosing to line the defense up in dime personnel more often then not, the Lions were able to run as they pleased. The running game opened up their playbook, and eventually Danny Amendola hit David Blough on a trick play similiar to the “Philly Special” for the first score of the game.
Kerryon Johnson doubled the Lions lead on a 1-yard, fourth down plunge into the endzone. The 11-play drive took up a total of six minutes on the clock and continued to batter the Packers’ defense. Mike Pettine just couldn’t figure it out. Fans in the stands were at a loss. Green Bay was unable to get off the field on a number of third down situations. Blough was doing just enough to keep his offense humming.
Ultimately, the Packers simply failed to execute at opportune moments in Lions territory and found themselves trailing 17-3 at halftime. The defense inexplicably allowed Ty Johnson to escape for a 40-yard scamper with only seconds remaining on the clock. Matt Prater knocked a field goal through the uprights as time expired. Packers fans were a somber bunch as the teams headed for the locker room. But with Aaron Rodgers in tow, there’s always a chance.
Matt Lafleur’s offense created plenty of chances throughout the first half, unfortunately Rodgers failed to hit the target on many occasions. Admittedly, this game in Detroit was not Rodgers best day, yet 12 is always ready for crunch time. Finally breaking through in the third quarter Rodgers led a scoring drive. A 20 yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams got the Packers right back in the game.
Green Bay followed that up with a 40-yard Mason Crosby field goal to make the score 17-13. On the ensuing drive a quick 30-yard pass interference penalty allowed the Lions to get into scoring range. Cornerback Jaire Alexander made a game-saving tackle on Chris Lacy as he stumbled. Alexander’s intelligent thinking saved a touchdown, and the Packers four crucial points. The Lions were forced to settle for a 56-yard Matt Prater field goal.
Aaron Rodgers was back at it in a one score game. As he so often did this past Sunday, Rodgers was able to find undrafted stud Allen Lazard when the game mattered most. With five minutes remaining, the towering Lazard beat Lions top corner Darius Slay, and skied over him for a 28-yard score. Packers fans around Ford Field exploded. Go Pack go chants rang around the stadium. Victory was in sight!
Following an Aaron Rodgers interception; that was really more like a punt, Green Bay got the ball back with a chance to win the game. A quick strike to Aaron Jones over the middle put the Packers in scoring position with 45 seconds left on the clock. A few Jones runs ran down the clock, and it was all up to Mason Crosby from there.
Packers fans high-fived, others hugged, and celebrated a wonderful triumph. Our seats happened to be next to two elderly Packers fans, in complete gear, with earrings to boot. I can tell you today, those were two of the loudest and proudest fans in Ford Field on Sunday. There is nothing better than watching an NFL football game in person. The experience of witnessing the Green Bay Packers comeback in dramatic fashion created memories that will last a lifetime. If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend an adventure to see the Packers play. The tradition of the green and gold is alive and well. Go Pack Go!Nick is a lifelong Packers fan. 4th and 26 was on his 13th birthday, unlucky. Follow him @CANDRAFTGEEK647 on Twitter for all your Packers draft needs and questions.