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Packers rise to 7-3 with 24-20 comeback win over Lions

Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Packers rise to 7-3 with 24-20 comeback win over Lions

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Nov 18, 2012 - UPDATED: Nov 18, 2012

Next game: Sunday, November 25 at NY Giants
Packers Gameday at 5:00 p.m. Newsradio 620 WTMJ and 6:00 p.m. on TODAY'S TMJ4 in Milwaukee and NBC26 in Green Bay; download our free Packers "Gameday Extra" App!

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5:32 p.m.
Casey Hayward to Larry McCarren: "I think I played pretty good."  On Twitter, the word understatement would be hashtagged.

4:44 p.m.
More Packers twitter-verse:

T.J. Lang:
"Well folks.. Defense got us the W today.. Much respect for the lions they are a hell of a team. "

4:30 p.m.
Packers twitter-verse updates:

Donald Driver:
"Big Win Today! Thanks to all the fans that come. Great catch and run by and great catch by . Sweet "

Jerel Worthy:
"Great team win today. Big division win! On to the next. Giants is the focus. Thanks for the support. GOPACKGO "

Alex Green:
"It wasn't pretty but it's not required to be "

Ryan Pickett:
"Great division win!!!"

3:30 p.m.
McCarthy with Larry McCarren:

On close win:
"Division games are always special.  Every one is a good win...I thought our defense was outstanding, just the way they battled...offensively, we just did enough."

On Crosby situation:
"Mason's got to kick the ball through the uprights.  He knows that.  We're supportive when players go through tough moments, but this is about performance."

On his mustache:
"Prostate cancer awareness month.  I'm participating."

4th Quarter

3:13 p.m.  Lions' 4th Drive  :19
Too much time?  Stafford has a cannon.  Megatron can catch deep cannonballs.

Crosby squibs.  Why?   Send it deep!  62 yards from victory for Detroit instead of 80.  Ugh.

:15 left.  As Wayne says an Our Father, a Stafford bomb goes out of Scheffler's hands.

:09 left.  Again, an INC.  One play left to survive.

:03 left.  Stafford's last gasp.  Johnson at the 40...lateral...PICKED!  McMillan clinches it with a recovery.

3:07 p.m.  Packers' 4th Drive  1:37
Green Bay 24, Detroit 20
Crosby 39 yd FG

Well, the Packers don't have it clinched yet.  Gotta get a first down.  Two runs equal zero.

3rd-9 at DET 20: naaaaaaaathing.  :24 left as Crosby prepares.

3:03 p.m.  Lions' 3rd Drive  1:55
75 yards from the lead, and Brad Jones just missed clinching the game with a pick.  Still, an incompletion.

Yellow flaggage helping the yellow-helmeted Packers.  False start.  One of the most undisciplined teams in the NFL when they want to be, at a time they can't afford it.

3rd-15 at DET 20: Great breakup!  Hayward again!  I think the Packers have themselves a defensive back.

4th-15 at DET 20: Stafford takes forever to throw...INCOMPLETE!  DAGGER!  (Despite a possible missed call on Packers DB's.)

2:55 p.m.  Packers' 3rd Drive  4:25
Green Bay 21, Detroit 20
Rodgers-Cobb 22 yd TD pass
This is when MVP's become MVP's.  Aaron Rodgers, it's your time.

Starks.  Blasting!  12 yards.  Finally, the Packers O-line owned their blue-shirted counterparts.

Finley!  With a convoy!  Broken tackle!  WOW!  40 yards!  Insane play by a guy who has to play insane.  He's gritting his teeth as he nearly limps to the O-line.

So who does Rodgers throw to next play?  Finley.

3rd-1 at DET 22: Rodgers...deep...Cobb?  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That's what MVP's do.

2:46 p.m.  Lions' 3rd Drive  8:37
Detroit 20, Green Bay 14
Hanson 27 yd FG

3rd-2 at DET 36: Defense must save the day again.

Nope.  Broyles.  27 yards.  Beating Burnett.  Simple hook pattern, and Burnett got hooked.

Wide open.  Young.  Defense fail.  10 yards from a two-score game.

1st-goal at GB 10: three yards from LeShoure.  Average that the first three downs, Packers are OK.

2nd-goal at GB 7: HUGE stop by Jones on LeShoure.  That MUST be done.

3rd-goal at GB 9: Stafford with lots of time, but a near pick. Hayward almost saved Green Bay there.  He also got away with one.

2:35 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  11:33
Green Bay 17, Detroit 17
Crosby 38 yd FG

Rodgers downfield to Nelson.  Big one.  32 yards from the lead.

BIG pass interference on Lawrence against Nelson...but it's technically called a hold...which it also was.  Not as many yards, but still a first down.  Nice.

Another flag saving Green Bay.  Avril in the neutral zone, to make up for a bad piece of malfeasance from Rodgers' arm.

To describe the Packers O-line problem: Starks, when he gets the football, is "looking at a collection of Packers butts." - Larry McCarren

3rd-2 at 20....Jones gets no call when interfered with along the sideline.

Crosby...please?  Nope.

7th miss in last 12 attempts.  Horrible.  "Packers officially have an issue at kicker." - Larry McCarren

2:33 p.m.  Lions' 1st Drive  13:31
92 yards from the end zone to start the drive.

MONSTER 2nd down sack.  Pickett and House fence in Stafford.  (Bad pun.  I know.)

3rd-10 at DET 8: Walden and Moses stop Stafford at the line of scrimmage.  Will the Packers' defense save the day again?

2:27 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  continued from 3rd quarter
3rd-9 at DET 43: Cobb.  Catch yes.  First down, no.  40 yards from the end zone.  Do you punt or go for it?

WHAT?  Crosby?  58 yards?  What are you thinking, McCarthy?  A kicker with little confidence, and worse accuracy (as of recently, at least)?  And you send him out?

Ugh.  Crabtree.  Motion.  As if he was going to fake and run.  Oooooops.  But that's a better decision anyway.  Punt.

3rd Quarter

2:19 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  3:01
No.  Two drops by Cobb on the same kickoff return, but the Packers keep it because Cobb was down by contact..  Phew.  11 yard line.

Starks has been the MVP offensively so far.  Making good runs out of not much blocking.  Seven yards on first down.

3rd-2 at GB 19: Cobb toss play!  There you go!  Looked like Hornung going 15 yards there.  He had the patience as Sitton and Dietrich-Smith did their best Jerry and Fuzzy impersonation.

Rodgers BIG!  Jones.  20 yards.  A name we haven't heard at all today, until now.  He must play big as we get closer to the fourth.

Kuhn.  No extra vowels deserved there.  Fairley owned Saturday, and tackled him along with Kuhn.

2:06 p.m.  Lions' 2nd Drive  8:31
Detroit 17, Green Bay 14
Stafford-Johnson 25 yd TD pass

Scheffler was wide open on 2nd down, but thanks to a blitz, the pass nowhere near him.  However, a face mask on Brad Jones dumbs down what would have been a smartly-executed play.

3rd-2 at DET 45: Pettigrew.  Super wide open after a blitz from the inside linebackers.  Throw them where they ain't.  Simple.

Leshoure again is getting good yardage in the interior.  Two plays mean 20 yards.  Lions' O-line is winning.  Packers' O-line is not.

That may be the difference.

Now, Stafford running.  First down yardage, and Ryan Pickett doesn't have enough foot speed to get to Stafford in the open field.  Like me chasing Speedy Gonzalez.

After a 10-yard penalty, Stafford had forever, but the Packers' secondary covered forever.  "Stafford was looking and looking, praying and praying, and nobody could shake open." - Larry McCarren

WOW.  Calvin Johnson.  Rifle throw.  Burnett tried to pick the ball.  It went off his hands, but Johnson still snagged it for a score.

1:53 p.m.  Lions' 1st Drive  11:35
Green Bay 14, Detroit 10
M.D. Jennings 72 yd INT return TD

Thanks to Masthay's 56-yard punt and a great roll, about as good of a result came from a near three-and-out. 

Leshoure with eight yards slashing through a hole hard.  Credit him.

And, I just noticed a replay...Fairley nearly body-slammed Rodgers until he heard the whiste or a teammate.  COuld have been much worse.

3rd-3 at DET 40: Scheffler.  16 yards.  Delayed blitz did nothing.  A hole was wide open for Scheffler to sit in.

WOW!  Stafford had a wide open Megatron and missed him.  It would be at least 24-7 Lions if Stafford was more accurate today.

3rd-5 at GB 39: now, 3rd-10 at GB 44 after a false start.  Much needed malfeasance for a Packers team getting not-necessarily dominated, but beaten beyond the scoreboard.

Titus Young with a leaping grab at the 19...but the refs thankfully called it incomplete.  Offisdes on defense, pass interference on offense, so it's a harmless do-over.

3rd-10 at GB 44, v.2: PICK!  Jennings!  SEE YOU LATER!

Said by Lance Allan on Twitter:"That is M.D. Jennings first career interception. But for those that watched the end of the Packers game in Seattle, I think we know better"

1:45 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  15:00 left in quarter
Thanks to malfeasance on kickoff return blocking, the Packers are 95 yards from the lead.  Ugh.

More flaggage on a Cobb hook pattern and catch for a first down.  But no actual foul.  Vanden Bosch and Dietrich-Smith got into a tussle.  Both were at fault.  Probably arguing over long last names.

Detroit's defensive front isn't the 1962 Lions against the Packers on Thanksgiving, but in the run defense, they have almost completely owned Packers linemen.

Now, add pass protection to that.  None there as Avril anvil-ed Rodgers for a four-yard loss.

3rd-14 at GB 16: BALL!  FUMBLE!  Packers recover after Rodgers was sacked with the football squirting out.  Saturday saving the day, for the moment.

2nd Quarter

1:27 p.m.  Packers' 4th Drive  1:07
No huddle.  Cobb.  Inside the 25.  Dink.  Dump.  Clockwork.  11 yards.

Not clockwork this time.  Sack.  Fairley beat Sitton badly.  Larry: "Jerking Josh Sitton to get the sack."

Deep field goal...Crosby...worry.

1:23 p.m.  Lions' 4th Drive  1:52
Stafford running.  Walden chasing.  Could have been a late flag out of bounds, but Walden right at the edge of the sideline.  Clean.

3rd-10 at DET 43: FUMBLE!  Moses caused it!  Daniels got it!  HUGE pass rush saves Green Bay again!

1:19 p.m.  Packers' 4th Drive  2:15
Load of time to go 52 yards to the end zone.  But they need better blocking to protect the skill position guys.

Starks with a great hole left to open up holes for him for seven yards.  Two minute warning.

Worse.  Lacy.  Picking Rodgers.   Tried to thread the needle to Cobb and again, a loft pass would have worked.  This was an underthrown rifle.

1:10 p.m.  Lions' 3rd Drive  4:48
Reverse!  Thomas.  Packers knew it.  Hayward and Walden causing a six yard gain to become much less than what it could have been.

3rd-4 at DET 34: Uh oh.  Neal offers a gift first down by jumping into the neutral zone.

Leshoure.  15 yards.  When Morgan Burnett makes a tackle and he's the deep safety, you got problems.  Incredible hat-on-hat domination that play by Detroit.

Phew.  Megatron was open at the 10 yard line.  Stafford missed him.  With the help of Moses smashing Stafford, and he's limping a little.

3rd-8 at GB 45: another gift first down.  Brad Jons with a hit to Matthew Stafford's head. 

PICK!  Hayward!  That saves the Packers' hydes.  Just a bad throw to Young.  That simple.  Missed Hayward coming.

1:01 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  8:06
Consistent gains have been the mark of the Packers, as teams have taken away the big play.  The first play of this drive was just like that...a short six-yard underneath throw to Starks.

First down this time by Starks as four grinding yards outside through defender after defender.  Starks is the kind of back who can gain yards by himself through a bunch of not-so-perfect blocking and great opponent penetration.

Another example!  Starks slammed into Tullock after a one-yard gain.  It turned into a four yard chain because Starks churned...and churned...and churned.

Packers run blocking...much to be desired today.

3rd-3 at GB 38: Rodgers flushed...and after Cobb missed a diving catch, a holding call.  Add insult to 3rd down injury.    Dietrich-Smith getting beat.  Offensive line, not the best day.

12:48 p.m.  Lions' 1st Drive  13:56
Detroit 10, Green Bay 7
LeShoure 1 yd TD run

Uh oh.  Will Heller.  18 yards.  Wide open.  Casey Hayward was blitzing and missed Stafford.  If he gets him, huge sack.  But Heller filled the spot where Hayward was blitzing from.

THIS TIME, the Packers get the sack.  Walden cleans up where Mike Daniels missed.

3rd-9 at DET 47: Megatron.  Sometimes uncoverable.  21 yard gain.  The man is nuts.

3rd-3 at GB 25: Megatron.  This is sickeningly becoming a theme.  14 yards.  Beating Tramon Williams.

Leshoure...10 yarder.  Fantastic cutbacks twice to avoid tackles.  NO one near him until the one yard line.

1st-goal at GB 1: Yep.  Leshoure again.  Took forever, but they called it.

12:43 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  continued from 1st quarter
Green Bay 7, Detroit 3
Rodgers-Finley 20 yd TD pass

FANTASTIC spin move by Nelson to get 18 yards on another 3rd down.  Wow.

FINLEY!  THAT'S DOING THE JOB!  WIDE OPEN and he had no possible stopping him.

5-6, 67 yards on the drive for ARod.

1st Quarter

12:32 p.m.  Packers' 3rd Drive  4:24
3rd-GB 6 at GB 22: Nelson had a previous drop, but not this time.  In the seam of the Lions' zone.  Just sat there, took it in, and an easy pitch and catch.  First down.  15 yards.

Ooh.  Late hit on Rodgers, but not called.  Refs seemingly letting them play.

Lions are making their presence well known on the bruises of Rodgers and James Starks, who just got slammed for -2.

3rd-9 at GB 39: Avoidance of a sack, and Rodgers with ANOTHER FANTASTIC  PRESSURE THROW!  .  Two guys averated, and old reliable, Donald Driver, there for a first down.  That was like old Roman Gabriel/Joe Kapp ugly scramble for beautiful results kind of football there.

12:25 p.m.  Lions' 3rd Drive  7:32
Detroit 3, Green Bay 0
Hanson 30 yd FG
Calvin Johnson with droppsies disease.  That's rare.  No complaints.

LeShore ATE Hawk in the backfield with a swing pass.  Hawk destroyed his blocker, than had LeShore for lunch.

3rd-12 at DET 29: Stafford.  Bombing.  Megatron.  Sadly, unguardable.  McMillan all over him.  Nothing he could do.  54 yards.  Just too good.

Walden with ilegal hands to the face on the tight end.  It's worse.  10 yard line.

1st-goal at GB 9.5: Johnson overthrown.  Perhaps more of a throwaway.  Hawk had perfect coverage of Megatron.  In other words, I just typed that Hawk had perfect coverage of the NFL's best receiver.

2nd-goal at GB 9.5: Scheffler, but not enough.  Not to the end zone.

3rd-goal at GB 3: Stafford has forever....maybe not!  BURNETT!  Call that a coverage sack.  Double coverage on Megatron, the guy Stafford was looking for all along.

12:16 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  11:24
48 yards from the end zone (ah, field position battle victories), they're running with Cobb.  They have to due to depth...or the lack of it.

Starks is getting more tough, carry-the-defender-with-your-back yardage.  Love it.

3rd-0.5 at DET 38.5: Starks.  Outside...and with not-so-perfect blocking, his own effort was enough.  He got pushed about four yards back by a guy beating T.J. Lang like a rented mule, but had enough on his own to get the first.

Rodgers-Cobb deep...but it's all negated thanks to a little too much sustained contact by Sitton.  Way to waste a great throw to a wide-open receiver.

Cobb now does work himself on a swing pass, making four guys miss, getting ten yards back from that malfeasant boo-boo by Sitton.

And Dietrich-Smith gets the second holding penalty this drive.

"That's three holdin' penalties on one football team in a quarter-and-a-half...It ain't funny." - Bum Phillips.  McCarthy's getting close to that.

Cobb again makes up a little of it, but nowhere near enough.

3rd-17 at DET 45: ARod...forever to throw...Jones got something, to field goal range.  Not first down, but hopefully...please, Mason...enough for a field goal.

Never mind that idea.

4th-3 at DET 31: ARod to Cobb....nope.  Open at the five, but slightly overthrown on a rope.  Had it been a bit more of an arc-like throw, it's a touchdown.

12:12 p.m.  Lions' 2nd Drive  12:18
WIth 98 yards to go to the end zone for Detroit. the Packers' defense is stepping up.  House with a fantastic stop of Titus Young.

3rd-8 at DET 4:  Nathin.  Scheffler was open.  Wide open.  Stafford missed him.  Phew.

12:05 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  14:11
Starks.  Slammin'!  About six yards, with three yards right through the chest of Milwaukee Vincent's own Deandre Levy.  First down.

3rd-6 at DET 46: Make that 3rd-11 at GB 49 thanks to Dietrich-Smith's quick trigger.  I would have that same trigger if Suh was about to stomp on me.

And on that 3rd-11 - screen?  Why run a screen there?   Unless you have nothing else available, and your receivers are covered while you get chased for your life, don't throw - or run a screen.

But the Packers win a field position battle, as Masthay bombs a punt with great coverage at the two yard line.

12:01 p.m.  Lions' 1st Drive  15:00 left in 1st quarter
Stafford starts the game with a play action pass to Pettigrew and Morgan Burnett snuffed it out.  Three yard gain.  If it's not a great open field tackle, it might be a 30 yard gain.

3rd-7 at DET 23: Megatron de-cleated by Hayward, who not just tackled Johnson, but the ball to cause an incompletion.


12:01 p.m.
Packers call tails for the initial coin flip - and the Lions win the toss.  They want the football first.  That means the Packers get the ball when it's more important, the second half.

11:27 a.m.
Mike McCarthy with Wayne Larrivee:

On bye week:
"Bye weeks are always beneficial for the health of your football team.  We're healthier, with more energy.  We had an extra day of practice to do some fundamental things...We're ready to go today."

On offensive line cross-training:
"When you look at both Evan and T.J., their ability to know multiple positions benefits us and them."

10:59 a.m.
Here's Jeff Falconio's three keys for todays game.

10:53 a.m.
DB Sam Shields and LB Terrell Manning were both listed as questionable for today.  They're both inactive.

12:00 a.m.
DETROIT - The unofficial second half of the Green Bay Packers' season begins today with today's Packers-Lions matchup in Detroit.

If the results of Monday night's Chicago Bears-San Francisco 49ers tussle in San Francisco also go their way, the NFC North becomes a deadlocked race.

But first things first for Green Bay (6-3), the challenge of winning a divisional game against an opponent with offensive explosives and, particularly on defense, sometimes explosive emotions.  (Read: "Suh Stomp.")

"One thing about division games, there's history," explained Packers Coach Mike McCarthy on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News." 

"There's personal history.  Most of the players that will play in this game are familiar with one another.  It's an indication to younger players to understand the heightened awareness, the urgency, the physicality that goes into these division games.  That's been addressed this week."

So, hopefully for Packers fans, is the sometimes-explosive but mistake-prone Detroit offense.

The Lions (4-5) are second in yards gained so far this year, and first in passing yards.  However, their scoring productivity hasn't always followed, as they stand just 13th in scoring - still above the league's median, but not enough of a level to keep them above the .500 mark.

Only one of five Detroit losses came with a margin greater than one score - a mark of a talented but frustrated Lions team with a chance at the team still perceived by many as the best in the division.

"They've won some close games.  They've lost some close games," explained Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji to TODAY'S TMJ4. 

"We've kind of had that same struggle, so we can kind of empathize on that standpoint."

Perhaps the greatest thing the Packers can lean on today is something rarely seen in teams that play outdoors on grass - a penchant for domination in domed stadiums.

Green Bay owns a 17-8 record (.680 winning percentage) in domes under McCarthy, with a 9-3 mark (.750) against Detroit and Minnesota in road games.

"It's definitely the quality of the team you bring to the dome," explained McCarthy. 

"They're all road games.  It speaks volumes about our ability to perform in a noisy atmosphere.  It's a real credit to our players.  It's a real challenge from a cadence standpoint.  It's something you have to prepare for.  Our guys do a great job of it."

How does that success come?  Perhaps more than anything, speed at the receiver position and the ability of quarterback Aaron Rodgers to take advantage of it.

For his career, he has a 117.0 passer rating in dome games.  In Detroit and Minnesota, it's almost as exemplary - 116.2.

The Packers are built for victory today in Detroit.  Followthrough, and the Packers will be halfway to a new NFC North race with the Bears.