Happy Thanksgiving, gobble, gobble and all that. We have been here at Ford Field for about an hour and a half. The Thanksgiving Day Classic (which is the event we are covering today) presents a couple of unique problems. The first is one of logistics. The route I take to get to Ford Field, and it is never particularly easy to get to Ford Field, is blocked due to the Thanksgiving Day parade. My plan "B" worked well as it usually does (this isn't the first trip this turkey has made to the Turkey Day game, after all) so we got here in good order. The second problem is making sure that you don't overfeast (a word which Spellcheck tells me I just invented along with the word "Spellcheck" so we are off to some kind of a start!) at the pre-game media buffet which, today of all days, features the best spread of the season: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. Everything, in other words, that you are going to enjoy when you get home from the game. One must pace ones self. Stuffing yourself before the game is a rookie mistake, and you hate to see it.
Well, we have the Packers in here today and there will be a record crowd and, to be honest, I don't give the Lions much of a shot. There's a reason Green Bay is 10-0 and there is a reason they are the defending Super Bowl champs, after all. And that reason is that they are pretty good. That said, remember I said a moment ago that this isn't my first trip to this rodeo? History tells us that when the Lions pull off an upset, particularly a huge upset, they do it on Thanksgiving Day. So, we shall see what we shall see.
Besides, didn't the Lions beat the Packers the last time they played? (Hint: they did. 7-3, here last December.) The last time Detroit beat Green Bay two in a row was the last meeting between the teams in 1998 and the first meeting between the teams in 1999. And if you like omens, both of the games were played in Detroit. Well, in Pontiac, actually, but both were at the Lions home field.
I am playing hurt today. I had the biggest leg cramp of my life overnight and right now my left calf feels like there's a needle sticking into deep tissue, But, gentle reader, would I let something like that keep me from blogging for you? I think not.
The Lions get a couple first downs, but a holding call on Nate Burleson costs 'em and they have to punt. It didn't look like much of a hold in my view, but once again, they didn't ask me...
The Lions get a couple first downs after the kickoff, but a holding call on Nate Burleson costs 'em and they have to punt. It didn't look like much of a hold in my view, but once again, they didn't ask me. The Lions hold the Packers to a single first down, and they punt to Detroit. Which is a case of so far, so good.
Green Bay has scored an NFL-high 94 1st quarter points this season. With 2:12 to go in first today, they have none. Lions have done a good job of ball control but penalties have hurt. They have had 3 holding calls (one hands to the face, actually) called against them. Which hurts. They might have points on the board except for the penalties.
The Lions don't score--but neither do the Packers in the first. Detroit holds GB to only 8 plays on offense in the entire quarter--not bad considering the Packers are the highest-scoring first quarter team in the NFL this season. (They are also the highest-scoring first half team in the league). Detroit has the ball to start the second.
The Lions moving smartly here. They've gone from own 15 to GB 48 with a 22y Matthew Stafford run looming large. When he was tackled I thought to myself, "That HAS to be a career-long run for him!" Moments later, Lions PR confirmed that it was, in fact, the longest run of his career. Teams don't expect Stafford to run, and the middle was wide open for him. TOP right now: 14:09 to 3:33, Detroit. Still scoreless. Very exciting.
Lions 6th penalty of the day (GB has 0) gives the Pack a first down conversion when otherwise they'd have been punting to Lions. 0-0, under ten left in first half. Lions playing really well--but the penalties are hurting them.
Lions had 'em in 3rd and forever after hold call wiped out 25y GB gain, but are called for hands to the face. Only a 5y pen--but automatic 1st down. Lions hold though, and GB has to punt again. Det 1/10 at own 20 with 5:43 left in half. Detroit defense impresses. GB has scored 189 first half points this year. Today, zero!
Stafford pass is tipped and intercepted and GB has it at Det 13. Pass interference gives them 1st and goal at 1. They score 2 plays later on Aaron Rogers 3y TD pass. A 13-yard, :42 second scoring drive. A bad break and now the boys will have to do with some adversity in this one.
Lions down 7-0 at half, but get a load of these stats: TOP (Time of Possession): Detroit 20:02, GB 9:58. Total y: Det 218, GB 86.Wow. This could be a great second half.
The second half could not have begun any worse than it did for Detroit as GB drives 77 yards in 11 plays in 5:54 to score and go up 14-0. The Packers gained almost as many yards in that one drive (77) as they did in the entire first half (86). Worse than that, Ndamukong Suh--last years NFL Rookie of the Year--was ejected. The call came after the Lions had stopped Green Bay on 3rd and goal. The penalty gave GB a gift first down and John Kuhn scored from a yard out. But, there is more bad news. Kevin Smith--the running back cut by the Lions last March but resigned the week before last due to injuries in the Detroit backfield, the RB who scored 3 TDs and racked up 201 total yards in the win over Carolina just last Sunday, suffered what is being called a lower leg injury and is out for the game. And there is this: on Detroit's first second half possession, Stafford throws his second interception of the afternoon. So, Detroit's down two scores and Green Bay has the ball again and it is noticeably quieter here.
The first play after the pick is a 65 y Rogers to James Jones TD pass. 21-0, Green Bay. Just like that. 5:25 left in 3rd.
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