The Green Bay Packers (9-4) overcame an early 14-0 hole to win their 21st straight home game over the Detroit Lions (4-9) Sunday night, 27-20. Also winners of 11 straight games in the division, Green Bay now holds a one-game lead over the Chicago Bears (8-5) for first place in the NFC North. A win over the Bears next Sunday clinches the division crown.
It was over when…
Mason Crosby connected on a 41-yard field goal that put the Packers up 10 points with 4:01 left. The Lions were turned over on downs on the ensuing series, and despite a late Jason Hanson field goal, Green Bay escaped with a 27-20 win.
- Randall Cobb: The Packers’ second-year receiver caught seven passes for 102 yards, including a 38-yarder on Green Bay’s final scoring drive. The catch came on 3rd-and-7 against an eight-man Lions secondary, which set up the Packers with a first down on Detroit’s 26-yard line. Green Bay would have had to punt the ball back to Detroit with a seven-point cushion had Cobb not found a hole in the Lions’ coverage. It’s now clear Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a new go-to guy in must-convert situations for the passing game.
- DuJuan Harris: Signed from the practice squad on Dec. 1, Harris started the game with a toss sweep for 11 yards, then scored the game-winning touchdown on a 14-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. Harris isn’t big in stature (5-9), but he’s quick and appeared decisive in his reads. Mike McCarthy even had enough confidence in the young back to give him carries in the fourth quarter of a one-score game. Sunday night won’t be the last you hear from Harris this season.
- Sam Shields: Shields didn’t start, but he took over during the first quarter for Davon House. From that point on, Shields hardly left the field. He made plenty of plays to stay there, including an interception of Matthew Stafford and two other passes defensed. While not perfect, Shields flashed the kind of game-breaking ability that still makes him such a high-ceiling player.
- Don Barclay: Green Bay gave the undrafted rookie plenty of help, but Barclay did a fine job holding down the right side of the offensive line. Rarely were the protection issues tied to a mistake from Barclay. Overall, he plays with a nastiness that is simply lacking on the offensive line. Given the circumstances, Lions defensive end Cliff Avril could have played a much, much bigger role in the outcome of Sunday night’s game.
Rodgers failed to throw a touchdown pass at Lambeau Field for the first time in 35 games. The last time he was held without a passing score at home was during a 27-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in 2008…The Packers ran 25 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Three different players (Alex Green, Harris, Rodgers) had over 30 yards, while Ryan Grant’s one carry went for 13 yards…Rodgers’ 173 passing yards was his lowest of the season, and his lowest in a finished game since 2010 at New York (170 in 9-0 win over Jets)…Calvin Johnson caught 10 passes for 118 yards, marking the first time in six games that Johnson failed to crack 125 yards…The Lions ran 26 more plays (78-52) and held the ball for almost an entire quarter more (37:14-22:46)…The Lions finished 11 for 17 on third down after starting 8 for 11…Rodgers’ 27-yard touchdown run was the longest scoring run of his career and the Packers’ longest of the 2012 season.
–Left guard Evan Dietrich-Smith was overwhelmed at times by Nick Fairley, including an ugly sack where the former first-round pick mauled his way into the backfield and then drug Rodgers to the ground over Dietrich-Smith. But he was also a big part of Harris’ easy touchdown run, pulling into the hole and cutting down linebacker DeAndre Levy. Dietrich-Smith’s night was up and down.
–Crosby missed a 53-yarder to extend his consecutive games with a miss to seven, but he also made a crucial 41-yarder in the fourth quarter. The boot was a no-doubter, strong and tall and straight down the middle. You can excuse the 53-yard miss considering the conditions Sunday night.
–Almost unbelievably, the Packers did not suffer an injury against the Lions.
–The Packers travel to Chicago next Sunday for a 12:00 p.m. CT kickoff.