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article imageLions Can't Maintain Quick Start, Fall to Packers

By Bob Gordon     Nov 26, 2009 in Sports
Detroit started the game fast. They kicked off and after Jordy Nelson gained 22 on the return his fumble was recovered by second-year Lion Jordon Dizon.
With less then two minutes played the Lions capitalized on the turnover when Mathew Stafford hit wide receiver Calvin Johnson on a one-yard, over-the-back-shoulder fade. Despite Johnson's visibly gimpy knee and Stafford's shoulder, separated only four days ago, Detroit jumped out to a quick lead.
Detroit has struggled with the 'Big Play' throughout their multi-season losing streak and it burned them again on the last play of the 3rd Quarter. Out of the shotgun, after an impossibly leisurely eight seconds in the pocket, Aaron Rogers hit Donald Driver for 68 yards. On the next play, the first of the 4th Quarter, Green Bay scored to tie the game.
The Detroit pass rush was notable only in its absence in the first half.
Green Bay added two field goals and went to the dressing room at halftime with a six point lead. With only 16 seconds left in the half Detroit gave up two sacks in a row. Stafford appeared to emerge from both unhurt.
At halftime the statistics told a stronger story than the scoreboard. In the air, Rodgers was 17 of 25 for 204 yards, with one TD and no interceptions. Stafford was 8 of 16 for a paltry 64 yards, with two interceptions and one TD. On the ground both teams were struggling but the Packers 54 yards were almost double Detroit's 29.
The second half opened up like a comedy of errors. Stafford threw another interception. Then, Rodgers got sacked and coughed it up on 4th down. But, Green Bay scored first when Donald Driver caught a seven-yarder from Rodgers. At the end of that drive, Driver was 7 for 142 yards on the day.
With a bit more than nine minutes left in the final quarter Jordy Dizon had his second big play of the game. A safety turned into six points when Dizon recovered a fumble in the end zone after Ryan Grant lost possession when he was hit behind the goal line. However, a challenge by Packer coach Mike McCarthy overturned the original ruling and Grant was called down.
Charles Woodson's second interception of the day, returned 38 yards for a touchdown with less than four minutes to go gave Green Bay a 22-point lead and sealed the Lions' fate.
Overall, Stafford threw four interceptions. When Aaron Rodgers sat down with a few minutes left in the game he had three TDs, no interceptions and had passed for 348 yards.
The Lions fell to 2 and 9 while the Packers improved their record to 7 and 4. The Packers trail NFC North division leader Minnesota (9-1), but they are in excellent position in the wild card race. Detroit's playoff hopes faded long ago.
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