Packers XLV

Rodgers Returns to Step on Lions' Throats

Posted December 29th, 2014 @ 03:12am

There was a surreal moment during Sunday's division clinching season finale at Lambeau as related by my brother Dan, who was at the game. An Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb touchdown pass elicited an eerie silence from the 80,000 in attendance. There was no Lambeau Leap, no "Bang the Drum" singalong. All eyes were on Rodgers' prone form on the grass, willing him to get up but thinking, uh oh, that looked really bad.

We were alerted to a possible issue with Rodgers' calf when the inactive list didn't include any QBs for the first time this season. With Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien both active, it was a clear sign the team was concerned about the health of number 12.

When Rodgers was carted off before halftime and Matthew Stafford hit Megatron to cut the Pack's lead to 14-7, many of us saw the Pack's 2014 season flash before our eyes. But Rodgers had other ideas. Always the competitor, he returned in the second half to play through the pain, elevating the players around him and basically willing the Pack to victory. Then Ndamukong Suh reverted to his dirty ways, stepping on Rodgers' leg--twice--a disgusting latest chapter in his soon to be former Detroit career. I doubt he'll be suspended; but he should be fined big time.

Everyone will be talking about Rodgers' gutty return, as they should, but the Packers won this game with its running attack. They piled up 152 yards on the ground, a season-high given up by the Lions and it allowed Rodgers to have success through the air. Eddie Lacy ran with his usual reckless abandon and set the tone early with a few big runs on the opening drive. James Starks was equally impressive in relief. The Pack's offensive line won this matchup this time around and it was the difference in the game.

The opening score of the game, Micah Hyde's punt return touchdown, made up for the maddening start to the game, which saw the Pack's opening drive stall on the one yard line, coming up empty after seven plays from inside the seven yard line. That goal line stand gave the impression that we were in for a dogfight between two strong defenses. But then Hyde took a punt to the house from 55 yards out and the goal line stand was forgotten.

The defense was up to the challenge for the most part all day. Only two sacks of Stafford, but a lot of pressure throughout the day and a number of big stops on third down (the Lions were 4-11, while the Pack was 8-13). Though Johnson scored twice he was predominantly held in check. He and Tate combined for about the same number of yards Jordy Nelson got. We'll take that every time.

Now, with the divisional playoff schedule set and the Packers set for a noon Sunday kickoff in a couple of weeks, we know that Rodgers has 14 days to get that calf healed. If the Cowboys beat the Lions they will head to Lambeau in what would be a terrific matchup. If the Lions pull the upset, the Pack gets the Panthers-Cardinals winner.

For now, we'll appreciate a fourth straight NFC North title, a 12-win season and a possible MVP season for #12. He once again demonstrated his toughness, leadership and heart and the other 52 guys noticed. If he's close to 100% in two weeks, he and his team will be favored to earn a spot in the NFC title game. Who's gonna bet against them?

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Comments (12):

OLD SOUTH SIDE GUY gets it. It seems whenever there is an ill-timed penalty, a blown coverage or a missed tackle - Brad Jones is somewhere in the area. A couple of times yesterday, the Lions RBs were making receptions only to see Brad Jones a few steps behind. It is time for a change - Can't wait to see what TT drafts this year.

on December 29th, 2014 at 01:49pm

I agree with much that has been said about Brad Jones, but I think some of his miscues will be nullified when Lattimore is back. Huge win for us though. The two weeks rest will be needed to get Aaron rested. I like our chances at home. Hopefully, Seattle gets knocked off somewhere down the line.

on December 29th, 2014 at 02:26pm

Thanks, OSSG, and everyone else as well. I guess I didn't make it clear that while Jones shouldn't be faulted for the head slap (the rule book should be), he does have his other shortcomings beyond that. Which the majority of you guys have already pointed out, so I won't belabor the point. Besides that, who cares about offseason moves (besides Vikings fans)? THIS IS THE POSTSEASON, BABY!!!

on December 29th, 2014 at 04:17pm

Aaron Rodgers probably cinched his second league MVP by his play in his circumstances yesterday. A little credit, though, has to be given to the Lions for showing up as they historically have in big games. Matt Stafford threw only 3 more passes than Rodgers but had 21 incompletions; one more than he completed. Fortunately he was off the mark on several throws to open receivers that could have torched the Packers. ST's will have to find another word for "special" that starts with "S." Hyde's punt return was done mostly by himself. Another blocked field goal attempt, failing to recover an on-side free kick after the safety and almost losing another after Detroit' s third td late in the fourth qtr. made things closer than they needed to be. It is a notable achievement to win a fourth straight division title and reach the playoffs for the sixth straight season but that's not what put the "title" in Titletown. Those are intended to be redeemed for Super Bowls. Let's hope the next Lombardi to come into Lambeau will be the world championship trophy rather than the coach's grandson as offensive coordinator of the Lions.

on December 29th, 2014 at 06:28am

We are the number two seed in the playoffs, likely to be playing Dallas in our house in two weeks. I would like to put off the sweet and sad goodbyes until after the playoffs please. We got to roll with our guys right now. I do hope for the MVP for Rodgers, but I could totally understand if they gave it to Watt. He had a hell of a year.

on December 29th, 2014 at 06:59pm

How much longer do will we have to endure Brad Jones?

on December 29th, 2014 at 07:35am

I could not agree more with Spencer. Brad Jones was a serious liability yesterday. Calvin Johnson's first TD can be attributed to Jones' idiotic play of hitting Stafford in the head. He struggled to make tackles and looked lost many times, trying to cover people. His Special Teams play was uninspiring as well. After this season is over, Ted Thompson & his staff needs to take a serious look at our Inside Linebacker situation.

on December 29th, 2014 at 08:02am

Lets start with a history lesson from an old guy. Most of you are too young to remember this but go back in time to 1970. It was game 7 of the NBA Finals between the New York Knicks and the showtime LA Lakers. This was for the NBA championship in Madison Street Garden. Willis Reed the center, captain, and motivational leader of the Knicks had averaged about 34 points and 15 rebounds a game before being hurt with a deep thigh bruise in game 5. He missed game 6 and his status was doubtfull for game 7. While the teams were warming up for several minutes before the game and the game was about to start thru the tunnel came a limping Willis Reed to probably the loudest roar in NY sports history. He somehow won the opening jump against Wilt Chamberlain and even though he only scored 4 points in the game NY won by more than 20 to claim the championship. When Aaron Rodgers came back thru that Lambeau tunnel I thought of that moment. You could see the crowd and his teammates would not be denied. This will be remembered in Packer lore for manty years to come. Aaron...go work on that calf and get ready for most likely the "Boys " GO PACK GO !!

on December 29th, 2014 at 08:09am

One stat change to the Willis Reed story. He averaged 24 points per game in those playoffs not 34. Legend still needs fact.

on December 29th, 2014 at 08:13am

Before we completely feed Brad Jones to the wolves, and I'm not going to fully defend him for other reasons, but I would cut him some slack on that penalty. The "hit" he put on Stafford was nothing more than a love tap, and the only fault you can put on anyone for it can go to whatever foolish committee decided that any contact to the QB's helmet should be a penalty - 10 to 15 years ago, no one would have given it a second thought. But that's the sad state of affairs in today's NFL. The ref threw the flag as he should have to abide by the letter of the (lame) rule. Be that as it may, it was far from a "perfect" game for the Packers, but it got the job done - the biggest bonus being Rodgers getting an extra week to heal his calf injury. It sure would have been nice if the Rams knocked off Seattle yesterday, but I'll take a #2 seed anytime.

on December 29th, 2014 at 10:17am

Voice....First of all nice to have you back. No one is saying cut Brad Jones because of the head slap. The guy can not play the LB . He has the most missed tackles and blown coverages of anyone on the team per minutes played. Good bye to him and Hawk next year as our top pick will be a linrbacker. GO PACK GO !!

on December 29th, 2014 at 12:04pm

Hi Davie, Hope all is well. I have been checking often for your next article. I am excited for the game next week and wanted to have the opportunity to play and beat the Cowboys...I hate the cowboys and want the packers to be the DAGGER on their season. I was just watching sports center and was worried to see that Aaron is still not practicing. I'm sure he will be ok for game day! Also...anyone who can advise for a packers bar in San Jose would be appreciated. The packers bar online list is kind of unreliable...I'm sure I can find one on my own, but if someone has a Packers honey hole in my area...please let me know. Don't want to watch this game alone.

on January 7th, 2015 at 02:48pm

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