On to the Playoffs

What a game. Lots scoring, lots of lead changes, and there was even a streaker on the field in the fourth quarter, making this writer glad he listened to the game on the radio. When it was all over, the Packers backups beat a good Lions team 45-41 to finish the regular season 15-1 — the best record in franchise history.

The team went 13-3 in 1996 under Mike Holmgren and 13-1 in 1962 under Vince Lombardi. They won championships in both of those years.

Detroit remains winless in the state of Wisconsin since 1991.

Backup quarterback Matt Flynn also made himself a lot of money today. The team decided to rest Aaron Rodgers and give Flynn his second career start. He did not disappoint.

In addition to throwing 6 touchdown passes — something Rodgers has never done — he set the franchise record for most yards in a game with 480. The Packers have a long tradition of great quarterbacks, from Bart Starr to Lynn Dickey to Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers. None of them have thrown for as many yards in a game as Flynn did today.

He will be a free agent at season’s end, and should draw a lot of interest; hopefully he doesn’t sign with the Vikings.

The defense was missing its two best players today, Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews. It showed. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 520 yards — meaning the opposing quarterbacks combined for precisely 1,000 passing yards. Receiver Calvin Johnson torched the Green Bay secondary for 244 yards, which is the most any receiver has ever put up on the Green Bay defense in the team’s 92-year history.

Despite all the yards allowed, the defense recovered two fumbles and intercepted Stafford twice. The second interception, courtesy of cornerback Sam Shields, clinched the game without about a minute left in the fourth quarter. It’s hard to win with four turnovers, but the Lions sure came close.

Both teams will be in the playoffs. The Packers get a bye week, and the Lions will find out who their next opponent will be shortly. If Detroit wins next week, they could well make a return trip to Lambeau Field in two weeks. The Packers will not be resting their starters in that game.

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