NFL Game Summary - Detroit at Green Bay
(Sunday, January 1st)
Final Score: Green Bay 45, Detroit 41
Green Bay, WI (Sports Network) - The Packers and Lions' regular season finale resembled a video-game shootout, as Green Bay's quarterback set single-game franchise records for yards and touchdowns thrown in a 45-41 shootout win.
In a season that saw Aaron Rodgers make headlines on a weekly basis, it was backup Matt Flynn who put the finishing touches on the Packers' 15-1 campaign by throwing for an eye-popping 480 yards and six touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Jermichael Finley with 1:10 remaining.
With the No. 1 seed in the NFC already secured, Green Bay opted to sit Rodgers for the untested Flynn, who in his second career start looked eerily similar to the MVP candidate bundled up on the Green Bay sideline in cold, snowy conditions.
"It's pretty incredible to look back and see what we did in the game, but that's what it took to win," Flynn said. "It wasn't as easy as it looked. They have a good defense. We had a good game plan and executed well."
The Packers will play their divisional round playoff game on Sunday, January 15 at 4:30 p.m. (et).
Flynn outdueled Matthew Stafford, who threw for 520 yards and five touchdowns for the playoff-bound Lions (10-6), but was picked off by Sam Shields in the final minute to seal the outcome.
The air assault allowed Stafford to surpass the 5,000-yard passing mark for the season, becoming just the fourth player in NFL history to do so.
It was the first time in NFL history both quarterbacks threw for more than 400 yards and tossed five touchdowns, and the 1,000 combined passing yards set a league record.
Calvin Johnson caught 11 passes for a Lions-record 244 yards and a touchdown, while Jordy Nelson hauled in nine passes for 162 yards and three scores for the Packers.
The loss was the 21st straight at Lambeau Field for Detroit, which fell back into the No. 6 seed after the Falcons beat the Buccaneers later Sunday. The Lions will now play at New Orleans in the wild-card round, next Saturday night at 8 p.m. (et). They lost to the NFC South-champion Saints in Week 13, 31-17.
"We have to go out there and execute on offense," Stafford said of the upcoming matchup. "[The Saints] are playing great on offense. Our defense is going to have their hands full."
Sunday's back-and-forth contest featured 11 lead changes, one coming when Green Bay's Donald Driver hauled in a 35-yard touchdown pass with 8:10 remaining in the fourth for a 38-34 advantage.
The offensive showcase slowed slightly with a pair of three-and-outs, but it took Detroit just six plays to cover 93 yards on its next possession, with Stafford finding Tony Scheffler for a 12-yard score with 2:39 to go.
James Jones' 40-yard catch along the right sideline on 3rd-and-4 from the Detroit 46-yard line set up Finley's deciding four-yard score.
Flynn's historic game began inauspiciously with a lost fumble in the opening minute. Stafford threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Titus Young four plays after the turnover.
The Lions were gifted two points on the ensuing kickoff thanks to Pat Lee's blunder. Jason Hanson's kick skidded into the shin of an awaiting Lee and the returner watched as the ball bounced completely out of the end zone. Lee, still standing in the end zone, pulled the ball back over the goal line and knelt down for what he thought was a touchback. But after a brief talk between the officials, it was determined to be a safety, and replay confirmed the ruling.
Mason Crosby capped a 15-play, 64-yard drive with a 22-yard field goal to get the Packers on the board, and Nelson caught a seven-yard touchdown later in the first quarter after Kevin Smith lost a fumble.
Johnson's team-record 16th receiving touchdown of the year -- a 13-yard grab -- gave the Lions the lead back midway through the third, but Ryan Grant took a screen pass and went up the left sideline for an 80-yard TD two plays later.
Hanson booted a 30-yarder after the teams traded turnovers, and Nelson countered with a 36-yard touchdown on a jump ball thrown by Flynn with 3:37 left in the half.
Hanson missed a 39-yard try and Crosby was wide left on a 47-yarder before halftime, and Stafford was picked off on the first possession of the third quarter.
Stafford shook off his first interception in 151 attempts by throwing a two- yard touchdown pass to Young with 6:39 left before the fourth.
Flynn countered with a 58-yard TD bomb to Nelson, only to have Stafford respond by hitting Smith for a two-yard score with 2:07 remaining in the third. The Lions added two more points on Scheffler's reception.
Green Bay, which swept the NFC North, became the sixth 15-1 team in NFL history...The Packers went 8-0 at home and own a 13-game winning streak as the host...Even without playing, Rodgers set an NFL record, as his 122.5 quarterback rating surpassed the 121.1 rating Peyton Manning put up in 2004...Nelson finished with 15 touchdown catches this year. He had six combined over his first three seasons...The Packers also played without Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews and cornerback Charles Woodson...Packers offensive tackle Chad Clifton played the first quarter after missing the previous 10 games with a torn hamstring...The Lions have not won in Green Bay since December 15, 1991...Stafford finished the season with 5,038 yards, 42 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
01/01 22:16:33 ET