With one of the most miraculous plays in NFL history the Green Bay Packers edge the Lions in Detroit on Thursday night. The Packers are now 8-4 but will need the Minnesota Vikings to lose to take first place in the NFC North.
With no time left on the clock Aaron Rodgers took a shotgun snap, slipped a sack, rolled to the right and skied a 61-yard prayer to a pile of waiting receivers and defenders in the end zone. His tight-end Richard Rodgers who was late to the pile, leaped up and caught that heave to stun the Detroit crowd.
Leading up to that it was not pretty for the Packers, especially the first half. Green Bay got the ball first but ended up having to punt. Detroit took advantage beginning with a 12-yard run by running back Ameer Abdullah and a 20-yard pass to receiver Calvin Johnson to get into field goal range. The Packers’ defense held on which forced Detroit to kick a 51-yard Matt Prater field goal to give the Lions a 3-0 lead.
After another Packers’ punt that was a three and out the Lions again took advantage with their offense. Abdullah broke free for a 36 yard run to take Detroit to the red zone and quarterback Mathew Stafford capped off the drive when the threw a three yard touchdown to his tight-end Eric Ebron to give the Lions a 10-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive Lions cornerback Grover Quin intercepted Rodgers to give the Lions excellent field position. On the first play following the turnover Stafford would connect to Johnson for the 17-yard touchdown to give the Lions a 17-0 lead.
To begin the second quarter the Packers’ offense showed some life when a deep incompletion to R. Rodgers was called for a defensive pass interference. A 15 and a 19-yard completion to Rodgers would get the Packers into the red zone. On third down Lions defensive end Devin Taylor sacked Aaron Rodgers for eight yards forcing a fourth down and a 41 yard field goal attempt, which was missed by Mason Crosby. The rest of the half saw no action from either team as the entire second quarter was scoreless and the Lions went into halftime with a 17-0 lead.
The Lions began the second half with possession and again got down field. Running back Joique Bell started the drive off with an 18-yard run and Stafford receiver Golden Tate with a 13-yard pass and receiver Corey Fuller with a 15-yard pass to get Detroit into field goal range. Again the Packers’ defense would hold on to force the Lions to settle on a 34-yard field goal to give them a 20-0 lead.
The Packers would finally get things going offensively on the ensuing drive when Rodgers connected to Rodgers for a 26-yard pass. After a 25-yard screen pass to running back James Starks to get Green Bay into the red zone, Starks would fumble the ball into the end zone and receiver Randall Cobb recovered it to give the Packers a touchdown, narrowing the Lions lead to 13.
On the first play of the Lions’ ensuing drive Julius Peppers would strip the football from Stafford and it was recovered by rookie linebacker Jake Ryan to give the Packers the ball again. Aaron Rodgers and the offense would respond when receiver Devante Adams caught an eight yard strike for a touchdown to make the score 20-14 Lions to end the third quarter.
After matching punts the Lions would respond beginning the drive midfield. After successfully going for it on fourth down the Lions were held by the Packers’ defense on a third and long forcing Detroit to kick a 42 yard field goal to give them a 23-14 lead.
The Packers would respond on the ensuing drive with Rodgers completing a 16-yard pass to Cobb and an 11-yard pass to Rodgers to get Green Bay in the red zone. Aaron would cap the drive off himself when he scrambled 17 yards to get the touchdown himself cutting the Packers deficit to two points.
With three minutes left, the Lions looked to run the clock out and after the Packers burned out all of their timeouts the Lions converted a third and long when Stafford completed a 29-yard pass to receiver T.J. Jones. The Lions continued to run the clock out in which the Packers’ defense stopped them forcing Detroit to punt, giving the Packers the ball with 23 seconds left.
Rodgers attempted a deep pass to his receiver Jared Abbrederis in which he was held back but no penalty was called. On the last play the Packers looked to score a succession of laterals but Rodgers had the ball last but was tackled when Taylor got a piece of his facemask and the penalty gave Green Bay one more play with no time left. Rodgers would avoid the sack and heave the Hail Mary to a pile of players in the end zone where Richard Rodgers pulled it down for the game winning 61-yard touchdown, which was the longest game winning play in NFL history.
With the catch Richard Rodgers had a career game with 146 yards receiving and a touchdown while Aaron finished with 273 yards passing and three total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing).
The Packers look to continue to ride the high of their miraculous victory when they head back to Lambeau Field to play the Dallas Cowboys. The Lions will travel to St. Louis to play the Rams.