Needing a win to finally get the second half of the season on the right track, the Lions were just over matched by the Brett Favre-led Packers on Thanksgiving 2007. A late comeback was attempted by the Lions, but in the end, it was Favre and the Packers that came out on top by a score of 37-26. The reason that Green Bay did win can be attributed to a number of things. First off, Favre shredded the Lions secondary. At one point in the game Favre had completed 20 straight passes, which alone is a very telling stat of how the day went. Second off, the Lions offense again took too long to get going. They managed to get into Green Bay territory on many drives during the game, but their efforts didn’t result in a touchdown until it was too late.
To start the game, Detroit again came out trying to establish the run. For a change it worked very well. The Lions moved the ball and actually almost had 1st and goal from the 1-yard line. I said almost because a 15-yard chop block penalty on Dominic Raiola negated the third down conversion that put the Lions into position to punch the ball into the endzone. Instead, Detroit was backed up and Jon Kitna was sacked, forcing Jason Hanson to kick a 47-yard field goal. It was nice to get the early lead, but a touchdown would’ve been much, much better.
When Green Bay got the ball on its first possession of the game following the Hanson field goal, Brett Favre made a mistake on the drive’s opening play that set Detroit up for more points. Trying to hand the ball off, Favre tripped and the ball came loose. Jared DeVries quickly fell on it, and just like that it was once again Lions ball deep in GB territory (at the 25 to be exact). Hoping again to get the ball into the endzone, the Lions ended up disappointed as only a field goal would come of the turnover. Was it nice to lead 6-0? Of course, but two touchdowns would’ve made the end result of this game be something completely different.
As the game head into the second quarter, it was all Lions statistically. After a three and out by the Packers, Detroit moved the ball again into GB territory before having to punt. The defense stood tough again once Favre got the ball back, forcing another three and out. Everything sounds great, but that changed instantly. On the Lions’ own 23-yard line, Jon Kitna threw a pass to Calvin Johnson and had it picked off. Green Bay returned it to the 11, giving the Packers a very short field. With that in mind, Favre wasted no time in getting a touchdown as he hit Greg Jennings for the score, making it 7-6 Packers.
Hoping to rebound from the interception, Kitna and the running game again moved the ball into GB territory. Just as we had seen before, though, all the work was really for nothing as the drive just ended in a punt. At this point in the game, Brett Favre just took over. He picked apart the Lions secondary, finding Donald Driver for a couple of big gains before handing the ball off to Ryan Grant for a 5-yard touchdown run. That made the score 14-6 Packers, and hope in general was starting to fade quickly.
The Lions did manage to get something out of its next trip into GB territory as Jason Hanson kicked a 45-yard field goal, but the Packers were able to answer back with a Mason Crosby field goal of its own after the two teams traded punts. The Crosby field goal was kicked as time expired, meaning it was the Packers leading at the half by a score of 17-9.
Opening up the second half right where he left off, Brett Favre continued to feast on the Lions secondary. On the opening drive of the half, Favre attempted and completed 7 passes, with the last going for 4 yards and a touchdown again to Greg Jennings. That put GB up 24-9, and for the Lions, something had to happen before things got too out of hand.
If this game was decided by kicking field goals, the Lions would have won. Unfortunately, it wasn’t, but Detroit did kick quite a few. That was the case again on the proceeding drive as Detroit drove into GB territory, and as usual stalled. Hanson connected from 52 yards out to cut the lead down to 24-12, but it didn’t do much in retrospect considering Favre came right back out to lead GB to another TD. This time it would be 6 plays and 4 passes that got the Packers down the field, with the touchdown being scored on a 3-yard pass to Ruvell Martin. Detroit went three and out after getting the ball back and the Packers got another field goal out of it to increase its lead.
Now trailing 34-12 with only 13:08 to play, the Lions offense finally decided to wake up. I don’t know why it always takes desperation to get the offense working, but that was the case for the third consecutive game. Kitna orchestrated a solid drive that was helped by a couple of Green Bay penalties. Eventually, Kitna found Calvin Johnson in the endzone from 6 yards out for the TD. With the lead now 34-19, the defense stepped it up and forced a three and out, giving the offense another shot to cut down the lead.
And cut down the lead is exactly what they did. After two straight passes to Calvin Johnson that went for 16 yards, Shaun McDonald drew a 29-yard pass interference penalty that put the Lions on the 1-yard line of GB. On the very next play, Kevin Jones ran to the outside and walked into the endzone, making it only an 8 point game.
Despite the poor play on both sides of the ball all game, the Lions actually were in a position to make a comeback. The lead was only at 8 points, meaning all it took was a touchdown and a 2-point conversion. That is easier said than done, though, as the defense had to come up with a stop. That would the part of the equation of the comeback that didn’t come through. Green Bay ran nearly 5 minutes off the clock before kicking a field goal to increase the lead to 11 points, meaning it became a 2-possession game. That was all the Packers needed to close things out as Detroit couldn’t do anything once they got the ball back. With that being said, GB went on to win 37-26 in a game that really was one of missed opportunities. At the same time, Brett Favre completely owned the Lions defense, giving GB enough of a lead to fight off the comeback attempt.
This is Detroit’s third straight loss, and now that their record has dropped to 6-5, playoff hopes quickly are becoming a forgotten hope. The Lions head to Minnesota next Sunday for a showdown with the Vikings in hopes of snapping the losing streak, but it won’t be easy on the road as Detroit barely escaped with a win against the Vikes at home. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX.