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Monday, October 18, 2004
Game Review: Packers @ Lions
by Thomas Pyc
When the final quarter of the game ended between the Packers and the Lions there had to at least a slight amount of optimism within Packer Nation. After drubbing the Lions by a score of 38 to 10 Packer fans will still manage to find a thing or two within the game to complain about, such as Brett Favre’s presence on the field with the Packers in full control of the game or Ryan Longwell’s kickoff distance. But in my humble opinion, the only thing that warrants criticism in the game is the amount of hits Shaun Rodgers registered on Favre in the first half.
The first time the Packers had the ball they appeared to be a different team from their representation during the four previous weeks. Even more intriguing was the defensive performance that held the Lions to 125 yards, and only 92 of them through the air. Packers’ first round pick Ahmad Carroll made his first start and appeared to play with speed and tenacity (tied the team lead with six tackles). Al Harris has been unchallenged thus far this season and this week was no different. Prior to the Lions’ game the Packers’ opposition has been able to exploit any receiver that Harris was not guarding and the difference this week could have been due to Carroll’s contribution. But the absence of the Lions’ top two receivers had to also have an impact on their passing game.
The Packers also had trouble with health of their receivers during the game but, unlike the Lions, they employ a three time MVP at quarterback. There are not too many quarterbacks in the league who can play the way Brett Favre does especially when his best receiver, Javon Walker (the league leader in receiving yards entering the game), leaves with an injury and starter Robert Ferguson out. Favre did a more than sufficient job with Donald Driver (9 catches for 110 yards) and all five foot nine of Antonio Chatman (5 catches for 50 yards). But Brett also got some unexpected help in the passing game from Ahman Green who tossed a touchdown pass to Donald Driver giving the Packers their final points with ten minutes to go in the game.
The momentum appeared to be completely shifted in the Packers’ favor upon Darren Sharper’s third quarter interception and return which gave the Pack a 24-10 lead. From that point on the Packers sustained drives of 11, 11 and 13 plays and held onto the ball for 20 minutes and 47 seconds during those last three possessions. Overall, the Packers racked up 434 yards and had possession of the ball almost 2/3rds of the game (39:41).
Next up for the Pack is the Dallas Cowboys (2-3) who have dropped two straight. Unfortunately, the Packers do not have much wiggle room in the remainder of their schedule so in order to get back on the playoff track winning the next game is just as important as the most recent victory. In fact, mentioning the Packers and playoffs in the same sentence is still very premature but the result of Sunday’s game at Ford Field at least helps the team gain some much needed confidence and provides the fans with something positive to talk about.