GREEN BAY – It's been a while since the Packers were 0-1. Seven years to be exact.
But 0-2? More than double the timeline, 15 years. Meaning, it's a mark that's never been hung on quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Prior to last Sunday, Rodgers had lost only three of his first 13 season openers as a starting QB, all in succession from 2012-14. In '12 and '13, the Packers won handily in Week 2. The last of those three years was the only time the threat of 0-2 became serious, but not even a 21-3 deficit was big enough to deter Rodgers.
In fact, in that 2014 Week 2 home opener vs. the Jets, Rodgers had almost filled the 18-point hole by halftime. In the last six minutes of the second quarter, he produced two field goals and then a 97-yard drive for a touchdown right before intermission, getting the Packers within 21-16.
The rest of the comeback felt like just a matter of time, and sure enough, Rodgers polished it off with an 80-yard TD pass to Jordy Nelson late in the third quarter to break a 24-all tie.
"It was a character win for us," said cornerback Tramon Williams after the game, and it was indeed a team effort. His interception at the 3-yard line took away a potential Jets score and preceded the long TD drive before halftime, the game's most pivotal sequence.
Should the Packers have to summon the same type of character Monday night against the Lions to avoid the team's first 0-2 start since 2006, more players than Rodgers have the 2014 rally as part of their pedigree, even if the memories surely have faded a bit.
Randall Cobb caught two TD passes that day. Mason Crosby hit a 55-yard field goal, which still stands as the longest by a Packers kicker ever at Lambeau Field. Even a young receiver named Davante Adams had five catches for 50 yards, the most productive by far of the first five games of his rookie season.
Long-forgotten September contests aside, 0-2 would be a foreign feeling around here. Even if no one else in the NFC North will be better than 1-1 after Week 2, it would make for a long road back in an already long season that started with a blowout loss no one saw coming.
"We had a clunker and we gotta play better," Rodgers said earlier this week, "and I expect that we will on both sides of the ball."
Changes at the top: Coaching changes in Detroit are nothing new in the recent history of the Packers-Lions rivalry, but quarterback changes are.
Over the previous decade (2011-20), four different Detroit head coaches faced off against Green Bay – Jim Schwartz, Jim Caldwell, Matt Patricia and last year's interim, Darrell Bevell – making Dan Campbell the fifth Lions coach in the last 10 years.
Over that same time span, though, only one Packers-Lions game hasn't featured Matthew Stafford as Detroit's QB – the 2019 regular-season finale with David Blough – until Jared Goff takes the snaps Monday night.
Goff, formerly of the Rams, has played two career games against the Packers, a 29-27 victory in the 2018 regular season at the LA Coliseum, and a 32-18 playoff loss last January at Lambeau Field. He posted a passer rating in triple digits both times and has not thrown an interception against the Packers.
Goff's Lions tenure got off to a wild start statistically. He threw a pick-six to 49ers LB Dre Greenlaw late in the second quarter and then had to pass the ball furiously in the second half to rally. He ended up dropping back 63 times (57 pass attempts, three sacks, three scrambles) against San Francisco, tied for second most in his career behind a 70-dropback game (68 passes, two sacks) against Tampa Bay in 2019.
Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur was Goff's offensive coordinator with Rams back in 2017, and despite a new team and coaching staff, and presumably new playbook, he feels his former protégé is adjusting quickly and smoothly.
"He looked really comfortable," LaFleur said. "I thought their offensive line did a great job against one of the premier defensive lines in this league of giving Jared a lot of time to throw the football."
For the record, it's been a long time since a Lions QB other than Stafford, who posted seven wins for Detroit over Green Bay, beat the Packers. The last time was at Ford Field way back in 2010, when Drew Stanton subbed for an injured Stafford, Rodgers exited the game early with a concussion, and the Lions triumphed, 7-3.