Ryan Grant came into Sunday's game needing 101 yards to reach 1,000 on the season, and he might have gotten there had he not sustained a stinger that took him out of the game midway through the first quarter.
With a 27-yard touchdown run on Green Bay's first drive, and an 18-yard run on a draw play with the Packers backed up by their own goal line, Grant amassed 57 yards on his first six carries of the game. But after a 1-yard gain right after his 18-yard burst, Grant left the game with a stinger that caused some tingling in his left hand, and he was replaced by Brandon Jackson.
As a result, Grant came up 44 yards short of the 1,000 milestone, though he said after the game he shook out the stinger on the sideline and could have gone back in. He finished the regular season with 956 yards on 188 carries, with eight touchdowns.
Grant admitted some disappointment at not getting to 1,000, but he was genuinely excited for what he saw Jackson do in his place.
The rookie second-round draft pick had by far his best game as a pro, rushing 20 times for 113 yards, showing a combination of elusiveness and power that wasn't always evident when he was getting his feet wet as a rookie starter in the first three games of the season. Injuries and the emergence of other backs, like Grant, had limited Jackson's playing time since then.
"It's a long year for a rookie, but he did a great job, especially today," Grant said. "He did a wonderful job just taking advantage of the opportunity and running hard. We were saying just run hard, you're going to break some tackles and bust one, and he did that."
Jackson broke loose for a 46-yard run down the left sideline on the first play of the third quarter, the longest run of his brief career. He also posted a run of 12 yards, two runs of 9 yards and two of 8, and caught two passes for 22 yards.
"Brandon stepped in there and took over, and he ran the ball well," center Scott Wells said. "He took care of the football, ran exceptionally well, hit his holes, ran people over when he had to. I think he made some steps as a young back today."
In all, the offense amassed a season-high 217 yards rushing on 38 carries, an effort that should bode well for playoff football, particularly at Lambeau Field.
"This was really big from our running game standpoint, being able to accomplish what we did on the ground," Grant said. "It's probably going to be the same type of conditions in a couple weeks, so it's big for us to be able to keep it going."
Grant did get one notable milestone Sunday -- a rushing touchdown for the sixth consecutive game, tying the second-longest streak in franchise history. Paul Hornung's string of seven straight games with a rushing touchdown in 1960 tops the list, followed by Terdell Middleton's six in 1978 and now Grant.
They aren't obsessed with the statistics, but the Packers' defensive backs have paid attention all season - during training camp, preseason games and the games that count - to how many interceptions each guy has.
So it was significant for bragging rights within the locker room when safety Atari Bigby stepped in front of Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson for an interception late in the first quarter on Sunday.
The pick was Bigby's fifth of the season and allowed him to finish 2007 as the team leader in that category, one ahead of cornerback Charles Woodson, who was inactive to rest his sore toe for the playoffs.
Interestingly, Sunday's interception was Bigby's first that did not come off a deflection. Interceptions earlier this season at Minnesota, against Oakland, and at St. Louis (2) occurred when Bigby snagged passes that were tipped by receivers and/or other defenders.
This one was pure instinct, as Bigby read quarterback Jon Kitna's pending delivery to Johnson, stepped in and made a clean pick. The turnover gave the Packers the ball on the Detroit 41-yard line, setting up their third touchdown for a 21-3 lead.
Later in the first half, cornerback Tramon Williams notched his first NFL interception on a play reminiscent of Bigby's earlier picks. Defensive end Cullen Jenkins batted Kitna's pass into the air at the line of scrimmage, and Williams made the easy catch.
Crosby gets scoring mark
Rookie kicker Mason Crosby broke Ryan Longwell's team record for points in a season by a kicker with the first of his four PATs on the day.
Crosby came into the game with 131 points, the same total Longwell accumulated in 2000. With the four PATs and two field goals, he finished with 10 points to conclude the regular season with 141, the third-highest single-season scoring total in team history. Don Hutson scored 138 points in 1942, which had been third-best.
"I didn't have a numbers goal for points, but it's unbelievable thinking about that," Crosby said. "That's a lot of points in one year, and it's a credit to this team and this offense."
Crosby, who is 31-of-39 on field goals and 48-of-48 on extra points, came up three points short of Kevin Butler's league-record 144 points for a rookie kicker. But barring a monster game by Tennessee's Rob Bironas Sunday night, Crosby will become the first rookie kicker to lead the NFL in scoring since Butler's big season in 1985.
With two touchdowns Saturday night, New England receiver Randy Moss was at 138 points, and Patriots kicker Stephen Gostowski finished right behind him at 137. Crosby passed Moss with his 35-yard field goal with 10:03 left in the fourth quarter for the final points of the game.
"I knew we were all right there in the same area," Crosby said, speaking of himself and the New England duo. "It's awesome how we came out today put a lot of points on the board."
Jon Ryan's 72-yard punt early in the fourth quarter on Sunday was the Packers' longest punt in nine years, dating back to a 72-yarder by Sean Landeta on Sept. 20, 1998, at Cincinnati.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy thought the Packers might get the ball and challenged whether a Detroit player had touched the bouncing ball before Jarrett Bush downed it at the 1-yard line, but the play stood and Detroit took over on its own 1.
In addition to Grant's stinger, there were three other injuries from Sunday's game.
Offensive guards Jason Spitz (quad) and Junius Coston (calf) both had to leave the game, and McCarthy didn't know the severity of either injury.
Also, cornerback and punt returner Will Blackmon injured the same foot that he has fractured twice in the last two years, but after the game Blackmon said the x-ray was negative and he didn't think it was anything serious.