THE WEEK PAST: Sunday's Packers venture against the Lions in shiny new Ford Field did not begin to "square" with the 37-31 score, which suggests an old-fashioned shootout.
- The Packers out-gained Detroit, 442 yards to 271.
- They posted 22 first downs to the Lions' 14.
- They passed for 347 net yards to the Lions' 176.
- They also ran off 79 plays to the Lions' 57.
- And they mounted a huge advantage in time of possession, 38 minutes, 54 seconds, to Detroit's 21 minutes, 6 seconds.
Yet, in the final minute of play and the Packers leading 37-31, the Lions were the possessors of a first down at the Green Bay 34-yard line with a chance to wrench victory from Green Bay's grasp.
Fortuitously, defensive back Tod McBride picked off a Joey Harrington pass intended for tight end Mikhael Ricks at the Green Bay 3-yard line with 30 seconds remaining and an elusive victory at last was secure. On the previous play, a Harrington pass bounced off Ricks' straining fingers in the end zone, sparing the Packers a potential Detroit upset.
For a variety of reasons, it was that kind of game - despite the Packers' overall statistical superiority. A prime factor in the final accounting may well have been the fact that the winless Lions were able to hang with the favored Packers throughout the first half, which ended in a 17-17 tie, giving the home forces a modicum of hope that they could pull off an upset.
The way that they scored in the early going also provided the Lions with emotional impetus, Az-Zahir Hakim scoring on a 72-yard excursion off a punt return reverse and a 39-yard touchdown pass from Harrington to running back Lamont Warren.
Fortunately, the Packers were able to counter those maneuvers with some substantial strikes of their own, rookie Marques Anderson returning his first NFL interception 78 yards for a touchdown, and quarterback Brett Favre firing a 21-yard scoring pass to split end Donald Driver.
The respective specialists, the Packers' Ryan Longwell and the Lions' Jason Hanson, each provided a field goal to produce the halftime standoff.
As so often has been the case over the past decade, it was Favre who provided the momentum for a Green Bay victory in the second half, passing for two more touchdowns and presiding over a pair of field goal drives.
In effect, the Packers' highly productive field general put Green Bay ahead to stay midway through the third quarter with an 8-yard TD pass to wideout Robert Ferguson in the hear of the end zone, then erected what appeared to be a comfortable lead with a 3-yard scoring toss to tight end Bubba Franks with 1:30 left in the period.
Early in the fourth quarter, a second Longwell field goal parlayed the advantage to 34-17, suggesting it was all over but the shouting. That, however, proved to be a trifle premature.
The Lions' Larry Foster engineered a 50-yard return of the ensuing kickoff to the Green Bay 45. Four plays and one penalty later - the latter a 21-yard pass interference levy on the Packers' Na'il Diggs, Detroit was at the Green Bay 1-yard line and, on the following play, fullback Cory Schlesinger barged into the end zone. Hanson's conversion made it 34-24.
The Packers were required to punt after a pair of first downs on their next possession and, with the Lions on their own 5-yard line and only 3:39 remaining, things looked relatively secure from the Packers' perspective.
That all changed, however, when Harrington began moving the chains, posting a pair of first downs that moved Detroit out to its 48-yard line. At that point, he hooked up with running back James Stewart on a 52-yard pass-run maneuver for a touchdown that trimmed the Packers' lead to 34-31.
As expected, the Lions opted to essay an onside kick on the next kickoff and the Lions were offside. On the re-kick, Darren Sharper recovered at the Detroit 35-yard line. Three plays later, with just over a minute remaining, Longwell kicked a 47-yard field goal to conclude the hectic afternoon's scoring.
Favre, at his resourceful best, distributed the football among 10 different receivers in passing for 357 yards - his highest single-game yardage total since December 3, 2001, when he threw for 362 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars- and 3 touchdowns while completing 31 of 47 attempts.
Tight end Bubba Franks, who had caught only 2 passes in the first two games of the season, was Favre's most frequent target, emerging with 9 receptions for 62 yards and one touchdown.
Rookie running back Najeh Davenport, pressed into substantial service with Ahman Green deactivated with a knee injury, answered the call with a strong performance, contributing 115 yards of total offense to the Green Bay cause (a team-leading 84 yards rushing in 22 attempts and 4 pass receptions for 31 yards.
THE FAVRE FILE: Brett Favre, continues to make major inroads in the NFL's record book. Tied with Warren Moon going into action at 291, he claimed sole possession of fourth place, all-time in touchdown passes with 294 by dint of his 3-TD performance against the Lions.
He now is only a half-dozen behind third-ranking John Elway (300). Dan Marino is the career leader with 420, followed by Fran Tarkenton with 342.
Favre's 357-yard passing performance represented the 33rd 300-yard effort of his career and his sixth against Detroit, a personal career-high.
FAVRE, MOVING UP in another significant statistical category, played in his 162nd consecutive game, lifting himself into a tie with Larry McCarren (1973-84) for third place on the Packers' all-time list.
Favre also tied McCarren and Ron Hallstrom (1982-92) for eighth place for most total games played (also 162) and, in addition, extended his NFL record for most consecutive starts to 160.
Forrest Gregg holds the Packers record for most consecutive games played (187) and Willie Wood is second with 166.
FAVRE ALSO PRESIDED over his 105th victory as a starting quarterback, compared to 55 losses.
THE (NFL) STATISTICAL UPDATE: Third a week ago, the Packers moved into second place on offense in the NFL following their 442-yard effort against Detroit on Sunday. They are tied for 10th in rushing and rank third in passing.
They rank 21st on defense overall (26th against the run and 15th against the pass).
The Packers also are tied with Atlanta and Minnesota for fourth place "Inside-the-20" with a 58.3-percent touchdown success rate (7 touchdowns on 12 possessions).
Individually, quarterback Brett Favre ranks third in the NFC with a 99.6 passer rating, based upon 85 completions in 127 attempts for 911 yards and 7 touchdowns, with 2 interceptions.
Favre also ranks fourth in third-down passing with a 100.5 rating (based on 24 completions in 36 attempts for 310 yards and 2 touchdowns, with one interception and sixth in fourth-quarter passing (on 22 completions in 32 attempts for 182 yards).
Placekicker Ryan Longwell leads the NFC in scoring with 34 points, having made all 10 extra points he has attempted and 8 of 9 field goal tries.
Though inactive Sunday because of a knee injury, running back Ahman Green still ranks third (tied) in the NFC in production of first downs with 15 (10 rushing and 5 receiving) and fourth (tied) in total yards from scrimmage with 331 (236 rushing and 95 receiving).
Split end Donald Driver is tied for 13th place among NFC receivers with 16 catches and is tied for second among third-down receiving leaders with 7 catches for 103 yards stands eighth in the NFC in receiving yards with 223 (a 13.9-yard average).
Teammate Terry Glenn is tied for 15th among NFC receivers with 15 catches.
Elsewhere, safety Darren Sharper and cornerback Mike McKenzie are tied with six others for third among NFC interceptors with 2 "picks" apiece and Josh Bidwell ranks seventh among NFC punters with a 44.8-yard average for 10 punts.
GM/HEAD COACH MIKE SHERMAN'S POST-GAME COMMENTS:
(on the performance and the result) "I told the team that we would have to face adversity. I just didn't think it would be so often. We've had three games and we're facing it on a regular basis. I want some success instead. No matter what happens, by the end of the season, this was a win and that's what matters.
"Tomorrow, we need to roll up our sleeves and fix the mistakes that we're making. I trust the character of this team - it allowed us to win. The play of the team must improve and they know that."
(on quarterback Brett Favre) "Brett's ability to stay in the game and not get down and not lose his poise allowed us to work through some issues.
"I feel very fortunate he's my quarterback."
(on the play of the special teams) "We were not very good on special teams. When we have penalties like we had, plays that were run against us like we had had, it has to get better.
"I think we have enough talent. I think we have speed. What happens is the snowball effect when we have injuries."
(on rookie running back Najeh Davenport) "He's been showing us some things in practice. I wanted to see what he could do in this football game. He still made some mistakes, but he did rush for, I guess, about 85 yards and blocked and played fullback and tailback...He's the player that I drafted and I feel comfortable that he's going to be a better player as we continue to go."
(on the defensive performance) "Our defense played extremely well in the first half with the exception of a third-and-one on a semi-trick play."
THE PLAYER PERSPECTIVE:
Brett Favre: (on the game) "I thought our guys did well, we really did. We didn't know what to expect. I don't think anyone knew what to expect. Doug (fellow quarterback Doug Pederson) and I were talking at the end of the game and I don't know if I've ever been associated with a game where so many people went down on both sides. It was kind of freakish...It was a battle. I don't care what people think. Detroit played hard, extremely hard."
(on Detroit's two-touchdown, fourth quarter comeback from a 34-17 deficit) "I've learned long ago that you should never pack it in and expect it to be over. It wasn't that long ago that we played this team last season and it was a similar scenario. You just never know. We won it and it was a big win for us."
Najeh Davenport: (on his approach to running the football) "I was told in college, 'Get back to the line of scrimmage if not 3 yards.' All you're looking for, really, is 3 yards. I was really trying to get 3 yards."
Marques Anderson: (on his 'debut' performance) "You just have to be aware and know where the ball is at all times. You have to do your assignment first and then if the ball comes and you can make a play, that's extra."
(on the outcome) "We would have really been sad had we lost, but we won. It gives us some leeway when we study film on Monday. It was beautiful getting out there and making plays. It just felt good. That last time that I had played, it was preseason. This felt great.
(on what the win meant to the team) "If we're getting wins the way we're playing, that shows what can happen if we get it together. If we get it together defensively, we'll be one of the best teams."
Wide receiver Robert Ferguson: (on his performance and first NFL touchdown reception) "I don't think it was a coming-out or anything like that. I just think some guys went down, and I got a chance. When they call on me, I go out there and do my job."
Safety Darren Sharper: "We can still be a great team. We're in Lambeau Field seven more times and we're going to win those games."
-Sunday's victory was the Packers' 75th in the 73-year history of their rivalry with the Lions.
-Sunday's win was the Packers' fourth straight in the series.
-GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman now owns a 4-and-1 record against Detroit.
-The latest success also lifted Sherman's career record against divisional opponents to 12-5, a .706 percentage.
-Bubba Franks' 9 receptions for 62 yards were both career highs for the third-year tight end and his touchdown catch was his first of the season, the 11th of his pro career.
-Rookie Javon Walker's 55-yard kickoff return in the second quarter was the Packers' longest of the season. Walker amassed 101 yards with 3 kickoff returns, a 33.7-yard average.
-Both rookie Marques Anderson's first quarter interception and his touchdown off his 78-yard return were his first in the NFL.
Anderson's scoring return of an interception was the Packers' first since December 30, 2001, when Mike McKenzie posted a 38-yard scoring runback of a "pick" against Minnesota. It also was the first by a Green Bay rookie since September 26, 1999, when Antuan Edwards registered a 26-yard scoring runback of an interception against Minnesota.
-Anderson, on the inactive list for the first two games, was active for only the first time this season - and made the most of it. In addition to his key interception, he also recovered a Corey Schlesinger fumble at the Detroit 35-yard line early in the second quarter.
-Cornerback Mike McKenzie's acrobatic interception of a Joey Harrington pass along the Green Bay sideline in the third quarter was his second of the season, the eleventh of his career.
-Safety Darren Sharper's interception on the final play of the first half was the 22nd of his career, his second of the season.
-Running back Ahman Green Sunday was inactive for a game for the first time in his three-year Packers tenure, ending a playing streak of 34 consecutive games. The Packers' other inactives included tight end Tyrone Davis, linebacker Marcus Wilkins, defensive linemen Aaron Kampman, Jamal Reynolds and Rod Walker, defensive back Bhawoh Jue and designated Third Quarterback Craig Nall.
-Running back Rondell Mealey made his first NFL start, stepping in for Ahman Green.
-Cornerback Tod McBride stepped in at safety late in the game, replacing Antuan Edwards after he suffered a fractured wrist.
-Center Frank Winters (offense), nose tackle Gilbert Brown (defense) and punter Josh Bidwell (special teams) were Packers captains for Sunday's game.
-After William Henderson was injured in the third quarter and forced to leave the game, linebacker Torrance Marshall was called upon to line up at fullback as a blocker for tailback Najeh Davenport.