Quarterback Aaron Rodgers' career-long 71-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Donald Driver midway through the fourth quarter couldn't have come at a better time as the Packers were holding onto just a three-point lead, and the play also put both players into the record books.
For Rodgers, it put him over the 4,000-yard mark in his first season as the starting quarterback as he finished 2008 with 4,038 passing yards. The accomplishment places him in some pretty elite company as he became just the second player in NFL history to top the 4,000-yard plateau in the season in which he made his first start, joining Arizona's Kurt Warner, who passed for 4,353 yards with St. Louis in his MVP season of 1999.
Driver went over the 1,000-yard mark with the catch to become the first player in team history to post six seasons of 1,000 yards or more receiving in a career. It was also his fifth straight 1,000-yard season, extending his franchise record, as he finished the year with 1,012 yards. Wide receivers James Lofton and Sterling Sharpe each posted five 1,000-yard seasons during their Green Bay careers.
"That's definitely something that is important on the personal goals," said Rodgers, who became only the fourth quarterback in Packers history to pass for 4,000 yards. "Obviously wins is the most important thing.
"But for Donald and I to both get to those milestones on the same play, ... for him to be five straight years with 1,000 yards is pretty impressive, it says a lot about the player that he is, especially with Greg having the kind of success that he's had this year, for Donald to also go over 1,000 yards, that's pretty special."
With Driver topping the 1,000-yard mark, he joined fellow wideout Greg Jennings (1,292 yards) to give the Packers a pair of 1,000-yard receivers for just the fourth time in franchise history. Driver teamed up with wide receiver Javon Walker to each clear the 1,000-yard mark in 2004, and the only other tandems to accomplish the feat were Antonio Freeman and Bill Schroeder in 1999 and Freeman and Robert Brooks in '97.
The Packers' offensive accomplishments weren't limited to the passing game, as running back Ryan Grant went over the 1,200-yard mark on his 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter. It was only the seventh 1,200-yard season in team history as Grant finished the '08 campaign with 1,203 yards on the ground and the afternoon with 106 yards.
With Grant and running back DeShawn Wynn each rushing for 106 yards and Driver (111) and Jennings (101) each clearing 100 yards on Sunday vs. Detroit, the Packers became the first team in NFL history to post two 100-yard rushers and two 100-yard receivers in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The last Green Bay running back to clear the 1,200-yard hurdle was Ahman Green, who had a team-record 1,883 yards in 2003. Grant joins Green, who posted three 1,200-yard campaigns, and Jim Taylor (twice) and Dorsey Levens (once) to become only the fourth player in team history to record a 1,200-yard rushing season.
"It feels good, but to not have the season as a team that we wanted, it doesn't really mean that much," Grant said. "I recognize that I guess that is a monument, so maybe at some point I'll look at it a little bit more."
Only one other season in franchise history featured two 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,200-yard rusher. It came in 1997, when the Packers advanced to Super Bowl XXXII behind Levens' 1,435 yards rushing and the 1,000-yard seasons from Freeman (1,243) and Brooks (1,010).
With all of the individual accomplishments in 2008, one would have hoped it would translate into more than six wins for the Packers this season, but the success could serve as a springboard for the offense into 2009.
"I felt like I should have had 1,500 yards, so I know what I can do and I know what I should have done," Grant said. "I think there is a lot of momentum and there are a lot of positive things to build off of for next year, and I think we need to roll with this."