Miracle in Motown: Packers stun Lions on controversial walk-off TD (Shutdown Corner)

The Detroit Lions have a new facepalm moment in their depressing recent history. Up 20 points on the Green Bay Packers and looking to be in fantastic shape to sweep their big brothers for the first time since 1991, the Lions lost on Thursday night in nearly improbable fashion. Aaron Rodgers, given new life from a shaky facemask call on what should have been the final play of the game, heaved a 61-yard rainbow touchdown pass to Richard Rodgers — nearly 70 in the air — on an untimed down to stun the Lions, with the Packers winning 27-23. [ Yahoo Daily Fantasy: $10 could win you $50K in our $350K contest for Week 13 ] Marty Mornhinweg taking the wind in OT … the bad calls in last years playoffs … Barry Sanders walking off in the prime of his career … Eddie Murray’s miss in 1983 … and, yes, this being the Packers, Sterling Sharpe running wide open. The Lions know tragedy like few other teams. Their history just added another painful chapter. With that Rodgers-to-Rodgers pass, the Lions’ improbable season turnaround and hopes of the postseason were essentially dashed. The Packers, meanwhile, losers of three of four coming in, remain in the thick of the playoff race. And now they can enjoy not being the recipient of a prime-time Hail Mary loss. “We’ve been on the flip side of that,” Aaron Rodgers said to Tracy Wolfson after the game, referring the 2012 Packers-Seattle Seahawks game. “This has been the most amazing game of my life.” Yes, this was no “Fail Mary.” How about the “Miracle in Motown?” The Packers probably didn’t deserve to win, not with the Lions taking control from the start. The Lions were the aggressors on both sides of the ball, but their subtle errors along the way — along with the facemask called against Devin Taylor that will be widely discussed in this season of shaky refereeing — cost them. Did Taylor graze Rodgers facemask on the Packers’ final lateral fest? Yes. But it appeared that it slid right off, which often goes uncalled. It was the second time Rodgers had touched the ball on the play, having gotten it back after two other Packers tossed it around. And it gave them another shot. Rodgers to Rodgers. A stunned Ford Field. One team’s season over. Another’s brought back to life. The Packers were missing the right side of their offensive line (Bryan Bulaga and T.J. Lang), and they came out running the ball and using the screen game with tempo but punted on their first two possession after a pair of dropped passes. Eddie Lacy, coming off two straight 100-yard games, never saw the field in either possession. Lacy’s lack of playing time was stunning, but the CBS broadcast suggested it was not a health-related concern. The Lions moved the ball well early, opening with a field goal and a touchdown. On their second possession of the game, they started carving up the Packers’ defense, which was without first-round cornerback Damarious Randall. Lions running back Ameer Abdullah ripped off a 48-yard run — the Lions’ longest of the season — sprung by a terrific wham block. The drive was capped by Stafford hitting a wide-open Eric Ebron for the 10-0 Lions lead. Rodgers then gave the ball right back to the Lions two plays later on a high pass that James Jones couldn’t haul in. It was picked by the Lions’ Glover Quin and run back to the Green Bay 17-yard line. One play later — bam — it was 17-zip. Stafford found Calvin Johnson, who made a one-handed grab, as the Lions scored 14 points in a 47-second span to send Ford Field into a frenzy. Even with the benefit of two questionable pass-interference calls against the Lions that netted the Packers 53 yards, they couldn’t move the ball against a Lions defense that had allowed 43 points over a six-quarter span through halftime. The Packers had a 56-game streak of scoring in the first half snapped, and they went nearly 70 game minutes without a point. The streak ended on their first possession of the second half when James Starks fumbled at the end of a strong drive, and it was recovered in the end zone by a Johnny-on-the-spot Randall Cobb to cut into the lead to make it 20-7, Lions. And in a swing that looked like the Lions in the first half, the Packers struck again quickly. Julius Peppers strip-sacked Stafford on the very next offensive play, and Jake Ryan fell on the ball. Three plays later, Rodgers sidearmed a touchdown pass to Davante Adams, and just like that it was 20-14. The Packers, though, would lose left tackle David Bakhtiari in the fourth quarter, leaving a battered offensive line in shambles. After an Aaron Rodgers sack by Ziggy Ansah — replacement left tackle Josh Walker had no shot at picking up a stunt — the Packers punted away early in the fourth. The Lions took over and ended a long cold snap on offense. They drained more than seven minutes off the clock with two big conversions — a 4th-and-2 pass to Golden Tate and a Stafford scramble for 10 yards on 3rd and 9. It ended in a Matt Prater field goal to push the lead back to 23-14 with seven minutes left. The Packers converted a 4th and 1 from their own 26-yard line (after burning a timeout) and chipped away at the Lions’ tired defense. Rodgers escaped pressure on 3rd and 11 from the Detroit 17 as the Lions lost contain and he went untouched into the end zone on the run to cut the lead to 23-21 with 3:12 left. But Stafford delivered the knockout blow: a 3rd-and-12 laser to T.J. Jones, whose second catch of the game and third catch of the season went for 29 back-breaking yards. The Lions would end up punting, but Rodgers got the ball back for the final time with a mere 23 seconds left on the clock. It turned out to be enough. Barely. Richard Rodgers hit Aaron Rodgers on the lateral play on which he incurred the fatal facemask, and Aaron Rodgers returned the favor by hitting his tight end with an incredible walk-off touchdown, one that will go down in the Packers’ annals. Of course, it also will be remembered in Lions infamy.  – – – – – – – Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm

from Yahoo Sports http://ift.tt/1IHMkOi



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