Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Packers 16, Detroit 13. Detroit fell apart on Thanksgiving versus Atlanta and it cost Steve Marrucci his job. They shouldn't be expected to win a game the rest of the season. The problem was that I thought the same thing of Philadelphia, once they were forced to start QB Mike McMahon for the rest of the season, but the Packers still found a way to lose at Philadelphia. It was an ugly win and a lucky intentional grounding call saved the game, but it was the first bit of luck for the Packers all season.

First Quarter: It was an awful start to the game. The Packers forced a 3rd and 14, but S Mark Roman and LB Nick Barnett got confused in coverage and left WR Scottie Vines open for a 22 yard gain. RB Kevin Jones wouldn't have had a 40 yard run if FS Nick Collins had been a step quicker at the line of scrimmage, but he made up for it by running Jones down. Then a great goal line stand, especially from NT Grady Jackson, who has played a lot better since the Philadelphia game. QB Brett Favre almost immediately fumbles the ball and this game looks like many other Packer losses this season, but it is the only turnover during the game. Again the goal line stand is outstanding and Detroit settles for another field goal. The Packers respond with a scoring drive and WR Robert Ferguson catches one of his two receptions. I don't know how many times Favre attempted a pass towards Ferguson, but it seemed like most of Favre's incompletions were on passes at Ferguson. Few good plays happen when passes are thrown at Ferguson. The awful Packers special teams immediately follows up with awful kick coverage and CB R.W. McQuarters almost returns it for a TD. WR Roy Williams does make a great TD catch and it might have been the first TD reception allowed by CB Al Harris all season. With the touchdown, Detroit is done scoring for the game. They had three drives inside the Packers 10 yard line and only come away with 13 points. Packers 3, Detroit 13.

Second Quarter: Another good drive for the Packers ends with another special teams meltdown as K Ryan Longwell has his field goal attempt blocked. Detroit has a three-and-out and QB Jeff Garcia begins to melt down. Does he think his career is over with his bad play in Detroit this season? Any chance he ever had at starting full-time is probably over. He was yelling in frustration after almost every failed play in this game. RB Samkon Gado has a great TD run down the sidelines and he ran by at least two Detroit players. Gado is fast enough to be a great starting running back in the NFL. Another star on the play was FB Vonta Leach. Leach has been inconsistant this season, sometimes dropping passes and sometimes missing blocks. On Gado's TD run, Leach took out two Detroit defenders and single handingly opened the hole that Gado ran threw. Special teams let the Packers get pinned three times inside their 5 yard line during this game and P B.J. Sander was awful, averaging only 34.4 yards per kick. It was cold on Sunday night, but P Nick Harris was over 40 yards per kick and was outstanding at punting inside the Packers 20 yard line. Detroit's special teams outplayed the Packers special teams all night long. Fortunately, the defense stepped up and Detroit ran out of time with the last drive that started in Packers territory. Packers 10, Detroit 13.

Third Quarter: Both teams struggled on offense and there were four punts in the quarter. The Packers last drive led to an early 4th quarter, game-tying field goal. The big difference this week? Favre took a sack on 3rd down and settled for a field goal instead of throwing up the game-changing interception in Chicago. Packers 10, Detroit 13.

Fourth Quarter: Detroit has a great drive down to the goal line again, but this time they go for it and fail. If they kick the field goal, they probably win the game. They kicked two field goals in similar situations in the first quarter, but who knows what they were thinking. Gado's forward pass out of the end zone. John Madden mentioned on Monday Night Football how it was a loop hole in the rules that let Gado get away with his "pass". It looked like he was stretching out to get the ball out of the end zone, realized he wasn't going to make it, and flipped it out. He was outside the tackle box and he did get the ball past the line of scrimmage. It will be interesting to see this offseason how the competition committee tries to close this loop hole next season. The really lucky part of the play was that RT Mark Tauscher clearly held in the end zone but the officials thought he was out of it. Maybe the Packers luck has already changed. Another comment on the play; Leach made a great block on the long Gado TD run, but he completely missed his block and that was why he was standing at the 1 yard line by himself for Gado's "pass". If Leach hadn't missed the block, Gado would have ran out to at least the 1 yard line on the play. RG William Whitticker struggled in the game with a couple of penalties, and Favre chewed him out after one on 3rd down. It is rare to see Favre get in the face of a teammate. Packers 13, Detroit 13.

Overtime: They win the coin flip (once the refs find a coin to flip), DT Shaun Rogers helps out with a stupid 15 yard penalty, Ferguson makes a big reception, and the Packers kick their first game winning field goal of the season. The Packers made enough mistakes to lose the game, but luckily Detroit made more mistakes and the Packers get the win. Packers 16, Detroit 13.

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