Favre continued to push New England’s Tom Brady for the National Football League’s MVP award by completing 31 of 41 passes for a season-high 381 yards and three touchdowns, including a team record 20-straight completions between the second and fourth quarters, in the Packers’ 37-26 victory.
Despite fumbling the ball away on the first play of the game, Favre recorded his seventh 300-yard game of the season and matched a team mark he set in 1995. Green Bay also equaled its best 11-game record since 1929.
The Lions (6-5) lost their third straight game, falling four full games behind the surprising Packers. The Packers will now face the Dallas Cowboys Nov. 29 in a showdown for possible home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Cowboys (9-1) played host to the New York Jets this afternoon in Dallas.
“We’re 10-1 and we’re not a bad team,” a humble Favre told Fox television after the game. “We’ve got a lot of things that we’ve got to clean up. We’re banged up. We play the Cowboys next week, but 10-1 is not bad. You’ve got to be a pretty good team to get to 10-1.”
Running back Ryan Grant rebounded off a mild ankle sprain and rushed for 101 yards on 15 carries for a whopping average of 6.7 yards per carry. The Packers piled up 482 yards of offense (331 through the air) despite Detroit’s big advantage in time of possession – 34:19 to 25:14.
Wide receiver Greg Jennings caught two touchdown passes to raise his season total to nine, and wide receiver Ruvell Martin caught one late in the third quarter as the Packers pushed their lead to 31-12. Wide receiver Donald Driver had a season-high 10 receptions for 147 yards, but played in his eighth straight game without scoring a touchdown.
“I told Donald that you don’t have to get into the end zone to be a great receiver,” Favre said.
The Packers led by 22 points after Crosby made a 20-yard field goal with 13 minutes, 8 seconds left in the fourth quarter. But the Lions took advantage of a Packers’ defense that lost cornerback Charles Woodson in the first quarter to a toe injury and defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila to an ankle injury. The Lions sliced Green Bay’s lead to 34-26 on Kevin Jones’ 1-yard touchdown run with 6:34 remaining.
But the Packers responded by driving 72 yards before Crosby put the game out of reach by making a 26-yard field goal with 1:44 remaining.
“I’m proud of our football team,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. “I’m proud of the way they work. I’m proud of the way they focus. They are in tune with improving and winning and really in the reversing order, winning and improving. That’s what we need to continue to do. I think this football team has arrived. They are playing well in all three phases. We need to continue to do that. As we move forward, the challenges ahead will be tougher, but to be at 10 wins with five to play is where you want to be. But need to take care of business in our preparation and get ready for Dallas.”
Detroit quarterback Jon Kitna was 19-of-40 for 224 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Packers kept constant pressure on him throughout the game and finished with four sacks, including two by defensive Aaron Kampman. Lions rookie wide receiver Calvin Johnson had 83 yards receiving, including a six-yard touchdown pass from Kitna with 9:58 left in the game to make it 34-19. Jones finished with 93 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Veteran kicker Jason Hanson made all four of his attempts from 47, 41, 45 and 52 yards.
Detroit dominated in time of possession in the first quarter, but only led 6-0 early on a pair of field goals Hanson.
Safety Aaron Rouse ignited the Packers with his second interception of the season and 34-yard return to the Lions’ 11 on the first play of the second quarter. On the next play, Favre then hit Jennings with a slant pass for a touchdown to give the Packers a 7-6 lead.
After Green Bay’s defense forced the Lions to punt, the Packers drove 80 yards on their next possession and went ahead 14-6 on Grant’s 5-yard touchdown run. Favre completed passes of 38 yards to Driver, 18 yards to wide receiver James Jones, and 19 yards to Driver set up Grant’s second touchdown of the season.
Tramon Williams, the star of Green Bay’s 31-17 win over Carolina last Sunday, made a touchdown-saving tackle on Aveion Cason’s 74-yard kickoff return on the Packers’ 24-yard line. Green Bay’s defense kept the Lions out of the end zone thanks in part to Gbaja-Biamila’s third-down sack of Kitna to force the field goal as Detroit closed to 14-9. Unfortunately for the Packers, Gbaja-Biamila injured his ankle on the play and was unable to return to the game after a brief attempt to continue on.
The Packers, 0-for-3 on third down efficiency in the first half, went up 17-9 at halftime on Crosby’s 20-yard field goal as time expired. Starting at their own 20 with 2:12 left in the first half, Favre completed seven consecutive passes, including a 9-yard pass to tight end Donald Lee to Detroit’s 3 before calling their third timeout with 4 seconds left.
The Lions took a 3-0 lead on Hanson’s 47-yard field goal, capping a drive that consumed the first 7:49 of the game. The Lions, criticized all week by their fans for not running the ball enough, rushed 8 times for 42 yards in the drive. But the Packers got a big break when Detroit center Dominic Raiola was penalized for a chop block on Kampman, who was being blocked high by right tackle Jonathan Scott. Facing a third-and-20, Kampman sacked Kitna on the next play, forcing a field goal.
Kitna has absorbed 44 of the Lions league high 47 sacks this season.
The Packers turned it over for just the third time in the last five games on their first play from scrimmage when Favre tripped over fullback Korey Hall’s foot as he was handing off to Grant. Lions defensive end Jared DeVries recovered on the Packers’ 24, but Green Bay’s defense forced the Lions to settle for Hanson’s 41-yard field goal as the Lions increased their lead to 6-0.