GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers did not want to be the quarterback responsible for ending the Packers’ 21-year win streak over the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. But early in the second quarter Sunday night, it was starting to look as if Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was going to help his team snap the skid that began in 1991 when he was only 3 years old.
“It was actually on my mind when it was 14-nothing,” Rodgers said after the game. “I was thinking, ‘This would be a waste of a beautiful day to end that streak; playing in the snow with a great crowd.’ We’ve, for whatever reason, been able to come out on the right side of the meetings with the Lions the last 21 times.
“Hopefully we can keep that going as long as I’m playing here.”
A 14-0 Detroit lead wasn’t enough for the Lions to hang on Sunday night. Rodgers ran in a touchdown from 27 yards out, undrafted rookie running back DuJuan Harris scored on a 14-yard run, defensive lineman Mike Daniels picked up a fumble and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown and kicker Mason Crosby added two field goals to give Green Bay a 27-20 win.
Including the playoffs, it’s actually 22 consecutive wins for the Packers over Detroit in Green Bay. Regardless of whether a 1994 postseason Packers victory is included as part of the statistic, it’s the longest home winning streak against one opponent by any team in NFL history.
It was on Dec. 15, 1991, when the Lions, led by quarterback Erik Kramer, beat the Packers, 21-17. Detroit running back Barry Sanders was 23 years old then, rushing for 85 yards on 27 carries in that game. Green Bay quarterback Mike Tomczak, who threw for 207 yards that day, would not be a Packer much longer.
That loss sent Green Bay to a 3-12 record, a failure of a season that prompted an offseason trade for a second-year Atlanta Falcons quarterback named Brett Favre. Over the next 16 seasons, Favre did not lose to the Lions once at Lambeau Field, with Rodgers continuing the streak once he became the starting quarterback in 2008.
“What, 21 years in Lambeau?” linebacker A.J. Hawk wondered aloud in the locker room. “Wow. We didn’t talk about that. We knew it’s kind of been in our favor, but I didn’t think about that.”
For 42-year-old Lions kicker Jason Hanson, it’s been a rough 21 years of visits to Green Bay. Hanson was drafted by the Lions in the second round in 1992, the year the streak began, and has been a part of all 21 Detroit losses at Lambeau Field.
“I don’t know what to say,” Hanson said after the game. “It is just sad. It is not fun to talk about. For a lot of years, we didn’t win and we weren’t good and you can’t come in here and win. But there were years where we were pretty good and we still couldn’t win up here.
“It is just a terrible streak. I wish we could have ended it.”
Since the beginning of the 1992 season and Hanson’s career kicking off in Detroit, the Lions have 113 wins and 220 losses. Nearly 10 percent of those losses have happened at Lambeau Field.