Lions end 10-game losing streak vs. Packers
DETROIT -- So this was going to be the way the Lions would lose this Sunday -- watching Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn drive down the field and score the winning touchdown?
After all, the Packers had beaten the Lions 10 straight times, so No. 11 was certainly there for the taking.
Or so it seemed as Flynn -- in the game after star quarterback Aaron Rogers was knocked out in the second quarter with his second concussion this season -- got the Packers to the Lions' 9-yard line, with his team up 3-0 late in the third quarter.
But DeAndre Levy had other ideas. Flynn saw Donald Driver in the end zone and threw the ball his way. The next thing he saw was Levy catching the ball and running it out of the end zone.
"We were in a blitz and I tried to check out of it," Levy said. "I figured they were going to take a shot so I dropped out of it, seen Driver doing a little stutter-and-go, slant-and-go, whatever you want to call it, just got in the lane and it came to me and I caught it. I could have dropped it."
But Levy didn't drop it, and the Lions' offense had another chance.
The Lions managed to get to the Packers' 30-yard line and then were forced to have Dave Rayner try a 48-yard field goal, which was wide left.
Lions fans were probably thinking, "0h, so now they're going to lose 3-0 to the dreaded Packers."
Third-string quarterback Drew Stanton was not exactly having the greatest of days. At halftime, he was 3-of-9 with 21 yards and a passer rating of 2.8. Not quite Tom Brady-esque.
But give Stanton credit. He didn't fold.
On the Lions' next drive, early in the fourth quarter, he ran for a first down and passed for one to Bryant Johnson for 10 yards, another to Brandon Pettigrew for 11 yards and another to Nate Burleson for 12 yards to get to the Packers' 13-yard line.
Then Stafford found Will Heller for a 13-yard touchdown, giving the Lions a 7-3 lead.
"It was a long drive, and Brandon made some big plays to get us in position," Heller said. "I was just in to give him a blow. We called a tight end screen. It was a good situation for it because they were bringing pressure off the edge with (Clay) Matthews.
"I got a hand on him and was able to release behind him. The lane opened up and the line made some big blocks.
"I was a little surprised I ended up in the end zone. I was still registering what happened, so I went with the classic spike. It was fun, and it was good to help get a win for sure."
But after Heller scored, there was still plenty of time for the Packers to respond. They had nearly eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and all of their timeouts.
The defense has had their problems getting off the field at the end of games this season, but Sunday was a different story. They forced the Packers to punt on one drive. Then, on the Packers' last drive, faced with a fourth-and-1 to keep it alive, Flynn couldn't connect with Greg Jennings (Western Michigan).
"A lot of people forget that when we went to their house, we only lost by two points," said Ndamukong Suh, who finished with three tackles, one for a loss. "It came down to us on defense really not getting off the field with six minutes left to go, as we've encountered before.
"Now we've been in that situation where we did get off the field and made a play and got the ball back to our offense to let them execute."
The Packers used their last two timeouts on the Lions' final drive but ran out of time as the Lions managed to run out the clock without giving them another chance.
"This is my first time in four years being here that I've beat them," Calvin Johnson said, "so it's a great feeling to get that monkey off our back. There's a lot of positive air in this locker room right now."
The Lions got contributions from plenty of players. Amari Spievey had an interception, Turk McBride had two sacks, and just-signed cornerback Prince Miller had three tackles. The Lions also got 190 yards combined rushing from Maurice Morris, Stanton, Jahvid Best, Stefan Logan, Jerome Felton and Johnson.
Coach Jim Schwartz was just happy that his team got a win for the first time since beating the Washington Redskins in overtime on Halloween.
"That wasn't pretty, but it was beautiful," Schwartz said. "We didn't expect a pitchers' duel today, but that's what we ended up (with).
"Even though we had a couple times where it looked like we were going to let it slip away -- missing a field goal and turning the ball over in the red zone -- we found a way, like we've been saying for most of the season, to make that one extra play."
Dec. 12, 2010