It wasn't particularly pretty, but it was somewhat predictable that the Green Bay Packers would prevail over the horribly mismanaged Detroit Lions Sunday night. They did it in overtime by a score of 16 - 13 on a 28-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell. Both the Lions and Packers are obviously struggling this season, but nonetheless they managed to put on a pretty engaging struggle to entertain 70,000 Cheeseheads on the frozen tundra.
Samkon Gado continued to shine in this game, turning in a Packer all-time rushing record for a rookie by churning out 175 yards and scoring the Packers' single touchdown. Gado seems to get better every week. I am truly amazed that this guy somehow eluded all the college scouts and was not drafted last spring. It makes for a great Cinderella story, however, and his recent performances put him in a position where he will have to be considered as a legitimate candidate for the Packers' feature back of the future.
With only six wins between both squads this year, this contest promised to be dull and marred with miscues. It started out that way for the Packers with a Brett Favre fumble, a lapse on kick-off coverage, a blocked field goal and a bad punt that set a tone all too familiar for Cheeseheads this year. But late in the second quarter Gado scampered around right end flashing blazing speed as he ran for a 64-yard touchdown to bring the Pack back to a 13 -10 halftime deficit.
The second half was pretty much a Mexican standoff. Ryan Longwell contributed a pair of field goals as both offenses stumbled and by the end of regulation the game was deadlocked at 13. The Packers won the coin toss and proceeded to put a nice drive together which culminated with the Longwell field goal to clinch the victory.
On several occasions in the first half and again in the fourth quarter, the Packers' defense put together nice goal line stands. Hard to say if such was lousy execution by the Lions or outstanding work by Jim Bates' defensive troops. Executing in the red zone is not the Lions' forte. The Lions have so many problems that the Packers' shortcomings seem mild in comparison. Anyway, it was a win badly needed by Cheeseheads worldwide and a good display of talent by Samkon Gado.
With only three games left in this LONG season, the Packers now have an extra day to prepare for the Baltimore Ravens next week on Monday Night Football. The Ravens are in the midst of a miserable season themselves. Unlike the Packers, who have displayed toughness and grit most of this season, many on the Ravens' squad seem to have thrown in the towel. They are clearly a team that can be beaten if the Packers can avoid turnovers. The Packers' final games are against the Bears and Seahawks so this might be the best chance for snatching another victory this year.