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Thanksgiving Gravy for the Packers (11/30/2011)
By Dave DeLano


     
The 2011 Green Bay Packers may have overcome their biggest challenge yet this year when they ran their record to 11 – 0 by whipping the Detroit Lions on the road by a score of 27 – 15. This is the first time ever in the Packers’ 91-year history that they have started a season with eleven consecutive wins. All in the Land of Cheese have smiles on their faces after Turkey Day. This game was the 20th time that the Packers played the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Things started out slowly for the Packers in this contest. A tipped pass which was intercepted by Clay Matthews III led to the only score in the first half, a short pass from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings. Rodgers and Company were held to just 86 total yards in the first half, but things were just beginning to warm up. In a game marred by too many penalties on both sides and even more that weren’t called by a near-sighted officiating crew, the Packers converted two more turnovers into a total of 17 points. Rodgers hit his second touchdown pass in the third quarter to James Jones who scampered 65 yards and all of a sudden the Packers were up 24 – 0. Rodgers is having is absolutely incredible season. In each of the first eleven games this year Rodgers has completed at least two touchdown passes. The Packer defense really stepped it up in this tussle. Yes, they gave up big yards again, but in the crunch the Packers’ D came up with big plays time after time. Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers extensively used two down linemen with two safeties very deep that begged the Lions to run the ball. They did at times but the scheme also limited the Lions all-world receiver, Calvin Johnson, to marginal production. It was a brilliant plan and well executed by several players not expected to play on defense. DJ Smith and Robert Francois filled in for injured inside linebackers AJ Hawk and Desmond Bishop, and both turned in very nice performances. The Lions have morphed from a pathetically bad franchise to a dirty-player franchise. The number of penalties they racked up Thursday was ridiculous and even more should have been called, the worst of which was Ndamukong Suh’s foot stomping incident in the third quarter which rightfully got him ejected from the game. Suh has a history of after-the-whistle dumb plays. His explanation of his actions in a post-game interview revealed that this guy has some real head problems. He will likely be suspended by the league after this latest incident and should get some counseling. The Packers now have a couple extra days to heal up before traveling to New York next week to face the Giants next weekend. The Giants are a mixed bag this year and are struggling to retain their divisional position. The Packers should be a touchdown favorite to keep their winning streak alive. Talk of a perfect season will heat up next week if the Pack beats down the Giants. 
 

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