Mike McCarthy decided to rest some key Green Bay Packer players including quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday. That decision opened an opportunity for backup quarterback Matt Flynn to lead the Packer offense and display his talents, and indeed he did. Incredibly, Flynn set franchise records by throwing six touchdown passes and 480 aerial yards to lead the Packers to a thrilling 45 – 41 win over the Detroit Lions to close out the regular season.
The Packers finish the season with a 15 – 1 record and enter the playoffs as the number one seed in the NFC. Thus, they will get a bye next week as the lower seeds compete for the right to come to Lambeau in two weeks to further the quest to the Super Bowl.
Cheeseheads got a taste of what Matt Flynn could bring to the table last year when he got his first start against the New England Patriots. He had a big game then, but the Packers came up a little short. Flynn had a super game Sunday against the Lions, throwing five touchdown passes before throwing the game- winner to Jermichael Finley with just over a minute left. It was a very entertaining comeback victory.
This game started badly for the Pack as they found themselves down 9 – 0 in the first two minutes, but it did not take Flynn and Company long to right the ship. Flynn fired a pass to Jordy Nelson, who then delivered a knuckle-sandwich straight arm to vault himself into the end zone, and the fun was just starting. This game would continue to seesaw back and forth throughout. Nelson had a career day, catching three touchdown passes on the day.
Flynn and the Packer offensive juggernaut were in high gear all afternoon, but so was the Lions’ offense. Calvin Johnson is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL and he torched the Packer secondary with abandon. As much fun as it is to watch two offenses run up and down the field, it is concerning to Cheeseheads that our defense is as vulnerable as it is this year. The Packers generated next to nothing in pass rush, and with a good quarterback and a receiver set like the Lions have, it got ugly.
But, Matt Flynn came to the rescue. A couple more touchdown passes set up the winning drive and now Flynn is in the record books. Flynn will become an unrestricted free agent in the off season and will likely try his luck as a starter with another team next year. Probably half of the teams in the NFL would upgrade their quarterback situation with the addition of Flynn. But, Flynn will return to the bench in two weeks when Aaron Rodgers again picks up the Packers’ reins. Having a (likely) MVP quarterback and a backup like Flynn is a quarterback plethora. These are sweet times for Cheeseheads.
A couple other observations… 1) Randall Cobb was sorely missed on the special teams, and 2) It is astonishing that the Packer defense finished the year in 32nd place (dead last) in the NFL in terms of yards surrendered per game. It will be interesting to see what Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers is going to do with this group in the playoffs.