Detroit, MI (Sports Network) – While it’s a new Detroit Lions club, it was the usual result on Thanksgiving as Green Bay remained undefeated with a 27-15 victory over the Lions at Ford Field.
The Packers moved to 11-0 for the first time in club history and further solidified their lock on the NFC North as they now have a four-game lead over Detroit (7-4) and a 3 1/2-game lead over Chicago, which will play at Oakland on Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers went 22-for-32 with 307 yards and passing touchdowns to James Jones and Greg Jennings. John Kuhn had a touchdown run for Green Bay, which visits the New York Giants next week.
“It was an excellent character win for our football team, something we talked about at halftime,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. “It was a tough day for both teams, a lot of injuries throughout the game. Both teams had to play with different personnels, so I’m proud of our football team to fight through adversity. We had a lot of young guys step up big today. It was a big road win, the division games are always the biggest games.”
Matthew Stafford continued to struggle as he was intercepted three times in the game and has now been picked off nine times in the past three games. He finished the game 32-for-45 with 276 yards and a touchdown for the Lions, who have dropped four of their past six games after opening the season with five straight wins.
It is the eighth straight Thanksgiving that the Lions have been on the losing end of the score. Their last win on the holiday came in 2003 against these Packers.
The Lions dominated play for much of the first half as they totaled 218 yards and limited Green Bay to just under 10 minutes of possession time.
However, they were hampered by penalties throughout the half and were whistled eight times for 75 yards.
Their first drive saw them cross midfield, but a holding call on Nate Burleson pushed them back across and they ultimately had to punt.
The next drive saw Detroit get to the Green Bay 30, but a holding call moved the ball back 10 yards and the team punted following an incompletion.
On the third drive, a 2nd-and-5 play at the Green Bay 43 was brought back 15 yards when Maurice Morris was called for a chop block and the team had to punt.
The vaunted Green Bay offense, meanwhile, was being held in check as it managed just two first downs in the first quarter and after crossing midfield in the second, had to punt.
However, the defense came up with the big play on Detroit’s ensuing drive as Ryan Pickett tipped a Stafford pass at the right side of the line and Clay Matthews came down with it to give the Packers the ball at the Detroit 13.
A pass interference call on the first play moved the ball to the one and, two plays later, Rodgers hit a wide open Jennings at the right side for a 7-0 lead with 4:51 left in the second quarter.
The Lions put together another drive and avoided penalties to get into scoring position, but Jason Hanson just missed his 47-yard attempt to the left and the game eventually went into the break with a 7-0 score.
Starting the second half with the ball, Green Bay put together an 11-play, 77- yard drive that saw the team cap the march on a one-yard run up the middle by Kuhn for a 14-0 lead. Two plays prior, a 3rd-and-3 pass fell incomplete, but Ndamukong Suh was called for a personal foul and thrown out after kicking a Green Bay player laying on the ground to give the Packers the ball at the one.
“I want to apologize to my teammate, my coaches and my true fans for allowing the refs to have an opportunity to take me out of this game,” Suh said.
Detroit’s following touch saw Stafford get picked off on a leaping grab by Rob Francois to give Green Bay the ball at its own 35. The first play went the distance as Rodgers and Jones connected a 65-yard catch-and-run for a 21-0 lead.
Stafford was picked off again, this time by Charles Woodson, and that led to a 35-yard field goal from Mason Crosby.
Detroit responded with a 72-yard drive that saw Keiland Williams take the ball 16 yards up the middle on the seventh play to get into the end zone. A two- point conversion catch by Titus Young made it a 24-8 game with 13:11 to play.
Green Bay was forced to punt on its next touch, but Detroit went three-and-out on its following possession and Crosby’s 32-yard field goal with under three minutes to play sealed the win.
Detroit did manage a final score as Calvin Johnson caught a three-yard pass in the back of the end zone for his league-leading 12th touchdown catch.