Lordy Jordy!

Posted: January 3, 2012 by Kodi in NFL, Pack It Up

The Green Bay Packers just keep winning even though they rested many players

Their back-up QB started the game and finished with the best single game in Packers franchise history

Jordy Nelson had a career day and finished the season with one of the best by a WR

The Packers now have two weeks to prepare for whoever they will play in the divisional round of the NFC Playoffs

The Green Bay Packers welcomed the Detroit Lions to Lambeau Field to finish out the 2011 regular season but the starting roster for this game was dramatically different to their first 15 games. The Packers win against Chicago on Christmas Day allowed them to lock up home-field advantage throughout the Playoffs so Head Coach Mike McCarthy was left with a difficult decision. To start his star players or to rest them in preparation for their final goal, a Super Bowl run. It is a decision that not many teams are forced to make and no matter which decision he made it will either be scrutinized or praised depending on what happens in the postseason.

McCarthy decided it was best if he gave some of his team an extra week off and ensure that they would not be lost to injuries in a game that was essentially worthless. Charles Woodson, Clay Mathews, Greg Jennings, Randall Cobb, James Starks and Aaron Rodgers all sat out the regular-season finale but McCarthy said “I anticipate having everyone back” on the practice field Wednesday. It is not surprising that certain players missed the game due to nagging injuries but clearly the Packers were also protecting their superstars and Green Bay is hoping that the extra time will allow for the team to be healthy heading into the postseason.

There was still a game to be played and although the Packers were resting their players the Detroit Lions were fighting for seeding in the Playoffs, something they haven’t done since 1999. We all remember the Suh debacle that took place on Thanksgiving Day and it might have been a good idea to keep Rodgers on the sideline safe from a beastly defensive lineman looking for some sort of revenge. So McCarthy felt it was time to let QB Matt Flynn get his feet wet starting just his second career game but played admirably against the New England Patriots last season when Rodgers was unable to start due to concussion symptoms.

The game didn’t start well for Flynn who was facing a 9 point deficit just seconds into the game after a Lions touchdown by WR Titus Young and a freak play that followed it. On the ensuing kickoff the Packers had Pat Lee returning kicks with Cobb sitting on the sidelines but Lee had the ball on the other side of the end-zone and was eventually tackled in the end-zone leading to a safety call that was upheld by review. It was 9-0 with just under a minute off the clock and the Lions were getting the ball back. The Packers were able to hold them and force the first punt of the game and would eventually add a 22 yard field goal by K Mason Crosby after Flynn and the Packers couldn’t punch it in from the 7 yard line.

Lions RB Kevin Smith fumbled the ball just 4 plays later and the Packers S Morgan Burnett came up with the ball and just a few plays later Flynn found WR Jordy Nelson for a 7 yard touchdown and the Packers had bounced back to take a 10-9 lead. The Lions answered with a 13 yard touchdown by WR Calvin Johnson to take a 16-10 lead but two plays later Flynn dumped a pass over the middle to RB Ryan Grant who took it 80 yards and the Pack were leading yet again. Green Bay actually got the ball back on another interesting kickoff which resulted in a fumble, upheld by review, giving the Packers the ball back. Flynn however threw his only interception of the game just 2 plays later and the Lions would take a 19-17 lead on a 30 yard field goal by 87 year old K Jason Hanson.

Flynn bounced back and hit Nelson for his 2nd touchdown catch of the half on a 36 yard deep post after during an essentially free play due to a defensive offsides flag. The first half ended in missed field goal attempts by each team and the Packers led 24-19 going into the locker rooms but there was plenty of scoring left for the second half. The Lions took the lead again when QB Matt Stafford found Titus Young for his 2nd touchdown of the day but the Packers took the lead once again on Jordy Nelson’s 3rd touchdown catch of the day, setting a new career high. The game just kept going back and forth with TD passes from Stafford to RB Kevin Smith to give Detroit the lead which was followed by a one from Flynn to WR Donald Driver.

The Lions would take the lead yet again when TE Tony Shceffler caught a 12 yard TD pass, which was Stafford’s 5th of the day and it seemed like the Packers had an uphill battle to finish the season 15-1. With just 2:39 left in the game Matt Flynn took the field and needed to travel 75 yards to get into the end-zone and give his team the lead. Flynn found TE Jermichael Finley for a TD and the Packers went on to win the game 45-41 but more importantly the fans who were watching the game from Lambeau or on television had just watched the greatest single game by an Packers QB in franchise history.

Flynn finished the game 31-44 with 480 yards, a Packers single game record, with 6 touchdown passes, another Packers single game record, and just a single interception. The former LSU Tiger was a 7th round pick for the Packers in a draft where they took Louisville QB Brian Brohm in the 2nd round but he could be one of the most sought out QB’s in this upcoming off-season. Flynn is an impending free agent and the Packers may be forced to use the franchise tag on the QB or orchestrate a sign and trade deal because clearly this kid deserves a chance to start week in and week out and that opportunity is likely not going to happen in Green Bay.

It may be that the Packers have a great system and Flynn was just talented enough to be plugged in and run an offense that scored the most points in the league and the third most yards. With certain weapons unable to play in this game the may beneficiary of Flynn’s big game was Jordy Nelson who was targeted a team high 15 times and was able to pull in 9 catches for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns. It capped off an incredible season for the WR from Kansas State who had 68 catches on the year for 1263 yards and 15 touchdowns. Nelson’s 15 touchdowns are the 3rd most in Packers franchise history behind Don Hutson’s 1942 season in which he pulled down 17 touchdowns in just 11 games and Sterling Sharpe’s franchise leading 18 touchdowns from his 1994 season.

“We’ve always said whenever you’re getting up there in the record books in this organization, if it’s wins, if it’s stats, if it’s Super Bowls, whatever, it’s an honor becauce you know the teams that have been through this stadium and this organization” Nelson said after his incredible game. He continued to say that “it’s an honor to have your name there, but the work is not done yet” and the Packers are keeping their minds set on one goal, repeating as Super Bowl Champions. Green Bay is going to have a bye week and watch the games this Saturday and Sunday to see who they will be playing in the afternoon on January 15th.

  1. NP says:

    Nelson might actually be a top WR in fantasy next year. However even as a Packer fan you must admit that Calvin Johnson had an insane day with 200+ yards and a TD. Stafford was no slouch either. GB just has to tighten up on defense. It’s a must. With a team like NO coming to town (who can also run the ball better than GB) they have to get tight. I’m not bashing on your Pack I am just speaking truth. All these high powered offenses like NO, NE, and GB can’t just let their QBs do the work. Teams like the Ravens and 49ers could give headaches to the high powered offenses down the road.

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