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Eric Goska column: Packers suffer Thanksgiving thrashing for the ages

Nov. 28, 2013
 

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Detroit Lions defensive end Devin Taylor knocks the ball away from Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn for a fumble during Thursday's game at Ford Field in Detroit. Jim Matthews/Press-Gazette Media

Feast and famine

The 10 times the Packers have been outgained by 300 or more yards in regular-season games. Green Bay lost all 10.

YdsDateTeamScore
435Nov. 28, 2013Lions40-10
395Nov. 12, 1978Cowboys42-14
381Oct. 17, 1999Broncos31-10
332Nov. 23, 195849ers33-12
328Dec. 7, 1980Bears61-7
318Sept. 29, 1946Bears30-7
315Oct. 21, 1973Rams24-7
309Dec. 20, 1981Jets28-3
302Dec. 3, 1950Rams51-14
301Dec. 12, 1954Rams35-27

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They donít get any more one-sided than this.

The Lions so thoroughly outgained the Packers on Thursday, one half expected Gene Steratore to penalize Detroit for repeated hits to a defenseless team. Certainly, the referee could have thrown a flag for piling on.

Green Bay absorbed a Thanksgiving beating the likes of which whipped yams never do. The Lions gobbled up yards at a near-record pace leaving nothing but table scraps for the Packers in a 40-10 blowout at Ford Field.

Matthew Stafford and his teammates amassed 561 yards on an afternoon when they seemingly atoned for every misstep made in 15 previous meetings with Green Bay. They were balanced (241 yards rushing; 320 passing), moved the chains (30 first downs) and controlled the clock (40 minutes, 26 seconds).

Everything Detroit was, Green Bay wasnít. The Packers managed 126 yards, seven first downs and held the ball for a mere 19:34.

The Lions have lit up Green Bay to such an extent just once before. They had 575 yards in a 45-41 loss at Lambeau Field on Jan. 1, 2012.

Detroit outgained the Packers by 435 yards. Thatís no typo: four-hundred thirty-five yards.

Talk about your post-holiday indigestion.

In 160 regular-season meetings with Green Bay since 1934, the year in which the Portsmouth Spartans became the Lions, Detroit rang up 435 yards just five times. Prior to Thursday, they had done so just once in the last 28 years.

Outgaining a team by that margin in the NFL is remarkable if not downright unthinkable. Dating to 1932, no team had dealt such a blow to the Packers.

The Cowboys had come closest. Tom Landryís club outgained the Packers by 395 yards in steamrolling them 42-14 at County Stadium on Nov. 12, 1978.

Denver is the only other to best them by more than 350 yards. In owning the clock (45:14 time of possession), the two-time defending champion Broncos gained 514 yards to 133 for Green Bay in a 31-10 romp at Mile High Stadium on Oct. 17, 1999.

But the Lions? This is a team the Packers had owned under coach Mike McCarthy, having won 14 of 15 previous games.

That Green Bay was in a giving mood became apparent in the first half. Detroitís first two drives netted 69 and 80 yards, both piercing the Packersí red zone.

The Lions didnít punt in the opening 30 minutes. They ran up against third down just five times.

On those rare occasions when they did, they converted four times ó often in convincing fashion. Jeremy Ross ran for 24 yards, and Stafford passed for 32 to running back Reggie Bush and another 26 to tight end Dorin Dickerson.

By halftime, the Lions had motored to 340 yards. They had gained that many in an entire game in just six of their 15 previous meetings against McCarthyís Packers.

Since 1953, only one team piled up more yards in a first half against Green Bay. On Dec. 16, 1956, the Rams ripped off 349 in cruising to a 49-21 win.

That contest closed out a miserable 4-8 season in which the Packers went nowhere. Their defense gave up more first downs, more yards and more yards rushing than any other.

Green Bay has surrendered more than 400 yards in four of its last five games. It, too, is on the verge of going nowhere.

Extra point

With 39 yards (16 rushing; 23 receiving), running back Eddie Lacy became just the fourth rookie in Packers history to gain more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage in a season. With 1,003 he trails only Billy Howton (1,231; 1952), John Brockington (1,203; 1971) and Gerry Ellis (1,041; 1980).

ó aegoska@sbcglobal.net

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