After 12 straight quarterbacks could not get the job done, Matthew Stafford helped the Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field for the first time since 1991, which was the year Erik Kramer was under center. It was a wild 18-16 victory for the Lions on Sunday.
The Lions (2-7) were led by Stafford, who completed 24-of-38 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns, one which was a game winning touchdown to Lance Moore with a 1:57 left in the game. His only blemish was an interception early in the game to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
"It feels good just because we won the game," Stafford said. "It was an up-and-down one, obviously. Not pretty in a lot of areas. Had some mistakes in all three phases, but also made some big plays in all three, which sometimes offsets those mistakes. We did a great job, our defense played great, and we made enough plays late in the game to win it and that's what it's all about."
Mason Crosby got the game started with a 44-yard field goal five minutes into the game to give the Packers (6-3) the lead. The field goal was matched by Matt Prater, who had no problem knocking down a 49-yard kick to tie the game with 12 seconds to go in the first half.
The first touchdown of the game was from the Lions with 13:33 to play in the third quarter. Stafford zipped a pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew from two yards out. The score gave the Lions a 9-3 lead after Prater missed the extra point.
Prater made up for the missed extra point with a 51-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter and to extend the Detroit lead to 12-3.
As usual, Aaron Rodgers and company responded. The quarterback found Richard Rodgers for a four-yard touchdown with 5:55 to play in the fourth. The score put the Packers down by just two, 12-10.
Stafford's game-winning touchdown was a four-yard dish to Moore, which gave Detroit an 18-10 lead with 1:57 left to play.
"You could play that last drive there a couple of different ways," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said. "One was to just try to run the clock out and run the football. The other one was let's get some points on the board and try to win this thing. He wanted to, you could tell it in his eyes, he wanted to play that thing aggressively. And Jim Bob (Cooter) did a nice job with the play calling and getting some adjustments against a very, very tough, gritty defense."
Green Bay cut the lead to two points and had a chance to tie on a two-point conversion. Rodgers connected with Justin Perillo for the touchdown, but the two-point conversion failed as Crezdon Butler broke up the pass to Davante Adams.
Rodgers finished 35-for-61 with 333 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 10 loss to the Lions. He was out of sync for most the game and missed a few receivers, but his big plays in the fourth quarter kept the Packers in the game.
"We had some opportunities, I missed some throws and we missed some opportunities to convert and put some more points on the board," Rodgers said. "We needed 19 points to win today. You would expect us at home to score 19."
Believe it or not, with 32 seconds left, the Packers recovered an onside kick because it was dropped by Calvin Johnson. Crosby missed what would have been the game-winning field goal form 52 yards out as time expired.
"We knew we had an opportunity to come out here and play, and I'll bet nobody gave us a chance," Stafford said. "But that's the way we like it. We don't really care who gives us a chance because we feel good about ourselves in that locker room and we know what we're about."
"We dropped one today that we felt we had a very good opportunity to win," Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy said.
Next week, the Packers will go on the road to play the Minnesota Vikings (7-2). Meanwhile, Detroit will head home for a battle against the Oakland Raiders, who are 4-5 this season behind the arm of Derek Carr.