Driver Sets Milestone As Pack Shuts Out Lions

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

GREEN BAY, Wis.(AP) Aaron Rodgers got knocked around again but still managed to have a big day against the Detroit Lions ' defense, throwing for 358 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the Green Bay Packers ' 26-0 victory Sunday.

Donald Driver became the franchise's career receptions leader with a first-quarter catch and rookie outside linebacker Clay Matthews III had two sacks as the Packers (3-2) turned in a dominant defensive effort against an undermanned Lions offense.

Detroit (1-5) was without rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson because of injuries - and it showed, as the Lions managed only 79 yards of total offense in the first half. Backup quarterback Daunte Culpepper hurt his hamstring in the third quarter and was replaced by third-stringer Drew Stanton .

But the Lions' loss wasn't nearly as lopsided as it could have been, thanks in large part to continued breakdowns and penalties by the Packers' offensive line. Rodgers was sacked five times, and Green Bay lost left tackle Chad Clifton to an injury in the third quarter; he appeared to hurt the same right ankle that caused him to miss the previous two games.

Green Bay started fast Sunday, scoring a pair of quick touchdowns for a 14-0 lead with 7:20 left in the first quarter. The offense fell into a lull after that, settling for field goals on repeated scoring chances.

But the Packers' mistakes and missed opportunities didn't really matter against the lowly Lions, who lost their 19th straight game in the state of Wisconsin - including last year's painful season finale at Lambeau Field that sealed their dubious place in league history at 0-16.

Rodgers got off to a roaring start.

Facing third-and-6 at the Lions' 47-yard line on Green Bay's first possession, he delivered deep to wide-open receiver James Jones , who juked his way into the end zone for a touchdown.

The Lions then went backward on their first two offensive plays of the game before Culpepper threw an interception to Packers defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins on a third-down screen pass, giving the ball back to the Packers at Detroit's 17.

After a first-down run by Ryan Grant , Rodgers found Driver for his 596th catch, breaking the previous franchise record held by Sterling Sharpe. Driver waved to Packers fans, then tossed the keepsake football to the sideline.

Green Bay guard Daryn Colledge was called for a personal foul on the play, taking the Packers back to the 21, but it only delayed the inevitable; Rodgers drove the Packers back, then found fullback John Kuhn wide open to give Green Bay a 14-0 lead.

While the Packers would dominate the remainder of the game on defense, the offense left plenty of points on the field in a surprisingly sloppy performance coming out of a bye week.

Things got even worse in the third quarter for the Lions, when Culpepper hurt his hamstring on a scramble and Stanton took over. Stanton's first pass fell incomplete, leading wide receiver Bryant Johnson into a jarring hit by Packers safety Nick Collins .

Stanton's second series resulted in an interception by Al Harris off a deflection and the Packers' offense appeared to get back on track when Donald Driver made a one-handed catch on a deep pass by Rodgers. The Packers drove to the Lions 3, but Rodgers was sacked and fumbled on first-and-goal to scuttle yet another chance at a touchdown.

Even worse, Clifton came up limping after the play and left the game.


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