Monday, December 30, 2019

Comeback Pack Sweeps Lions

By Eric Goska
Allen Lazard scored on a 28-yard, fourth-quarter TD pass in Detroit.
(screenshot from NFL Game Pass)
Down but not out might best sum up the Packers’ play against the Lions in 2019.

For a second time this season, Green Bay fell behind Detroit. For a second time this season, the Green and Gold prevailed.

Sunday at Ford Field, the Packers battled back from 14 down to defeat the Lions 23-20. In October, they rallied from 13 back to knock off the Michiganders 23-22 at Lambeau Field.

Mason Crosby capped both comebacks with walk-off field goals. He hit a 23-yarder as time expired in the first, and he booted a 33-yarder on the final play in the second.

Downing a team twice in one season is tough enough. Doing so when forced to overcome double-digit deficits in both games is almost unheard of, at least in Packerland.

The Packers have tripped up 25 different teams twice in one season. The Milwaukee Badgers were the first as Green Bay bounced them 12-0 and 10-7 in 1923.

Since, the Green and Gold has double dipped another 140 times including Sunday. They’ve notched two-fers most often against the Bears (30) and Lions (30).

Only once previously had the team overcome double-digit deficits in two separate games to sweep an opponent. In 1942, Green Bay twice rose up from 10 short to dispatch the Chicago Cardinals 17-13 and 55-24.

Yes, the Packers have swept the Lions before after having trailed in both games. Just not by 10 or more points in both outings.

In 1939, Detroit led by seven in the first meeting and four in the rematch before falling 26-7 and 12-7. In 2012, the Lions jumped in front by six and 14, but Green Bay roared back to win 24-20 and 27-20.

This year, the Packers not only faced a pair of double-digit deficits, they also were behind heading into the fourth quarters of both games. It’s the first time in team history they’ve swept an opponent under those circumstances.

In October, they trailed 19-13 after three quarters. Sunday, they were on the wrong end of a 17-10 count.

In both games, the fourth quarter belonged to Green Bay. So effective was the team that it established new highs for the rivalry.

Sunday, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense amassed 143 yards in the final 15 minutes. Add to that the 195 it piled up in October and the 338 combined fourth-quarter yards is an all-time best for the team against the Lions in one season. It broke by eight the previous high (330) set in 2015.

Green Bay ran 55 plays. That was three more than the record of 52 set in 1951.

Meanwhile, the Lions generated all of 60 yards. The difference between the teams’ outputs (278) is the most by which the Green Bay has outgained Detroit. The previous high had been 235 set in 1937.

Green Bay’s two fourth quarters also shared some similarities. Rodgers threw an interception and passed for more than 100 yards (147 and 109) in both.

Allen Lazard made an all-important touchdown catch each time out. He snagged a 35-yarder at Lambeau Field and snared a 28-yarder at Ford Field.

The Packers started their game-winning drives from roughly the same spot – their own 18- and 17-yard lines. Green Bay was awarded a first down by penalty on each of those advances: defensive end Trey Flowers was flagged for illegal use of hands in October and safety Tavon Wilson was called for unnecessary roughness Sunday.

Taken all together, the comeback Pack outscored the Lions by the slimmest of margins in 2019. The 4-point difference was the smallest in sweeping an opponent, breaking the previous low of six in 2004 when the club edged the Vikings by identical scores of 34-31.

Extra Point
In 1962, the Packers set a team record by defeating five different opponents twice: the Vikings, Bears, 49ers, Colts and Rams.

Sweeping Away Deficits
Most points overcome to defeat an opponent twice in the same season.

Points (G1, G2)    Year    Opponent        Final Scores
27 (13, 14)             2019    Lions                23-22 & 23-20
20 (10, 10)             1942    Cardinals          17-13 & 55-24
20 (6, 14)               1959    49ers                21-20 & 36-14
20 (6, 14)               2012    Lions                24-20 & 27-20
19 (6, 13)               1954    Colts                7-6 & 24-13
17 (6, 11)               1962    49ers                31-13 & 31-21
17 (17, 0)               1972    Lions                24-23 & 33-7
17 (3, 14)               1985    Lions                43-10 & 26-23

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