Live text commentary as the Green Bay Packers visit the Detroit Lions in a crucial NFL divisional matchup.
By Joe McPhee Filed: Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 17:05 UK
Last Updated: Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 21:56 UK
The Detroit Lions welcomed their NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers to Ford Field for a crucial Thanksgiving matchup. A win for the hosts would mean taking control of the division outright, whereas a Green Bay victory would haul themselves back in playoff contention.
Despite an early defensive touchdown and turnovers in favour of the Packers, that was as good as things got for them as the Lions took control. The likes of Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson, Joique Bell and Kevin Ogletree all found the end zone, as the home team racked up 40 points to earn their first 'Turkey Day' win in a decade.
Read how it the Lions crushed their rivals in our minute by minute commentary below.
12.07pmBoth sides are very much in the playoff hunt at present and a win for either team tonight at Ford Field will provide a huge boost to their post-season ambitions.
12.08pmThe Lions currently lead an extremely tight NFC North with a 6-5 record - the same as the Chicago Bears. The Packers are just one game back with a 5-5-1 record following their tie with the Minnesota Vikings last week. A turkey-day win for Green Bay would make things even closer heading in to the final month of the regular season.
12.10pmThe hosts are coming off a two-game losing streak. Last Sunday, they were defeated 24-21 by the revived Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the week before that they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers despite monster first halves from quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson. A third negative result on the bounce could send their season into freefall, with this season being their best chance to win their division since 1993.
12.13pmThe Lions' chances are injuries to key players on other teams. Green Bay are missing Aaron Rodgers - and have been for a month now - with a broken collarbone. Chicago meanwhile have been without their first-choice Jay Cutler, and Detroit would’ve hoped to have put more of a gap between themselves and the competition after the first 12 weeks.
12.14pmMegatron is just two yards shy of the 1,200 mark for the season and has a league high 11 touchdowns to his name. Anything Stafford does well through the air this evening is likely to be down to the receiving skills of Johnson. As ever, most are expecting him to have another big game to help his side improve both their record and their playoff chances. Stafford meanwhile will be looking to improve on the four interceptions he threw on Sunday.
12.16pmTonight for the Packers, Matt Flynn will line up as the starting QB. Mike McCarthy didn’t decide whether it would be Flynn or Scott Tolzien beginning the game until yesterday, but Flynn took the majority of snaps in practice and has been given the nod. An impressive second half last week from Flynn probably swayed McCarthy’s mind, as the replacement threw for 218 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions from his 21 successful passing attempts.
12.18pmIt’s also worth a mention that Eddie Lacy is likely to be a key player for the Packers. With Rodgers missing, there is more emphasis on McCarthy’s team to run the ball, and the rookie out of Alabama is having an impressive debut campaign. Lacy had his third 100+ yard game of the season against the Vikings last Sunday but also made six receptions for 48 yards, proving he is not just a ground-game threat. He left that game early too having suffered an asthma attack but has practised as normal this week and is all set to go.
12.22pmFrom the list of inactives for both sides, it is unsurprisingly Rodgers’s name which stands out the most. Him aside, both teams are pretty much full-strength for this encounter. Chris Houston’s absence from the Lions lineup was a late call, so rookie cornerback Darius Slay has come in as a starter.
Q1 15.00Jeremy Ross is flipped at the 20-yard line after catching the kick off and Matthew Stafford will start with the ball.
Q1 14.02Play action from Stafford on first down, finding Brandon Pettigrew for a six-yard gain. On second, Johnson makes his first reception of the game to take the ball to the 45-yard line.
Q1 13.03Same move again from Stafford and Megatron as they move the chains easily for a 17-yard gain. They have the ball on the Packers' 34-yard line.
Q1 11.44Stafford throws his first incomplete pass and the Lions have a third and two, which Joique Bell converts into another first down.
Q1 10.39Reggie Bush gains a single yard on first down, but on second he gains nine and the Lions are on the charge.
Q1 9.36FUMBLE Bush said he wouldn't fumble the ball again this season, but he's gone and done it here. Pressure from Clay Matthews saw Morgan Burnett scoop it up for the Packers, and the promising opening drive comes to an abrupt end.
Q1 9.35Matt Flynn throws his first pass to running back Eddie Lacy, who makes a short catch and gains 20 yards to help the Packers out straight away.
Q1 8.55On their next first down, Lacy runs into traffic.
Q1 7.46Steven Tulloch makes a good tackle for the Lions as Lacy tries to run the ball again on second down. On third and eight, Flynn completes a nine yard pass to Jordy Nelson.
Q1 6.54Flynn's next pass is incomplete to nobody and is very nearly picked off.
Q1 6.50SACK On second down and ten, Lacy runs into trouble after just two yards and the Packers have another third and eight to convert. This time, Ziggy Ansah gets to Flynn and completes the first sack of the game.
Q1 5.33Following a punt on fourth down, the Lions will begin their next series with the football deep in their own territory.
Q1 5.24Bush gets a first carry straight after his fumble but the game's first penalty for offensive holding means Detroit will repeat first down.
Q1 5.06On first and 15, Bush rushes for 13-yards before Bell takes his own 12-yard carry way past the first down marker.
Q1 3.39The Lions look good offensively, the Bush fumble aside; they already have 54 rushing yards. Chris Durham the receiver however, is the next man to gain a first down.
Q1 2.22Bush loses a yard on their next first down which is just past the halfway line.
Q1 1.43Another 13-yard carry from Bush means yet another first down for the Lions. Some great blocking from Nate Burleson nearly saw Bush get clear.
Q1 1.02Bell makes a catch and gains 28-yards to gain a first and goal.
Q1 0.15On their first attempt at a score, Stafford under throws into the end zone.
Q1 0.12A false start from Detroit on second down means that second and goal is now from outside the 10.
Q1 0.04Bush runs into trouble on second down and that brings a scoreless first period to a conclusion.
Q1 0.00END OF FIRST QUARTER: GREEN BAY PACKERS 0-0 DETROIT LIONS
Q2 15.00Pettigrew almost connects in the end zone on third down but is unable to make a catch. David Akers will enter the field.
Q2 14.53Akers converts a 27-yard field goal attempt and gives the hosts a 3-0 lead.
Q2 14.52The Lions converted eight first downs in that opening quarter and had possession of the ball for more than ten minutes. The Packers defense - despite the fumble - look unsure of how to contain the Lions attack.
Q2 14.51A duff punt from Sam Martin goes out of bounds, meaning Flynn will begin the next Green Bay drive from way up on their 40-yard line.
Q2 14.42James Jones makes an excellent catch on first down for a 16-yard gain for the Packers.
Q2 13.29On first down, Lacy picks up four yards. On second, Nelson is targeted but the pass is broken up.
Q2 13.19A low snap on third down has Flynn dive short for a first down. The field goal unit come on for a 54-yard try.
Q2 12.33Unbelievably, Green Bay take the lead. Nick Perry rushes Stafford, knocking the ball out of his hands. Burnett scoops it up and takes the ball short into the end zone. Crosby converts the extra point and the Packers will kick off again shortly. 10-3 Packers.
Q2 12.33That couldn't have been easier for Burnett, who benefited hugely from Perry's superb pressure on Stafford. Lions coach Jim Schwartz doesn't look a happy man.
Q2 12.28Ross takes the ball past the 20 this time and Stafford will re-enter the field.
Q2 11.40Riddick takes second down to one yard after Bell gained four on first.
Q2 11.09Ross gains a big first down, reaching the Green Bay 45 with a 24-yard run. Stafford hands him the ball, he jinks by AJ Hawk and the Lions are back in business.
Q2 9.50INTERCEPTION The boos ring out at Ford Field as Stafford throws a pick looking for Durham on second down. It's the third turnover of the first half and things are going from bad to worse for Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions.
Q2 9.25Lacy is struggling to run the ball and the Packers are quickly at third and nine at the 50 yard line.
Q2 8.50Flynn goes long downfield looking for James Jones and fails. The crowd are a little more pleased with how their defense is playing and Green Bay punt for a three and out.
Q2 8.36Bush gets to the 21 on first down, meaning second and four coming up.
Q2 7.57Stafford makes a big play on third down. Bush loses Hawk down the left sideline and Stafford takes his time to find him. A big first down gained and boy, did he need it.
Q2 6.33Bush rushes this time on first and second down, and gets to within inches.
Q2 5.53Dickerson hauls it in from Stafford on third and inches. After the catch, he gains about 12 and the Lions move to the Green Bay 13.
Q2 5.11Stafford gains seven on first down after taking time in the pocket. Again, he finds Bush with an accurate throw.
Q2 4.33Ross catches his first touchdown pass for Detroit, against his former team. Stafford fakes on second and three to Bell, and Ross loses his linebacker well to make the play and tie the game at 10-10, with Akers adding the PAT.
Q2 4.32The Packers take a knee and Flynn will return on their 20-yard line.
Q2 4.29Again on first down, Lacy struggles for yardage. Ndamukong Suh stops him with ease and he's back at the line of scrimmage. On second down, Lacy rushes again for little gain.
Q2 3.50SACK Tullock takes down Flynn on third down and the Packers will punt away again.
Q2 3.30Ross is enjoying this today. A 35-yard punt return has him travel well into opposition territory and the Lions will start on the Packers 33.
Q2 2.00TWO MINUTE WARNING The Lions run on first down and let the clock roll down to the two minute warning. They're in field goal range but will be hopeful of more before the interval. Megatron anyone?
Q2 2.00Second down from the 29 when a flag is thrown. It's against Perry of the Packers and the ball moves up five so it second and one.
Q2 1.50Bush carries for 23-yards right up the middle, ending shy of the end zone by just a single yard. So close.
Q2 0.04Akers misses his effort from 31 yards. Green Bay called a timeout and it clearly put him off his target. The simple looking chance missed wide right, and it remains a one score game.
Q2 0.00HALF TIME: GREEN BAY PACKERS 10-17 DETROIT LIONS
14.09pmWell, it must be said that was a poor half for the Packers. Offensively they struggled to get anything going at all. Lacy couldn't get into his groove rushing the ball, whilst Flynn didn't manage to impose himself on the game.
14.11pmThat said, it was a pretty mixed period for the Lions. Megatron has been relatively quiet despite his 50-yards receiving. Matt Stafford took a while to get into the game, and you feel that he's not far from another pick away.
14.14pmWithout Rodgers though, it's clear that the Lions are a much stronger offensive unit. The Green Bay defense has done well but they cannot be expected to win this on their own for them. For Mike McCarthy, he must be pleased that his team are still just a score away from being level.
14.15pmCurrently, Tony Lucca is playing as the half-time entertainment at Ford Field!
14.20pmA look at the stats tells a story. Green Bay have had just three first downs compared to the Lions 17. The Packers have just 43-yard offensive yards to their name.
Q3 15.00Martin gets things underway and Micah Hyde gets to the 21.
Q3 14.55SACK Flynn starts with an incomplete pass and then a play action on second down ends in a sack by Delmas.
Q3 14.05On third and 18, Andrew Quarless takes a short reception and is tackled. Three and out for the Packers and they'll punt away.
Q3 13.03Bush runs for three on first, and gets no further on second and seven. The Packers will be hoping for a stop of their own on third down.
Q3 12.08Here he is, it's Calvin Johnson. A 19-yard reception up the middle gives the Lions a first down and they move the chains.
Q3 10.54Bush again runs the ball on first down, then receives from Stafford on second but falls short. On third and one, the quarterback finds Johnson once more for a gain of 12. The Packers are struggling to contain them now.
Q3 9.23Megatron drops one in the end zone when Stafford goes up top. He so nearly hauled it in, but just couldn't hold on and it's second an 10.
Q3 9.08This time Megatron scores the touchdown. Stafford passes short on third and 10 and with ease, Johnson runs after the catch, shrugs off two tackles and skips into the end zone. Detroit are bossing this now.
Q3 9.08Sam Martin makes another error with his kickoff punt. This time, his kick bounces in front of the end zone and straight out of bounds. He looks furious with himself following his earlier mistake. A timely boost for the Packers, who will begin on their own 40. The question will be, can they do anything with it this time?
Q3 9.02TURNOVER It's all going wrong for Matt Flynn, who may well be replaced on the Packers next drive. Devin Taylor knocks it out of Flynn's hands in the pocket and Mosely scoops it up for the Lions on the first play of the drive. Too easy.
Q3 8.47INTERCEPTION Bush rushes on first down for no gain, before Clay Matthews smashes into Bell on second. On third and 10, Stafford goes long for Megatron and is picked by Sam Shields.
Q3 8.47Shields did excellently then to intercept the attempt to find Johnson. With Johnson on his back, he smothered the ball into his body and claimed the ball. Flynn is set to enter the field once more.
Q3 8.42Megatron is hurt following that play, with his right knee buckling under Shields and the Lions medical team assessing him on the sidelines.
Q3 7.44After Kuhn does well on first down, Lacy hauls in a short pass to get the Packers first first down of their last six drives.
Q3 7.10Flynn finds Nelson for a first down but there are three flags on the play. Two for Detroit, one for Green Bay and it will be replayed. First and 10.
Q3 7.04Flynn goes long for Jones on the right sideline but he can't bring it in. On second and 10, Ryan Taylor brings the ball in for eight yards but is hit late and another flag is thrown.
Q3 7.00DeAndre Levy's hit is penalised for 15-yards. Automatic first down for the Packers as they edge towards midfield. Timeout called to check Taylor's status as he seemed a bit dazed.
Q3 6.23Lacy can't secure a pass on first down at midfield and then rushes for three on second.
Q3 5.33INTERCEPTION On third down, Levy intercepts a toss from Flynn. A flag was thrown but it was against Green Bay and their horrible Thanksgiving day continues.
Q3 5.29Bush goes nowhere on the Lions next first down but the good news for them is that Johnson has been able to get back out onto the field, with his knee seemingly not troubling him.
Q3 4.42On second down, Bush catches and then sells House a dummy to gain 11 and get a Lions first down.
Q3 3.49Bell is the next to catch a Stafford pass and flings himself over halfway before being grounded. On second and seven, Bell scrambles for another first down.
Q3 2.31It's just been announced that Packers' Taylor is being assessed for a possible concussion.
Q3 1.48Stafford chucks the ball away after a poor decision on second down. On third and seven, his pass springs out of Durham's hands and for the first time today, the Lions will have to punt.
Q3 1.36Hyde calls for a fair catch at the Packers five yard line. Flynn will once more emerge from the sidelines but he's surely got to put together a better drive to avoid being pulled in favour of Tolzien now.
Q3 1.04SACK Flynn is sacked yet again, this time managing to just get away from the end zone and avoid a safety.
Q3 0.53SAFETY Oh dear, there's the sack in the end zone which so nearly came on the play before. Suh smashes Flynn to the ground for the seventh time today and it's an extra two points to the hosts.
Q3 0.46With the ball back in Detroit hands following that safety, they rush and then allow the clock to run down.
Q3 0.00END OF THIRD QUARTER: GREEN BAY PACKERS 10-26 DETROIT LIONS
Q4 14.49Huge play to start the final quarter. Stafford finds Durham for 36-yards with a perfectly thrown pass. Good coverage from the Packers but Durham - who was hurt - managed to hold on.
Q4 14.00Bell comes close to a touchdown on the next play. He rushes to the one but he's down just outside the line. On second and goal, he tries to go over the top but fails.
Q4 13.06At the third attempt, Bell powers his way into the end zone to further pile on the misery for the Packers. That's 29 points the Lions have now scored without reply.
Q4 13.06The Lions haven't won on Thanksgiving day since 2002 but it's looking like that may change tonight. They're far better in every department than their NFC North counterparts tonight. The extra point is converted and it's now 33-10.
Q4 13.00Lacy is tackled behind the line of scrimmage yet again on first down. On second down, he gains maybe one and it's going to be third and 11.
Q4 11.52Flynn looks long for Boykin on third down. It's a good route but he can't claim it and it's a nice stop from Slay. They'll punt once more.
Q4 11.35Massive return from Ross for 60-yards off of the punt, but a holding call means a 10-yard penalty against the Lions.
Q4 10.45After Ross's return is scratched, Bell does well again, this time on second down. On third and one, he eases to a first down and to the Lions 40.
Q4 8.39The Lions are running most plays now, letting the clock tick down. They have another third and one and again, Bell crosses over the marker.
Q4 7.24This time on first down, Detroit narrowly avoid a delay of game penalty.
Q4 6.28Bush takes over on second down, and gains 14 to secure the first down and more. The Lions are easing their way to the finish line.
Q4 5.40Bush again, this time spinning and jinking himself away from tackles. The Packers have no answer for the Bush and Bell combination tonight.
Q4 4.17Another excellent play from the Detroit Lions. This time, on second and 10, Kevin Ogletree makes an extremely casual one-handed grab on the edge of the end zone for a 20-yard score.
Q4 4.17Watching that touchdown again, Ogletree does excellently to get his foot in bounds to secure that play. It's a superb throw from Stafford, but just as impressive stuff from the wide receiver.
Q4 3.53The Packers drive starts with a short pass right to Jones, who gains seven. James Starks gets his first rush of the night and gains one.
Q4 2.48Nelson makes a play. He takes a big hit, but he grabs Flynn's pass and gets a first down.
Q4 2.00TWO MINUTE WARNING Lacy gets one on first down and the clock ticks to the warning. Second and nine when we resume.
Q4 1.49It's taken almost the entire game, but Flynn finally has a big play to his name. An excellent take from Jones is pulled in, and he runs inside the ten before he's pushed out of bounds. Green Bay finally in the red zone.
Q4 1.12FUMBLE Awful from the Packers, with a fumble from the snap. Picked up by Young and that's game over. Terrible handling of the ball in a key area.
Q4 0.00FULL TIME: GREEN BAY PACKERS 10-40 DETROIT LIONS
17.44pmIn truth, that was just too easy for the Detroit Lions. The Packers are a different animal without the likes of Aaron Rodgers or Randall Cobb in their offense and they struggled to get anything going at all today.
17.46pmThe Lions were far from their best in the early stages, with Stafford making some mistakes. But the Packers allowed them to recover and get a foothold in the game, and they eased to the win thanks to the running of Joique Bell and Reggie Bush.
17.48pmSo the Lions are now in control of the NFC North with their 7-5 record. For the Packers, defeat might mean the end of their playoff hopes for this season. They're struggling as a team this year thanks to their injuries and any post-season appearance could end rather swiftly anyway.
17.51pmThanks for joining Sports Mole for the live coverage of this crucial encounter. See you next time.