Rodgers, Packers rise above physical Lions
DETROIT - Aaron Rodgers took every hit the Detroit Lions could dish out.
He just kept throwing - and winning. Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and the Green Bay Packers built a big lead in the third quarter thanks in part to Ndamukong Suh’s ejection during a 27-15 victory yesterday.
Detroit’s best chance to beat the Packers was to knock Rodgers out of the game, just as it did last year in a victory that started a nine-game winning streak.
The Lions gave that tactic a shot, hitting him even if he had already gotten rid of the ball. Kyle Vanden Bosch was flagged for one of those late hits and could’ve drawn another penalty for trying to rough up the star quarterback even more on the same drive.
“We try to rise above things like that,’’ Rodgers said. “We knew in a rivalry game, there are going to be a lot of hard hits, but we kept things between the whistles.’’
The defending-champion Packers are 11-0 for the first time in franchise history and have won a team-record 17 straight, including the playoffs.
“I don’t feel any pressure, this is a good place to be,’’ coach Mike McCarthy said. “Who doesn’t want to be 11-0?’’
Green Bay passed what was expected to be one of its toughest tests toward joining the 2007 Patriots as the NFL’s only teams to have 16-0 regular seasons.
“We’re a long way from there,’’ Rodgers said. “This is a big step toward our first goal, which is winning the division. If we are undefeated after 14 or 15 games, we’ll talk about 16.’’
While the Packers are working on a perfect season, Detroit (7-4) has to figure out a way to avoid the physical and mental mistakes that have put the team on the playoff bubble after a 5-0 start.
The Lions have lost a franchise-record eight consecutive Thanksgiving games and added to their misery in ugly fashion.
“It really does ruin the holiday,’’ center Dominic Raiola said. “You put so much into this and to go out there and lay an egg like that, it’s disappointing. My day’s ruined.’’
Suh’s day might lead to another fine - and possibly a suspension. He was tossed for stomping on Evan Dietrich-Smith’s right arm in the third quarter. Suh insisted he didn’t intentionally step on the opposing lineman with his right foot, saying he was just trying to separate himself from the situation.
“I apologize to my teammates and my fans and my coaches for putting myself in a position to be misinterpreted and taken out of the game,’’ Suh said.
Dietrich-Smith wouldn’t say it was a dirty play.
“Stuff happens,’’ he said.
Green Bay defensive end Ryan Pickett was more outspoken.
“There’s no place for that,’’ Pickett said.
The Packers took advantage of Suh’s misstep just as they did on Matthew Stafford’s three interceptions.
Rodgers was 22 of 32 for 307 yards. He threw a 3-yard TD pass to Greg Jennings with 4:51 left in the first half for the first score of the game and a 65-yard pass to James Jones in the third for a 21-0 lead. Stafford was 32 of 45 for 276 yards. He was picked off by Woodson, Clay Matthews, and Robert Francois.