Charles Woodson had a sack, forced fumble and interception return for a score Thursday.
I know I teased some discussion of Thursday’s quarterback play, but I can’t start with anything other than the performance of Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson. Unofficially, Woodson finished with seven tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a sack. He returned the second interception 38 yards for a touchdown to ice the game. That’s how a superstar responds when another starter at his position, in this case Al Harris, is lost for the season. I’ve got Woodson at the top of my list for NFL defensive player of the year. How about you?
We feared for the Lions’ pass defense before the game, and to little surprise, it couldn’t keep up with the Packers’ offense. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 71.7 percent of his passes (28-of-39) for 348 yards and three touchdowns. Rodgers took only one sack and typically had as much time as he needed to throw.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was in obvious pain at the end of the game, but it was clear he wouldn’t take himself out despite a separated left shoulder. To me, that’s where someone above him -- an offensive coordinator or a head coach -- has to step in and say something along the lines of, “Great effort, Matt. Now get well.” Unfortunately, no one did, and Stafford finished the game with four interceptions and a 46.5 completion percentage. Did the injury impact his play? I don’t have any direct evidence, but it’s certainly easy to make that connection if you wish. I’m impressed with Stafford’s toughness but unconvinced this display was necessary. That’s why you have backups.
It was also very clear that Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was nowhere close to full speed, mostly because of what appears to be a lingering knee injury. Again, there is much to be respected about a player who finds a way to get himself on the field. But Johnson was significantly, significantly limited.
I should amend my earlier note on the pregame discussion between Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and backup quarterback Daunte Culpepper. John Niyo of the Detroit News, who was at Ford Field, tweeted that Mayhew and Culpepper later shook hands.
OK, gang. That’s it for today. Everyone please have a happy and safe holiday.