Archive for November, 2008
….1986: The Packers and Lions went back for second helpings of Thanksgiving points.
The Packers traveled to their Turkey Day showdown against the Lions with less-than-sterling credentials. Not only was the team 2-10 and in the middle of one of its ugliest seasons, it was going to Michigan without DE Charles Martin, who’d been suspended by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle for body-slamming Bears QB Jim McMahon the week before.
With nothing to play for but their frayed pride, the Packers bounced back from an early 10-0 deficit on the strength of an unlikely weapon: the right arm of QB Randy Wright. Wright, who would finish 1986 with a paltry 66.2 passer rating, lit up the airways with 286 yards passing and three touchdowns during the game, and his 23-yard strike to Walter Stanley gave the Packers a 23-20 halftime lead.
But the Lions, led by journeyman QB Joe Ferguson, caught fire in the third quarter and reeled off 17 unanswered points to take charge, 37-23. Another Wright-to-Stanley hookup closed the gap, but an Eddie Murray field goal gave the Lions a 40-30 lead with 5:06 to play.
Again the Packers responded, with Wright leading them on a three-play, 79-yard scoring drive that brought them to within a field goal with 3:31 to go. Ferguson and the Lions tried to milk the clock, but the Packer defense was able to force a punt with 43 seconds remaining.
Prior to Jim Arnold’s punt, Packer coach Forrest Gregg told returner Stanley to call for a fair catch no matter what — with Wright’s hot hand, he felt sure the Packers could get in position for a tying field goal. Stanley, however, ignored his coach, catching the ball at the Packer 17 and angling to his left before suddenly reversing field and seeing….nothing.
The Lions coverage team had overpursued to its right, leaving the far sideline open for Stanley. A block from Eddie Lee Ivery dispatched one Lion tackler, and when Mossy Cade shoved Arnold aside at the Detroit 30, Stanley was gone.
A jubilant Gregg forgave his disobedient return man after the game, saying, “All I know is, the guy is a good athlete and has a lot of heart.”
Nov. 27, 1986
Silverdome, Pontiac, Mich.
1 2 3 4 F Packers 13 10 7 14 44 Lions 10 10 17 3 40
DT: Eddie Murray 44 FG
DT: James Jones 1 run (Murray)
GB: Al Del Greco 34 FG
GB: John Simmons recovered fumble in end zone (Del Greco)
GB: Del Greco 48 FG
GB: Del Greco 24 FG
DT: Murray 30 FG
GB: Walter Stanley 21 pass from Randy Wright (Del Greco)
DT: Jeff Chadwick 23 pass from Joe Ferguson (Murray)
DT: Murray 32 FG
DT: Jimmie Giles 20 pass from Ferguson (Murray)
DT: Carl Bland 10 pass from Ferguson (Murray)
GB: Stanley 36 pass from Wright (Del Greco)
DT: Murray 19 FG
GB: Paul Ott Carruth 11 pass from Wright (Del Greco)
GB: Stanley 83 punt return (Del Greco)
Trivia: The 1986 world champion New York Giants included two players who had been cut by the Packers earlier in the season. Who were they? The answer will appear in the Comments section tomorrow.
1989: The Packers didn’t need any miracles to topple the world champions.
At week 11 of the 1989 season, the Packers seemed to be an improved team with a knack for fantastic finishes, but little more than that. All but one of their five victories had come via frantic comebacks and last-second heroics; the only team they’d beaten decisively was the woeful Cowboys.
Stuck in third place in the NFC Central after a 31-22 loss at Detroit, the Packers traveled to San Francisco to face the 9-1 49ers, who’d just dismantled Atlanta 45-3. But the Packers, 9 ½-point underdogs, controlled the stunned 49ers from the opening whistle — at least as much as a team averaging almost 30 points a game can be controlled.
Tied 7-7 with 11:26 to go in the first half, SS Chuck Cecil stepped in front of Jerry Rice and returned the interception to the San Francisco 9. (Montana had gone 149 attempts without throwing a pick). Don Majkowski’s strike to Sterling Sharpe moments later put the Packers ahead, but the 49ers responded with a remarkable 98-yard drive, scoring just before the half ended.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – Ryan Grant finally hit his stride for the Green Bay Packers, rushing for 145 yards and a touchdown in a dominant 37-3 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
The win boosts the playoff hopes of the Packers (5-5), who came in on a two-game losing streak and trailing the Bears and Minnesota Vikings by one game in the NFC North standings. It also was the Packers’ first victory over the Bears at Lambeau Field since Lovie Smith took over as Chicago’s head coach.
Chicago (5-5) didn’t look much like a division co-leader or playoff contender on either side of the ball Sunday.
Kyle Orton started at quarterback for the Bears after sitting out last Sunday’s game with a sprained right ankle, but was outplayed by Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers, sacked four times and hit about 15 times against the Vikings, watched most of Sunday’s game from his feet. The Packers relied on quick passes against a Bears secondary apparently afraid of getting beat deep, and that allowed Rodgers to hit Greg Jennings and Donald Driver for several easy completions.
…1970: Bart Starr treated Green Bay fans to one last great moment as quarterback of the Packers.
By week 9 of the 1970 season, neither the Packers nor the Bears had realistic playoff aspirations, but that didn’t stop their 103rd meeting from being memorable. The Packers seemed to be in control well into the third quarter, but then Bears WR Dick Gordon — who would go on to lead the NFC in receptions in 1970 — got behind Willie Wood and snagged a long touchdown pass to tie the game.
The Bears dominated play in the fourth quarter, but had to settle for field goals each time they got close to the Packer goal. (Amazingly, the Packers defense prevented the Bears from converting any of their 13 third-down chances on the day.) Mac Percival’s fourth three-pointer of the day gave Chicago a 19-13 lead with 1:37 left.
The Packers got the ball back with the goal line 80 dim yards away. But to the delight of fans who’d gotten used to watching his decline, Starr’s chronically sore arm suddenly came to life. In trademark fashion, he methodically picked the Bears apart, completing key first-down passes of 18, 29, and 11 yards to keep the drive alive. Overall, Starr was an efficient 23-of-35 passing for 220 yards.
Nov. 13 (Foxboro) — Jay Feely kicked a 34-yard field goal in overtime as the New York Jets beat the New England Patriots 34-31 to take over sole possession of first place in their National Football League division.
The Jets (7-3) blew a 24-6 first-half lead and a 31-24 fourth-quarter advantage at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, before pulling out their second win in the past 12 meetings against the Patriots (6-4).
“I know the struggles the Jets have had here,” Jets quarterback Brett Favre said in a televised interview. “We found a way to win it. It puts us in first place with a few days to enjoy it.”
After the Patriots scored 18 straight points to tie the score 24-24, Thomas Jones put the Jets ahead with a one-yard touchdown run with 3:10 left in the fourth quarter.
New England then scored the tying touchdown with one second left in regulation, as Matt Cassel capped a 62-yard drive with a 16-yard scoring toss to Randy Moss in the corner of the end zone. The play was reviewed to ensure Moss got both feet down before falling out of bounds.
In overtime, the Jets won the coin flip and Favre drove the team 64 yards to set up the winning field goal. Favre connected with Dustin Keller three times on the drive, including a third- and-15 play in New York territory.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Adrian Peterson was fired up as always, so determined to beat Green Bay he stormed to the sideline at one point in the fourth quarter with a demeanor that could be described, politely, as angry.
Success for Minnesota’s star running back, though, came as usual through patience.
Peterson rushed for 192 yards and reached across the goal line with 2:22 left to lift the Vikings to a 28-27 victory on Sunday that ended their five-game losing streak to the Packers.
Though he set an NFL record with 296 yards in one game during his rookie season, Peterson acknowledged this as the most satisfying performance of his brief career.
”That’s what it’s all about. We came in, knew it was going to be a dogfight, and we pulled it out,” Peterson said.
Mason Crosby’s 52-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds was just wide, helping the Vikings (5-4) pull into a first-place tie with the Chicago Bears. Green Bay (4-5) is one game back in the NFC North.