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Woodson, Driver Star In Thanksgiving Day Romp Over Lions


Thursday's match-up with the two-win Detroit Lions had all the makings of a trap game for the Green Bay Packers.

Coming off a dominating performance against the 49ers and facing a rough three-game stretch after playing the Lions, it was the perfect setting for the Packers to lay an egg.

After Jordy Nelson's fumble on the game's opening kick led to a Lions touchdown, it looked as though the Packers would do just that.

But things turned around for Green Bay on the strength of some of its biggest playmakers. Safety Nick Collins got the turnover frenzy started when he intercepted Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford late in the first quarter setting up a Packer touchdown en route to a 34-12 win.

But Thursday's spotlight belonged to cornerback Charles Woodson, who once again was a one-man wrecking crew on defense. Woodson shut down Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson, holding him to a measly two catches for 10 yards.

Woodson also intercepted two passes, returning one 38 yards for a touchdown, and recorded a sack and forced fumble. The former Heisman Trophy winner played another outstanding game in what has been an All-Pro type year so far. Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers was impressed with Woodson's play.

“Let me just say this,” Capers said. “I’ve had an opportunity to coach two defensive players of the year. If there’s a defensive player in the league right now playing better than Charles Woodson, I’d like to know who it is."

The Packers defense forced five turnovers, held running back Kevin Smith to just 43 rushing yards and put consistent pressure on Stafford, who was nursing a separated shoulder, all day. The only time the Lions found the endzone came after Nelson's fumble gave them the ball on the Green Bay 20 yard line.

The defense also produced two goal line stands late in the game to seal the Packers' third win in a row. Two more of the Lions points came on a safety after running back Ryan Grant was unable to get out of the endzone, following the defense's first goal line stand.

Other than the safety and a few stalled drives in the red zone, the offense dominated the Lions. Receiver Donald Driver was the star of the offense, catching seven passes for 142 yards and a touchdown, proving he can still get it done.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had one of his best games of the year, throwing for 348 yards and three touchdowns. The biggest pass play of the day came when Rodgers unleashed a 70 yard bomb to Driver to set up a touchdown.

Even the oft-criticized offensive line played well, giving Rodgers time to throw. The Lions clearly are not a good team, but Thursday's win was still impressive for a team that lost two of its biggest defensive stars just four days ago.

It was a necessary win for the Packers as they head into the stretch run of the season facing the Baltimore Ravens, Superbowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears in the next three weeks. With the division already locked up by the 10-1 Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay is fighting for a Wildcard spot in the crowded NFC.

If the defense continues to shut down its opponents and force turnovers, and the offense continues to produce big plays, the Packers should have a good chance to lock up one of the two Wildcard spots.


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