If you’re still unpacking everything that happened in last night’s crazy Packers/Lions game, I don’t blame you. It was one of the most incredible finishes you will ever see. As such, here are five quick thoughts about the game and the big picture:
1) I can’t believe how far Aaron Rodgers threw that Hail Mary in the air. He launched it from just past his own 35. He threw it about 300 miles into the air. And it came down a few yards deep in the Lions end zone. It was close to 70 yards, with loft. Even if it wouldn’t have been caught, it was a perfect, remarkable heave for the situation. Here is the infamous Christian Ponder Fail Mary by comparison.
2) I can’t (and yet I can) believe how poorly the Lions defended the final six seconds. You realize the Packers had to go 79 yards with no timeouts in that span, right? All Detroit had to do on the previous play was tackle Green Bay before a player reached the end zone and without committing a penalty. The former happened. The latter did not (more on that in a minute).
And on the final play, Detroit’s three rushers did exactly what Rodgers wanted, flushing him to one side and giving him time. There were two Detroit defensive players camped out near the sideline 40 yards from the end zone. Maybe they were making sure there was no wacky short pass and run, but come on. Also, Calvin Johnson is supposed to be part of the Hail Mary defense. He wasn’t on the field. Instead, he was on the sideline, crushed.
3) Packers fans wanted pass interference on the play before the play before the Hail Mary. It was a good non-call in my mind. The facemask penalty that set up the final play? I don’t think it was a good call. Rodgers’ face mask was grazed, but the grabbing was of the shoulder pad. It’s a tough call for an official to make. But it doesn’t seem like it was the right call, and the game would have ended 23-21 without it.
4) In the grand scheme of things, this game might not matter much when it comes to the NFC North race. If the Vikings and Packers are within a game of each other in either direction going into their Week 17 showdown at Lambeau, the winner of that game will win the division. Why? If the Vikings win and tie the Packers, the season series would be tied (first tiebreaker) and they would have the division record tiebreaker. If the Packers win to tie the Vikings, they would have the head-to-head tiebreaker.
5) Let’s not forget in all of this that the Packers are still kind of a mess. A win like that can galvanize a team, but Green Bay is still 2-4 in its last six and could easily be 1-5. All that said: what a finish.