Detroit players describe how they beat Packers; end futility in state.
Green Bay — Darius Slay was not to be contained in the jubilant Detroit Lions locker room Sunday.
“How many catches did 89 (Packers wide receiver James Jones) have?” Slay shouted to his teammates several times as the media entered the visitor’s locker room. “Zero. Zero.”
His teammates laughed and highfived the third-year cornerback from Mississippi State, prompting him to halfheartedly complain after one hard smack from a Lions linebacker.
“It means a lot to the city of Detroit and our team,” Slay said. “I’ve been here three years and we had to end that streak. It feels so good.”
The infamous streak of 24 straight losses to the Packers on Wisconsin soil is over.
Detroit entered the contest 1-7 and a heavy underdog, but earned its second victory with a 18-16 triumph that wasn’t decided until Mason Crosby’s errant field-goal attempt with five seconds remaining.
Slay was reminded by safety Don Carey to be humble in victory.
“I am humble, I am humble,” Slay said with a big smile, and then shared how he shook hands with Aaron Rodgers after the game and received a compliment from reigning league MVP.
“He said I was one of the best in the league.”
On a mild November afternoon, Slay and the Lions held Rodgers and the once prolific Green Bay offense to just 16 points at home to snap the Packers’ 13-game winning streak at Lambeau Field.
“It was a total team effort,” defensive end Darryl Tapp said. “Aaron Rodgers is one of the top quarterbacks in the league. It was tough sledding for us at times, but all I know is that last field goal didn’t go through the uprights and we won the game.
“I wasn’t out there on the last play because I’m height deficient, but it was great to get a win here at Lambeau Field. We’re going to enjoy this one.”
Carey, a seven-year pro from Norfolk State, echoed those sentiments.
“It took a complete team effort — not just us on defense,” he said. “It was a testament to the resolve of this team. To the resolve of our coaches and organization. We stuck together and focused in on this game. We didn’t get too high or too low.”
The team banded together after the firing of several coaches and a beatdown in London by the Kansas City Chiefs and the ensuing termination of the franchise president and general manager during their bye week.
Safety Isa Abdul-Quddus said the downtime allowed the team to regroup.
“We just refocused,” he said. “The bye week came at a great time. We got to slow down, look back and reflect on what was going on.”
What went on at Lambeau Field was a game plan devised to not let Rodgers control the tempo of the game and disrupt the timing by play- ing physical with Green Bay receivers.
“We played physical,” said cornerback Crezdon Butler, who was just signed off the practice squad Saturday and wasn’t even listed on the team roster sheet Sunday. “We didn’t want to sit back and let the receivers get into their routes.
“We didn’t want them to have timing throws. We were looking to get up in the faces fast. We didn’t want him (Rodgers) to control the game. We wanted to control him, so we brought pressure and were in their faces.”
First, Detroit stopped the run, limiting Green Bay to 47 yards rushing and 2.6 yards per carry. Rodgers threw a career-high 61 passes and completed a career best 35 for 333 yards and two touchdowns, but endured seven quarterback hits.
He misfired badly on several throws and his receivers dropped at least three passes when they were wide open.
Butler was a difference maker when Detroit needed a big play.
After Rodgers threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Justin Perillo with 32 seconds left to close within 18-16, the Packers quarterback lofted a pass to the right corner of the end zone on the 2-point conversion attempt.
For a split second, it appeared wide receiver Davante Adams was wide open. But Butler closed quickly and got his hand on the tip of the ball and ripped it from Adams’ hands.
“We got a lot of pressure up the middle and he (Rodgers) put a little more air on the ball than he wanted to and I ended up making the play,” said Butler.
Green Bay executed a perfect onside kick, recovered the ball, and drove in position for a game-winning field-goal attempt by Crosby.
“We don’t care about any streak in Wisconsin, we care about winning,” said Devin Taylor, a third-year defensive end from South Carolina. “The last kick was low, that’s all I know and we won.”
Abdul-Quddus said the game boiled down to basics and listed sound tackling as a main reason.
“They have very slippery guys, so wrapping them up and getting them down was a major objective,” he said. “We also j ammed them at the line. We did a good job of executing the game plan.”
Aaron Rodgers attempted a career-high 61 passes against the Lions. He also suffered seven quarterback hits.