You heard about it all last week: the big Thanksgiving Day clash between Green Bay and Detroit. Dragged out of mothballs for historical comparison was the classic 1962 clash between the two. The storyline is now familiar: In 1962, a 10-0 Packers team similar in dominance to this year's 2011 version came into Tiger Stadium and got manhandled by a strong but decidedly underdog Detroit team. The legendary Green Bay boys of Lombardi got their clocks cleaned that day, Hall of Famer Bart Starr getting sacked an incredible 11 times. The Lions went up 26-0 before Green Bay tacked on a couple of worthless fourth-quarter scores.
I saw that game on an old black-and-white TV and remember it well. An awe swept over the neighbor's den where I was watching the game with fellow male family and friends, all of us stunned at the huge upset taking place. Such was definitely not the case last Thursday, when Green Bay rolled on to its 11th win of 2011, defeating a Lions club that had the ball for 20 minutes, totaled 218 yards, and held Green Bay to just 86 yards in the first half. Still, the Packers led 7-0, thanks in large part to Detroit's eight penalties for 75 yards. In the second half, a pair of interceptions converted to 10 points by Green Bay iced the game early. Making matters infinitely worse, the Lions lost their best defensive lineman, Ndamukong Suh, who was ejected for kicking an opponent.
No, it wasn't 1962. It was Thanksgiving, though, and it can be forgiven eventually that these two longtime rivals produced, well, a turkey on a day dedicated to such. At least the final score was nearly similar, if not the winner: Green Bay 27, Detroit 15. The '62 outcome: 26-14, Detroit.
THE FIRST ANNUAL ‘HARBOWL‘: Another much-hyped event-the showdown in Baltimore of the Brothers Harbaugh-delivered. The first meeting of two brothers as head coaches in NFL history was a tight game down to the final eight minutes. Led by linebacker-turned-beast Terrell Suggs, the Ravens sacked San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith a Baltimore franchise record-tying nine times in disabling the previously high-riding Niners, 16-6. San Francisco had entered the game with the second-best record in the NFC (9-1 prior to the game). Suggs' three takedowns led the Ravens' sack parade to help bring Baltimore its AFC North-leading eighth victory.
ANGLING FOR THE CORNER: After compiling a total of 190 yards rushing through the first five games, Tennessee's Chris Johnson has gone over 100 yards rushing in three of the Titans' last four outings, including his season-high 190-yard effort Sunday in Tennessee's 23-17 win over Tampa Bay...Hard-luck Matt Leinart could be out for the season pending further tests following a hit in the Houston Texans' 20-13 win over Jacksonville, in which the sixth-year quarterback-a replacement for injured Texans starter Matt Schaub-appeared to suffer a collarbone injury to his throwing arm...And Tim Tebow and the Broncos do it again: a 16-13 overtime win at San Diego. Denver is now 5-1 with Tebow starting at QB.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Arizona produced a pair of record-setters in its 23-20 win over St. Louis: RB Beanie Wells broke the Cardinals' franchise single-game rushing record with 228 yards on 27 carries, eclipsing LeShon Johnson's 15-year mark of 214. And rookie safety Patrick Peterson, the sensational first-round selection from LSU, ran back an 80-yard punt for a touchdown, his fourth punt return of the season for a score, tying Hall of Famer Jack Christiansen's 60-year-old mark set back in 1951, ironically when Christiansen was also a rookie.
Alan Ross is the author of 32 books, including Away from the Ball: The NFL's Off-the-Field Heroes. E-mail him at: email@example.com
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