Aaron who? Matt Flynn torches Lions as Packers win 45-41
~GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers got to rest up for the playoffs. Somehow, the Green Bay Packers ‘ passing game became even more dangerous with Matt Flynn .
The backup Matt Flynn threw for a franchise-record six touchdowns, the final one to Jermichael Finley with 1:10 left, giving the Packers a 45-41 victory over the Detroit Lions in a wild regular-season finale Sunday.
With Rodgers bundled up on the sideline in cold and windy conditions at Lambeau Field, Flynn set Packers records with 480 yards passing and the six TDs. It was an ideal afternoon for the Packers (15-1), who got to rest Rodgers and several other big-name players without losing playoff momentum.
Flynn barely got the Packers past Matthew Stafford , who threw for 520 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions for the Lions (10-6). Detroit has lost 21 straight road games to the Packers, including the postseason.
But the Lions head to the playoffs for the first time since 1999 as a wild card.
According to STATS LLC, it was the first time in NFL history opposing quarterbacks each threw for 400-plus yards and five-plus touchdowns in a game. The teams’ combined 971 net yards passing broke the NFL record of 906.
Calvin Johnson had 11 catches for 244 yards and a touchdown, and Titus Young had a pair of touchdowns for the Lions.
With the afternoon off, Rodgers’ season quarterback rating of 122.5 coming into the game broke Peyton Manning ‘s single-season mark of 121.1 set in 2004.
With NFC home-field advantage for the playoffs secured, the Packers also rested several key players with nagging injuries: including cornerback Charles Woodson , linebacker Clay Matthews , wide receiver Greg Jennings , right tackle Bryan Bulaga , running back James Starks and wide receiver Randall Cobb .
For a while, it looked like the Lions would take advantage of their absence.
With the Lions trailing 24-19 at the half, Stafford got some help from the Packers’ defense in the third quarter. An unnecessary roughness penalty on outside linebacker Erik Walden and a personal foul on linebacker Desmond Bishop helped set up a 2-yard touchdown from Stafford to Young for a 26-24 lead.
Flynn answered right away, throwing a 58-yard touchdown to Nelson to give the Packers a 31-26 lead.
The Lions went back into the lead on a 5-yard touchdown throw to Kevin Smith and a 2-point conversion to tight end Tony Scheffler to put Detroit ahead 34-31.
Ndamukong Suh came up with a third-down sack on the Packers’ next possession, mocking Rodgers’ “title belt” celebration after dropping Flynn to the turf. Suh, of course, was suspended for two games after he stomped on Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith in Green Bay’s win on Thanksgiving.
But the Lions failed to convert on fourth down in Packers territory, and Flynn marched Green Bay for a 35-yard touchdown to Driver to give the Packers a 38-34 lead.
Johnson drew a pass interference penalty on Tramon Williams to give the Lions the ball at the Green Bay 28. Scheffler hauled in a one-handed catch to set up first-and-goal on the 2.
Johnson then was called for offensive pass interference in the end zone, but Stafford threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Scheffler in the back of the end zone and the Lions took a 41-38 lead with 2:39 left.
Flynn wasn’t finished, finding James Jones for a 40-yard completion to set up first-and-goal at the 6 with 1:19 left. Flynn found Finley to win it.
With the Lions threatening again in the final minute, Sam Shields ‘ interception put the game away.
The Packers got off to a rough start. Flynn was sacked and fumbled on the Packers’ first possession, and Stafford cashed in with an 8-yard pass to Young.
Packers backup returner Pat Lee tried to field the ensuing kickoff in the end zone, but it bounced off him and over the goal line. Lee then tried to pull the ball back for a touchback – but officials ruled a safety that gave the Lions a 9-0 lead.
Flynn then found his rhythm, and the Packers led 24-19 at halftime.
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