Detroit Lions Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders ran for 85 yards against Green Bay on December 15, 1991.
I'm not sure how much difference it will make anyway, but I think I would rather face a Green Bay team coming off a win in Chicago, rather than a refocused group who will want to ensure succession of "home ownership" over the Detroit Lions, a Packer tradition since 1992.
The task to defeat the Green Bay Packers is a tall order for the 2010 Detroit Lions, largely a "mission impossible."
The last time the Detroit Lions won on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, it was Sunday, December 15, 1991, in 10 degree weather that felt like seven degrees below zero, and that afternoon the Lions collected their 11th win of the season.
It's been a long time.
In fact, the last time the Detroit Lions won 11 games in a season was the 1962 campaign, when the team posted an 11-3 record.
On that glorious mid-December day for Detroit Lions fans, running back Barry Sanders contributed 85 yards rushing on 27 carries, and had a long run for the day of 26 yards. Barry was kept out of the end zone by the home team, but wide receiver Robert Clark (a 10th round pick that would today be an undrafted free agent) caught two touchdown passes from quarterback Erik Kramer, a 19-yard reception for a score in the first quarter, and a three-yard strike in the fourth.
Enter Mel Gray, "Mister Excitement."
Detroit Lions punt returner Mel Gray returned a Green Bay punt 78 yards for a touchdown, and it was this special teams score that proved to be the deciding margin in the Lions 21-17 road victory at Lambeau Field.
It was the 1991 Detroit Lions team that achieved the greatest number of wins in a season in Lions lore with 12. That team featured Pro Bowlers by the name of Spielman, Blades, Ball, Brown, Gray, and Sanders.
The Detroit Lions defense was respectable, finishing 11th in the NFL in scoring by allowing only 18.4 points per contest, and placing seventh in the league in interceptions with 19.
In Green Bay's (2-1) Monday night loss to the Chicago Bears (3-0), they showed the same susceptibility as the 1991 squad to a punt return for touchdown, as Devin Hester made the Packers pay on a 62-yard return for six points. Stephan Logan will need to reciprocate in kind for the Lions if they are to win on the road in Green Bay this coming Sunday.
For the Detroit Lions to win on the road at Lambeau, the Lions will need to benefit from the same source as the Chicago Bear’s victory: the Packers must beat themselves.
The Green Bay Packers committed 18 penalties that cost them 152 yards on Monday night at Soldier Field. The Lions will need that type of effort from the home team to create grounds for a road victory. I truly hope the Packers will remain consistent in this one area for their upcoming contest with the Lions.
Last night the Packers offensive line protected their quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, very well and allowed no sacks to the Bears defense. The Detroit Lions defense must break through the Packers offensive line early and often if the Leos are to take their first road win at Lambeau since December 15, 1991.
I wouldn’t mind seeing a new wrinkle or two on the defensive side, say a "heavy metal" package, where we could see a twist of LDE Ndamukong Suh, DT Corey Williams, DT Sammie Lee Hill, and RDE Kyle Vanden Bosch. If short at linebacker, stand Cliff Avril up and maybe rush him in a stunt and have the safety cover (anything to light up Rodgers and quickly end his afternoon on the field of play).
The Detroit Lions will once again be without the services of quarterback Matthew Stafford, as he continues to heal from the shoulder injury sustained at the hands of Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, so Shaun Hill will lead the Leos into Lambeau.
The Detroit Lions rookie running back Jahvid Best is suffering from a grade-two turf toe injury and is listed as "day-to-day." If Jahvid does suit up for the road contest at Green Bay, it is difficult to imagine getting a "100 percent" best. This is an injury that could linger throughout the 2010 campaign and derail the production of the promising young speedster.
While the tight end group has accounted for a good number of receptions and yardage thus far, Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew have yet to become "game deciders" with their performances. Had Corey Williams not returned the Favre interception intended for Toby Gerhart 27 yards to the Minnesota 12-yard line, there's no telling if the Detroit Lions offense would have been able to move the ball into the red zone, leaving Shaun Hill to hit Scheffler with a five-yard touchdown pass last weekend, the Lions only touchdown of the afternoon.
Green Bay outside linebacker Clay Matthews III was held without a sack, but managed to make three tackles against Chicago. The Detroit Lions offensive line, tight ends, and backs must keep Matthews and the Packers defense at bay if the Lions are to have any hope of victory near the northwestern shores of Lake Michigan in the smallest of NFL towns.
If the Lions can responsibly borrow the Bears approach and allow only 43 yards on a baker's-dozen worth of carries to the Packers running backs, the Lions have a chance to win on Sunday.
The problem is that someone will need to notify the back seven of the Detroit defense that tackling is a must and so is covering the receiver. The Lions will have a full opportunity to demonstrate the defensive prowess of their linebacker corps and secondary when they try to contain Aaron Rodgers' best efforts to find tight end Jermichael Finley, wide receivers Donald Driver, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, and running backs Brandon Jackson, and John Kuhn.
If the Lions are to win on the road, they might need to borrow an "ugly score" from the Tigers-Brewers rivalry of old, say Detroit Lions 9 and Green Bay Packers 5.
After the Detroit Lions road loss to the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday, it seems as though vast quantities of Hopium have escaped the Pride faithful, leaving little for the pending battle with the division rival who has owned the Lions "at their place" for the past 18 years, nine months, and 13 days as of today.
I suspect this may tarry until the 20th year or so…
GO LIONS WIN!