The Green Bay Packers certainly hope they won’t need to, but today they found out that they can beat a playoff team even without Aaron Rodgers.
That’s what the Packers did today against the Lions, as Rodgers got the day off and Matt Flynn led the way with an absolutely stunning game, completing 31 of 44 passes for 480 yards and six touchdowns.
Flynn and Matthew Stafford played a great game of Tecmo Bowl: Stafford completed 36 of 59 passes for 520 yards and five touchdowns, but the second of Stafford’s two interceptions sealed the Lions’ fate with just seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. It was the first time in NFL history that two quarterbacks had 400 yards and five touchdowns in the same game.
Stafford could have made it six touchdowns if a blown call hadn’t cost him a touchdown toss to Titus Young, and the Lions will find themselves wondering what might have been if they hadn’t lost those points.
Flynn is the only quarterback other than Brett Favre or Rodgers to start for the Packers in the last 20 years, and he had better stats today than either of them ever had in more than 300 combined starts.
Calvin Johnson had a career-high 244 receiving yards for the Lions, giving him a league-leading 1,681 yards for the season.
The Lions will play at New Orleans next weekend barring the Falcons collapsing today against the Buccaneers, and a Lions defense that gave up that big a game to Flynn is going to have a tough time against Drew Brees. The Saints whipped the Lions in New Orleans during the regular season and will be heavy favorites to do it again in the postseason.
But no one will be favored over the Packers in the postseason. Their offense is a juggernaut, even when Rodgers is on the sideline.