This was supposed to be The Year!
The year that the Detroit Lions finally put an end to the 22-year old victory drought on Wisconsin soil.
These Big Cats from The Motor City were tied for first in the NFC North at 3-1.
The Lions were coming off a huge win over the Chicago Bears.
They had an improved offense with a new weapon in Reggie Bush.
The Green Bay Packers, on the other hand, were reeling.
They were licking their wounds after dropping a most-winnable game in Cincinnati.
GB QB Aaron Rodgers was coming off arguably his worst game in years.
Well, you’ll just have to wait ‘til next year, feline fans.
The Pack squares its record at 2-2. The Lions lost but remain tied for the lead as Chicago was bested by the 5-0 New Orleans Saints.
With Calvin (Megatron) Johnson out with a knee injury, the Packers defense could sharpen its focus on Bush.
Bush garnered more attention than the pretty girl in a small school.
Bush had a significant impact on the Lions through four games this season with promise of much more.
With the deep threat of Megatron standing on the sidelines, the Pack was able to swarm around Bush and limit his big-play capability.
It should be noted here that Bush is less effective on the not-yet-frozen tundra than he is on artificial turf in the dome.
But the Lions, after many years of being able to zero in on Rodgers and the passing game, had to pay attention to Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin.
The lackluster first quarter saw Green Bay with a 3-0 lead on a 26-yarder by Mason Crosby.
That came with 1:24 to play as the Packers controlled the ball for 10 minutes after stopping Detroit’s initial effort
A golden opportunity in the red zone, a first and goal on the four, was thwarted with pressure on A-Rod and good coverage by the Lions’ secondary.
Just that specter overhead is enough to open things up through the air.
Success on the Pack’s next effort was stymied by a return of the dropsies.
Most notably a couple by Jermichael Finley and one glaring one by tight end Ryan Taylor.
A 52-yard Crosby field goal made it 6-0 with 11:14 left in the half.
Neither team, it seemed, could get any traction which came as a little bit of a surprise considering the octane rating of the two offenses.
Detroit mounted a drive deep in its own territory, mixing it up on the ground and in the air.
An air-tight secondary, pressure on Matthew Stafford and a huge penalty led to a David Akers 53-yarder narrowed the gap for a 6-3 Green Bay lead at the half.
Getting Morgan Burnett back was clearly a big reason for the improvement in the defensive backfield.
Burnett is sporting a new, much less hirsute look as he comes back from injury.
Brad Jones, Nick Perry, Mike Neal each collected sacks of Stafford and the pressure came from someone not named Clay Matthews.
Matthews had his way with Stafford as well and gave him a little more to think about.
It was doubtless a very refreshing change for Packer head coach Mike McCarthy.
The running attack referenced earlier, also includes receiver-in-chief Randall Cobb.
Cobb burst off left tackle and up the sideline for 67 yards, the longest run from scrimmage by the Pack in recent memory.
The battle of the kickers continued into the third quarter when yet another deep drive stalled leading to a 31-yard triple by Crosby.
The lead was 9-3 with 5:04 left in the third quarter.
The booming kickoffs of punter Tim Masthay continued to be a Special Teams weapon keeping the Lions pinned back.
The end zone was finally breached when Rodgers hooked up with a ridiculously wide open James Jones for an 83 yard touchdown strike.
More than 50 of those yards were after the catch.
That gave Green Bay a 16-3 lead deep into the third stanza.
Crosby’s fourth connection made it 19-3 for the Pack over the Lions with 10:16 left in the contest.
Another Rodgers missive to Jones for a score was called back with about four minutes to go when Jones neglected to get his left foot in bounds when he crossed the goal line.
Crosby’s completion of the quintet made it 22-3 at the 3:56 mark.
Detroit tried get back into it, but clearly there wasn’t enough time.
Stafford did connect with Kris Durham with 2:06 left in the game.
But the two-point conversion failed as did the ensuing onside kick and the threat was over.
Green Bay takes its show on the road to Baltimore for a game against the Ravens next Sunday, October 13. Kickoff is slated for noon.