Packers vs. Lions

If you give Aaron Rodgers a chance in the fourth quarter, he will take it.

Jim Rome
October 15, 2019 - 10:50 am
Allen Lazard

USA Today

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Here’s the thing – I really would’ve liked to have led today’s show with how the Packers played and how they came back in the fourth quarter stabbed the Lions in the heart. I really wanted to. But the refs wouldn’t let me.

So now I can get into the game itself. Because it was a damn interesting game. If you had any doubts about how the Lions would show up, the Lions came to play. They opened it up with a flea flicker on the very first place from scrimmage. What a brass way to start. That’s nailing your colors to the mast. That’s making a statement about who you are and what you’re about. You’re not scared. And I respect the hell out of it.

The only problem was that after getting down to the Packer 11 on that play, they had to settle for a field goal. And that was a theme for Detroit all night.

For Detroit, that game came down to two things: the officials and settling for field goals. Too much of the refs and too much of Matt Prater.

Zero touchdowns and four field goals on their last nine possessions. That is a problem. And this is one of those tricky situations where you can’t entirely blame the refs for Detroit losing that game, because if they convert some of those field goals into touchdowns, we aren’t talking about the calls.

But the terrible calls didn’t help.

You know what else didn’t help the Lions? Aaron Rodgers.

 Down nine in the fourth quarter, Rodgers went to work. He was already without Davante Adams due to turf toe and then lost Geronimo Allison with a head and chest injury. And then rookie Darrius Shepherd had a pass go off his facemask and into the Lions hands at the one-yard line.

So the story goes that Rodgers went to receivers coach Alvis Whitted and asked "if [No. 13] could come in for a little bit."

Number 13 is Allen Lazard, who had been a beast at Iowa State. And went undrafted and signed with the Jags last year. But then joined the Packers last December.

Going into last night, he’d never caught a pass from Rodgers in a regular season game. And then he caught four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.

And that touchdown was sweet. Roll it.

That throw was absurd.

When you hear people question why Rodgers is mentioned among the greatest ever, even though he only has one ring, show them that throw. That is why.

Because there is only one spot where that ball could go and only a handful of people who’ve ever played this game who could put it there.

In case you can’t tell, Lazard and Rodgers have chemistry. As Rodgers explained: "I actually sit next to him in the team meetings, and we've struck up a pretty good friendship. The thing that got me was, which you love as a quarterback, and that's receivers coming back and telling you he wants the ball and what routes he wants to run. The big first down we had to him on the out route, that was him coming back to the huddle and telling me what play he wanted. For a young guy to do that, how can you not have confidence in that."

Rodgers said Matt LaFleur had two play calls in mind.

"I said go with the first one, because I'm going to throw it to Allen and we're going to move the sticks. And we did."

That is awesome. Allen Lazard just rolls in off the bench, having never caught a pass from Rodgers in a regular season game, and he’s telling Rodgers where wants the ball and what routes he wants to run. And Rodgers is with him on it.

To put it another way, as Lazard said after the game: "I'm made for this bleep.”

And so is Rodgers. The touchdown to Lazard made it 22-20 with just over 9 minutes to go. Green Bay forced a punt and got the ball back on their own 18 with 6:46 left. And everyone knew what was going to happen. Rodgers was going to lead them on a fourth quarter drive to win the game.

Because that’s what he does. And he did exactly that. 77 yards in 13 plays, including a clutch play by Jamal Williams to slide on the field when the Lions were looking to let him run into the end zone. The Packers were all about bleeding the clock down so that Mason Crosby could come on and hit the game winner.

Yeah, the refs butchered that drive. And most of the game. But the Lions didn’t help themselves at all with all those field goals. This Lions team is good. Really good.

They’re this close to being undefeated with wins over Kansas City and Green Bay. But the next step is making sure they slam the door on teams like the Packers when they have the chance. They had the chance and they didn’t do it.

And if you give Aaron Rodgers a chance in the fourth quarter, he will take it. Because that’s what he does. And the Lions should have known that. We all did.