Thanksgiving 2007: Packers ziplock the Lions

But first, a little something to make you smile.  When I was leaving work yesterday, I overheard someone talk about a Sears gift card.  Another person said, “There’s nothing like a Sears card that says ‘Merry Christmas.'” I thought it was funny.

And now for the football.

Turnovers and interceptions make for a narratively and visually thrilling game.  And when the producers decide to vary the kinds of camera angles that get air time (field goals and punts filmed from behind the kicker and punter), football game-play can’t get any lovelier (unless you’re NFL Films, of course).

The daytime Thanksgiving game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions (on Fox) was such a game.  The first and fourth quarters were quite stirring athletically and aesthetically.  Both teams started defensively impressive, but then Green Bay’s defense and offense took control of the game in the second quarter when Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings made a touchdown (running ten yards into the end zone and then catch!), and then running back Ryan Grant put in one.  By the end of the first half, the Lions sustained a slow pace by making field goals, three of them.  Green Bay got three points from a field goal in the very end of the second quarter, giving them a total of 17 points before halftime.  The Lions had 9 points.

The third quarter started with another Green Bay touchdown, courtesy of Jennings.  Packers 24. Detroit got a fourth field goal shortly thereafter for 12 points–that Jason Hanson has a great leg.  Great leg or not, the Packers still demonstrated their skill, grabbing another TD thanks to wide receiver Ruvell Martin.  Green Bay 31.  Detroit 12.

The Packers’ field goal in the top of the fourth quarter increased their score to 34.  Then hallelujah, Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (a former GaTech Yellow Jacket) caught a touchdown pass.  Detroit 19. After Johnson caught two more passes, the Lions made it to the end zone and running back Kevin Jones galloped into the the zone for a TD.  Detroit 26.  Alas, in the final two minutes, Green Bay widened the point gap with a field goal, and ultimately winning the game 37 to 26.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Katherine McPhee sang the national anthem in the Packers vs. Lions game.  After singing a few lines, the camera cut to Calvin Johnson.  It then cut to Packers wide receiver Koren Robinson who had overcome an addiction to alcohol and has lived the redemption narrative in the last couple of years.

2. Although Calvin Johnson didn’t make that touchdown in the first quarter (around 6 minutes on the clock), simply watching him attempt the catch was enough.  His body sailed through the air and achieved a kind of slow-motion look without actually being in slow-motion.  Good stuff.   He caught but then dropped the ball towards the bottom of the first quarter; in one of the replays, the camera cut to Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, who slammed his arms downward to his knees, where he remained hunched down.  His back was facing the camera.  Johnson made a thirteen yard catch in the third quarter, jumping in the air (nearly straight up) with the grace of a dancer.

3. The Goo Goo Dolls performed for the 70,000 or so fans at Ford Field in Detroit during halftime.   I wasn’t too keen on that modern ballet dance number.  I would’ve preferred something by a color guard (nevermind that a color guard performance would probably be saved for a college game).  A United Way banner was unfurled halfway through the Dolls’ second song.

4. Aside from after-Thanksgiving shopping ads, the commercials that appeared throughout this telecast included holiday wishes from family members of players in the game.  Pretty creative idea on the part of the marketing/sales/advertising folks.

5. Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre is thirty-eight years-old.  Brad Pitt is forty-one.

For game summary, stats, and play by play, click here.

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