The longest continuous rivalry in the NFL is the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. No two teams have played each at least twice every season longer than those two teams. Sunday’s 175th meeting between the two teams will have added meaning. The winner will win the division and earn a home playoff game. Here are the five best moments in the Lions-Packers rivalry from the past 86 years.
#5 Packers win first ever playoff matchup against the Lions
Brett Favre tossed a 40-yard touchdown pass with 55 seconds left in the game to give the Packers a 28-24 victory in the wild card round of the 1993 season playoffs. It was the third scoring pass of the game between the duo. Sharpe finished the game with 101 receiving yards (just less than half of Favre’s total) and all three offensive touchdowns by the Packers. The Lions dominated the total yardage with 410-293 advantage. The Lions haven’t won the division nor hosted a playoff game since.
#4 Flynn tosses six touchdowns in shootout
The Packers had already clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs when the two teams met in Week 17 of the 2011 season. So, they gave MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers the day off. Backup Matt Flynn, who had played only sparingly previously in NFL career, responded with a team-record six touchdown passes, including three to Jordy Nelson and the game-winning score to Jermichael Finley with 1:10 left in the game, and 480 passing yards. His counterpart, Matthew Stafford, topped him in passing yards by 40. It was the greatest offensive display in the rivalry with 89 combined points and 1,125 combined yards of offense.
#3 Lions win in Wisconsin for first time in 24 years
For the first time since the 1991 season, the Lions won at the Packers. They had opportunities in the past, but blew them. This time, the Packers blew the chance to win. After Matt Prater missed a pair of extra point tries, including one late in the game, and Calvin Johnson couldn’t handle an onside kick, Packers kicker Mason Crosby lined up for the game-winning field goal. However, his 52-yard field goal attempt was blocked to seal the victory.
#2 Lions become first team to go 0-16
Teams are remembered for many different reasons - both good and bad. For the 2008 Lions, they will be forever remembered as the first team to lose 16 games in a season. No team has lost more than 15 since.
The perfectly imperfect Lions almost erased themselves from the record and notoriety. The Packers jumped out to a 14-0 lead after one quarter, but Dan Orlovsky threw a pair of touchdown passes to Calvin Johnson to get the game into the fourth quarter tied. The Packers got a field goal and touchdown in the early stages of the fourth quarter to take a 10-point. Immediately after, the Lions went four plays to the end zone to back to within a field goal. One play after the ensuing kickoff, Aaron Rodgers hit Donald Driver for a 71-yard touchdown pass to effectively seal the fate of the winless Lions.
#1 Rodgers throws epic Hail Mary to Rodgers
The Packers had lost four of five, including a loss to the Lions at Lambeau Field, entering their Week 13 game at Ford Field. The Lions, on the other hand, had won three straight and were trying to fix their 1-7 start to the season. The Thursday matchup, one week after Thanksgiving, was filled with controversy, drama and an epic Hail Mary throw by Rodgers in the final two plays of the game. The Lions led 23-21 when Devin Taylor brought down Rodgers after time had expired, the referee called him for a facemask penalty. At game speed, it sure looked like Taylor pulled Rodgers down by the facemask as the quarterback’s head jerked with the defensive end’s hand. However, replay showed that Taylor’s hand grazed the facemask and brought Rodgers down by his shoulder pad. On the next un-timed play, Rodgers threw a high-arcing Hail Mary pass that nearly scraped the roof of Ford Field that came down in the arms of tight end Richard Rodgers for the game-winning touchdown.