DETROIT (AP) — The Green Bay Packers are working on a perfect season. The Detroit Lions have plenty to work on following a slew of physical and mental mistakes.
Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and the Packers built a big lead in the third quarter, taking advantage of Ndamukong Suh’s ejection and beating the Detroit Lions 27-15 Thursday.
The defending champion Packers are 11-0 for the first time in franchise history and have won a team-record 17 straight, including the playoffs.
Green Bay easily passed what was expected to be one of its toughest tests toward joining the 2007 New England Patriots as the NFL’s only teams to have 16-0 regular seasons.
The Lions fell to 7-4 — losing a franchise-record eighth straight Thanksgiving game — and added to their misery in ugly fashion.
Suh was tossed for stepping on Evan Dietrich-Smith’s arm in the third quarter and Matthew Stafford threw three interceptions.
The Packers turned Stafford’s interceptions into two TDs and a field goal, going ahead 24-0 late in the third.
Detroit finally scored when Keiland Williams ran for a 16-yard TD with 13:11 left and added a 2-point conversion pass from Stafford to Titus Young. It also scored a meaningless TD on Stafford’s 3-yard pass to Calvin Johnson with 11 seconds left.
The Lions raised expectations for their ability to compete and entertain during their annual showcase after losing the last seven games by three-plus TDs on average.
They kept it close early — in a punt- and penalty-filled first half — then simply couldn’t keep up with Rodgers’ passing attack and failed to stay disciplined.
Rogers was 22 of 32 for 307 yards with two TDs — a 3-yard pass to Greg Jennings with 4:51 left in the first half to make it 7-0 and 65-yard pass to James Jones in the third for a 21-0 lead. He fumbled once, but a teammate recovered the football.
“Second half, we got under center a little bit more, started running some regular offense and just kind of got things going,” Rodgers said. “We had a good bead on what they’re going to do there in the third quarter and James ran a nice post route and I didn’t underthrow him too bad and he ran in for a touchdown. That kind of got us going.”
Stafford was 32 of 45 for 276 yards with a TD in the final seconds and three interceptions, getting picked off by Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews and Robert Francois.
Detroit became the NFL’s first team to win three games in a season after trailing by 17 points with Sunday’s comeback win over Carolina, but the Packers proved they weren’t as vulnerable as the Panthers.
Green Bay’s winning streak, including its run in the 2010 playoffs, equals the streak the Oakland Raiders had during the 1976-77 seasons.
New England won 18 straight during the 2007 season only to lose to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints were the last teams to start a season 11-0, pulling off the feat two years ago.
Detroit’s best shot to beat the Packers — as it did at home last year — was to knock Rodgers out of the game like they did last year. The Lions gave that tactic their best shot, hitting him even if he had gotten rid of the ball. Kyle Vanden Bosch was flagged for one of those late hits and could’ve drawn a penalty for doing even more to the star quarterback on the same drive.
Rodgers refused to be rattled, kept his cool and won — again.
(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.)