Once upon a time the Lions beat the Packers at LambeauJanuary 01, 2012
Before the Lions take on the Packers at Lambeau in their final game of the regular season, I thought I should review the last time the Lions won on the road in Green Bay.
The memories came flooding back once I checked out the box score.
The last time the Lions beat the Packers on the road, it was week 16 of the 1991 season, Sunday, December 15. It was a brutal winter afternoon, 10 degrees with a -6 wind chill.
The Lions were down 10-7 going into the 4th quarter, but pulled out a 21-17 win. The victory raised the Lions' record to 11-4, their 5 consecutive win in one of Wayne Fontes' patented late season bum rushes to the playoffs.
In a battle of journeyman QB's, the last Lion QB to win a playoff game, Erik Kramer out dueled career backup Mike Tomczak.
The weather affected the Lions passing game adversely, as Kramer was only 14-29-131, but he did throw a pair of TD passes.
One of the refugees of Wayne Fontes aborted run and shoot offense, tiny WR Robert Clark, caught those 2 TD passes.
The Lions leading receiver that day was Mike Farr, son of Lions legend Mel Farr, with 7 catches.
Hall of Fame RB Barry Sanders lead the rushing attack with 85 yards rushing and added 13 more receiving
Eddie Murray, in the last season of his great 12 year Lions career, kicked 3 PATs.
The awesome Mel Gray had an 89 yard punt return for a TD, which was ultimately the game winning score.
The underrated CB Ray Crockett added a pick.
Eccentric Jim "MAYDAY" Arnold punted 10 (!!) times, averaging 39.1 yards per kick.
Looking at the numbers, it's hard to believe the Lions won. The Pack out gained the Lions, 367-206. The Lions had 2 turnovers to the Packers' 1. But, as they say, "Scoreboard!"
Then again, the Lions were the vastly more talented team. They ul;timately won the laste, lamented NFC Central with a 12-4 record, while the Packers were still in their post-Lombardi funk, finishing 1991 at 4-12.
It was the final season in Green Bay for head coach Lindy Infante, who was replaced by Mike Holmgren in 1992...which was also the year the Pack acquired Brett Favre to be their QB. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The Lions went 2-3 years too long with Fontes, who could never get over the hump...or find a true franchise QB. Holmgren led the Packers to consecutive Super Bowl appearances in 1997 and 1998, becoming NFL champions in their second visit.
The Lions spun into irrelevance, the Packers became one of the NFL elite.
Finally, it's looking as if the tide has turned for the Lions. They go into today's game at 10-5, with a chance to lock lock down the 5th NFC playoff seed and end another embarrassing losing streak in the process. Teams don't go generations between victories on the road...well, they shouldn't, anyway.
I don't want to keep looking back at what woulda/coulda/shoulda have been. The time to end the road losing BS is now.