By John Breech
One day after celebrating his 32nd birthday, Aaron Rodgers delivered himself the ultimate birthday present: A 61-yard Hail Mary on the final play of the game to beat the Lions.
The miraculous throw capped a miracle comeback that saw the Packers score two touchdowns in the game's final three-plus minutes in a shocking 27-23 win at Ford Field in Detroit.
It was the second touchdown, though, that's going to have people talking for years.
The game looked all but over with six seconds left and Green Bay sitting at its own 21-yard line. To beat the Lions, the Packers were going to have to go 79 yards on one play.
On what should've been the final play of the game, Rodgers threw a 19-yard pass to James Jones, who lateraled it to Richard Rodgers, who then lateraled it back to Aaron Rodgers. At that point, Rodgers got taken down by Lions defensive end Devin Taylor.
The problem for the Lions? Taylor's thumb got caught in Aaron Rodgers' facemask.
Since a game can't end on a defensive penalty, the facemask call gave the Packers one untimed down from their own 39-yard line, and that's when Rodgers delivered himself the ultimate birthday present.
In need of a win. No time left. Throw it long. Hope.
Posted by NFL on Friday, December 4, 2015
The Lions were ready for the Hail Mary, but somehow Rodgers managed to throw it to a part of the field where there were more Packers players.
One of those Packers players in that crowd was tight end Richard Rodgers, who somehow managed to box out and outjump everyone for the ball and the win.
The ending was so wild that when Rodgers walked off the field, he referred to the victory as something he'll never forget.
"It's the most amazing game of my life," Rodgers said. "To be a part of that. To never give up."
As the ball sailed in the air, only one thing was going through Rodgers' head.
"Catch it. You got to catch it," Aaron Rodgers said.
Rodgers liked the feeling of the throw as soon as it left his hand. The Packers quarterback put everything he had into it. As you can see below, the ball traveled about 70 yards in the air.
"I felt good that it was going to be in the end zone," Rodgers said. "I got a nice run up and crow-hopped into it. I didn't see Richard until the last second, but when he caught it, I blacked out, I didn't know what happened. I know it was the greatest feeling I've had on the field in a long time."
The most shocking part of the win was how horrible the Packers were before the game's final four minutes. The first half was especially ugly, with the Packers only totaling 78 yards.
Aaron Rodgers was ugly too, only completing 10 of 16 passes for 80 yards.
"We were terrible in the first half," Rodgers said. "The second half we got it going."
Aftter the ugly first half, Rodgers rebounded to go 14 of 20 for 193 yards and two touchdowns in the second half, including the Hail Mary. Rodgers also rushed for a huge 17-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that was extra big because it came on third-and-11.
Overall, Rodgers finished with 273 yards and three overall touchdowns in the win.
Some teams will celebrate a win for 24 hours and put it behind them. Not the Packers, at least not for this win. Rodgers said he plans to enjoy it for the next few days.
"We're 8-4, we're in the mix. Huge win for us," Rodgers said. "We're going to enjoy it this weekend."
The "Miracle in Motown" is what our Jim Nantz called the Packers' win and it's just catchy enough to stick.
Anyway, the Packers should enjoy it because it was a pivotal one for their playoff chances. If the Falcons or Seahawks lose this Sunday, then Green Bay will have a two-game lead over the NFC's No. 7 team with just four games left.