Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) is interviewed by NFL Network reporter Erin Andrews after the second half. Alamy Stock Photo

Packers' Love tames the Lions, Cowboys and 49ers march on

DaRon Bland set a new NFL record for ‘pick sixes’ when he ran in an interception for a touchdown in a 45-10 blowout win.

JORDAN LOVE led the Green Bay Packers to a Thanksgiving Day surprise as they beat the in-form Detroit Lions 29-22 in the NFL on Thursday while the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers continued their march towards the post-season.

Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland set a new NFL record for “pick sixes” when he ran in an interception for a touchdown in a 45-10 blowout win over the Washington Commanders.

The 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey continued his standout season, putting up 114 yards and rushing two touchdowns in a 31-13 win at Seattle.

Green Bay quarterback Love produced his most accomplished performance since taking over from Aaron Rodgers for this season, throwing for three touchdowns and 268 yards as he connected on 22 of 32 passes in the upset win over the Lions.

The Packers scored three touchdowns in the opening quarter and went in 23-6 up at half-time with their offence firing and their defence applying pressure to Lions quarterback Jared Goff.

Green Bay scored on the first drive of the game, with Love passing short left to Jayden Reed at the end of a five-play, 75-yard drive which began with a superb 53-yard pass to Christian Watson.

The Lions responded immediately with Goff connecting with Sam LaPorta with a pinpoint pass through coverage into the end-zone.

But Love, who spent three years on the bench as back-up to Rodgers, was in the mood and replied by leading his team on a 10-play, 75-yard drive which concluded with a nine-yard pass, short right to Tucker Kraft.

The game turned decisively in Green Bay’s direction when Rashan Gary got to Goff, forcing a fumble as the quarterback threw, the loose ball recovered by Jonathan Owens, who dashed 27 yards for a touchdown.

Love credited the growing understanding on offence for their explosive start but also highlighted the defence for the pressure they put on Goff, particularly Gary, who delivered three sacks and forced two fumbles.

“They’re putting up a lot of pressure. RG was at the quarterback every time. They got some big-time turnovers so it was a huge performance by them,” he said.

- Home streak -

The Cowboys extended their home winning streak to 13 games with a convincing victory over Washington with quarterback Dak Prescott throwing for 331 yards and four touchdowns.

Dallas led 20-10 at the half thanks to Prescott’s touchdown passes to Rico Dowdle and Brandin Cooks, and a seven-yard rush from running-back Tony Pollard.

Dallas ran away with the game in the fourth quarter and crowned their victory with Bland’s record-breaking interception return.

Bland had equalled the record of four “pick sixes” in a single season in last week’s win over Carolina.

This time he anticipated Sam Howell’s pass intended for Jahan Dotson and then raced into the endzone for a 63-yard score.

“It just means everything, to have the fans, family, coaches there. Doing it on Thanksgiving Day is another day to be thankful for,” said Bland.

The win moves the Cowboys to 8-3 on the season while divisional rivals Washington slump to 4-8. The Philadelphia Eagles lead the NFC East on 9-1.

The defeat increases the pressure on Commanders head coach Ron Rivera but he said he wasn’t concerned about his future.

“I’ve told you before I’m not worried about anything. All I’m going to do is do my job and see how things go. That’s the only thing I can do,” said Rivera.

The 49ers opened up a 24-3 lead by half-time in Seattle with McCaffrey charging in to score twice in the second quarter and take his season touchdown tally to 11, a single-season franchise record.

Seattle got a glimmer of hope early in the third when Jordyn Brooks intercepted a deflected pass from 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy and scampered home.

But San Francisco’s defence, dominant in sacking Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith six times, held firm and the win was wrapped up when Purdy found Brandon Aiyuk down the middle for a 28-yard touchdown.

The ‘Niners move to 8-3 and lead the NFC West by two games from the 6-5 Seahawks.

San Francisco next face a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game when they take on conference leaders Philadelphia on December 3.

The holiday programme continues on Friday with the New York Jets hosting the Miami Dolphins.

– © AFP 2023

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel