Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The Green Bay Packers beat the Detroit Lions 27-15 to lift their record to 11-0, the best start in the franchise’s 91-year National Football League history.
In other NFL games on the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, the Dallas Cowboys beat the Miami Dolphins 20-19 as Dan Bailey kicked the winning 28-yard field goal as time expired, while the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 16-6.
The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns at Ford Field in Detroit yesterday as the Packers joined the 1998 Denver Broncos as the second defending Super Bowl champion to win its first 11 games.
“This is a great place to be in,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said in news conference comments on the Packers website. “We feel good about ourselves.”
The Packers are the first undefeated NFL team to win on Thanksgiving since the Chicago Bears in 1934.
Green Bay has now won 17 consecutive games, including the playoffs, the longest streak in team history. The Lions fell to 7-4 and into third place in the National Football Conference’s North Division behind Green Bay and Chicago.
It was the 20th Thanksgiving meeting between the Packers and Lions, the most matchups between any two teams on the holiday. Green Bay has won 11 of the past 12 games between the division rivals and avenged a 7-3 loss to Detroit in their previous meeting, on Dec. 12 of last season.
The Packers took advantage of three interceptions by Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Green Bay led 7-0 at the half, after a three-yard pass from Rodgers to Greg Jennings.
With the score still 7-0 in the third quarter, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was ejected after kicking a Packers lineman. Green Bay went on to score two touchdowns and a field goal in the quarter to pull away.
Detroit scored early in the fourth quarter on Keiland Williams’s 16-yard run and Stafford passed to Titus Young for the two-point conversion. The Packers used a 10-play, 5-minute, 42-second drive to eat up most of the fourth quarter, and capped it with a 32-yard field goal by Mason Crosby.
Calvin Johnson caught a 3-yard pass with 16 seconds left and Jason Hanson kicked the extra point to close the scoring.
In Arlington, Texas, the Cowboys extended their winning streak to four games with their one-point win over Miami.
Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes to Laurent Robinson at Cowboys Stadium as Dallas improved to 7-4 and moved a half-game ahead of the New York Giants in the NFC East. The Giants visit the New Orleans Saints in the Monday night game.
19-2 in November
Romo, the Cowboys’ quarterback, is now 19-2 in his career as a starter during the month of November, including a 5-0 mark in Thanksgiving games.
“Winning makes it very enjoyable to go have some turkey and hang out and tell stories and spend time with family,” Romo said in a news conference.
Shayne Graham kicked four field goals for the Dolphins, who had a three-game winning streak halted to fall to 3-8 on the season. Miami had opened with seven straight losses before winning three games in a row.
In Baltimore, John Harbaugh’s Ravens beat younger brother Jim’s 49ers to snap the NFL’s second-longest winning streak at eight games. It was the first meeting between head coach brothers in NFL history.
Baltimore broke a 6-6 tie in the fourth quarter with a 16- play drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Dennis Pitta with 14:56 remaining. Billy Cundiff’s 39- yard field goal put the Ravens 10 points ahead.
The Ravens sacked 49ers quarterback Alex Smith nine times on their way to improving to 8-3 -- the best record in the American Football Conference -- and remain unbeaten in six games at home this season. Baltimore moves a half-game ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers atop the AFC North Division.
The 49ers fell to 9-2 in Jim Harbaugh’s first season as an NFL coach. They had a chance to clinch the NFC’s West Division title this week with a win and a Seattle Seahawks’ home loss on Nov. 27 against the Washington Redskins.
--Editors: Michael Sillup, Dan Baynes
To contact the reporters on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org; Christopher Elser in London at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at firstname.lastname@example.org