Week 17 of the 2011 NFL season will always be remembered as a legendary one for Packers fans. With the regular season winding down, the 14-1 Packers benched Aaron Rodgers to rest up for the playoffs. Green Bay’s opponent that week was the 10-6 Detroit Lions. That weekend, a quarterback wearing number ten would be under center. Not Jordan Love, but Matt Flynn.
I am particularly fond of this game because it also happened to be my very first visit to Green Bay and Lambeau Field. Few expected this game to be impactful, and nobody expected a career-defining performance to be made.
Matt Flynn: A Brief History
During his collegiate career at LSU, Matt Flynn played behind highly coveted prospect JaMarcus Russell. Come the 2007 season, Flynn finally got his shot as the starter. The Tigers started the year as the Associated Press’ number one and would spend the season shifting around the top five spots.
In the BCS National Championship, Flynn would lead the Tigers to a national title in a 38-24 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Packers selected Matt Flynn with the 209th pick, in the seventh round of the 2008 draft.
The Matt Flynn Game
As previously mentioned, the Packers were on a title defense run. Sitting at a 14-1 record, and the number one seed locked up, it would’ve been safe to take a loss in Week 17. Las Vegas had the Lions favored by a touchdown. Matt Flynn, however, had other plans. 3;3
The Packers won the toss and elected to receive.
- 14:22: Matt Flynn sacked by Sammie Lee Hill, fumbles
- 13:05: Matthew Stafford completes an eight yard touchdown pass to Titus Young. (7-0, Lions)
- 13:00: Pat Lee tackled in endzone on kickoff, leading to a safety (9-0, Lions)
- 5:58: Mason Crosby hits a 22 yard field goal (9-3, Lions)
- 0:21: Matt Flynn completes a seven yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson (9-10, Packers)
- 8:24: Matthew Stafford hits Calvin Johnson for a 13 yard touchdown (16-10, Lions)
- 8:13: Matt Flynn finds Ryan Grant short, turns into an 80 yard dash to the endzone (16-17, Packers)
- 5:57: Jason Hanson drives one 30 yards through the uprights (19-17, Lions)
- 3:43: Matt Flynn finds Jordy Nelson again, 36 yards and the TD (19-24, Packers)
- 6:44: Matthew Stafford finds Titus Young for a two yard TD (26-24, Lions)
- 4:41: Matt Flynn airs it out to Jordy Nelson deep, 58 yard touchdown (26-31, Packers)
- 2:13: Matthew Stafford completes to Kevin Smith for a 5 yard TD, converts the two-point conversion (34-31, Lions)
- 8:18: Matt Flynn connects with Donald Driver for a 35 yard touchdown (34-38, Packers)
- 2:44: Matthew Stafford find Tony Scheffler for a 12 yard touchdown (41-48, Lions)
- 1:10: Matt Flynn finds Jermichael Finley for a quick four yard TD (41-45, Packers)
31 completions on 44 attempts, six touchdowns, and 480 yards through the air with a passer rating of 136.4. One very happy young me. This was a game for the ages. For Matt Flynn, it would also give him a huge contract.
Two months after that game, Matt Flynn signed a three-year, twenty-million dollar contract (nine million guaranteed) with the Seattle Seahawks. He would find himself competing with Tavaris Jackson and Russell Wilson for the starting job.
This game has its place in my heart as one of my favorite NFL games ever, not just because it was my first game, but because of the sheer absurdity of the passing numbers.
So, Matt Flynn, if you read this, thank you for making my first visit to Lambeau a magical one!