Record-breaking game will help former Tylerite cash in
story courtesy of the Tyler Morning Telegraph By Phil Hicks - Sports Editor
On Sunday, Matt Flynn put up some big numbers — Green Bay Packers' franchise records of six touchdown passes and 480 yards in a single game.
Those are eye-popping statistics rarely seen in the National Football League.
In the offseason, the former Tylerite could see even more big numbers — as in dollar signs. Flynn was electrifying in Sunday's 45-41 victory over the Detroit Lions as he started in the place of quarterback Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.
NFL general managers already were aware of Flynn's abilities after he nearly led the Packers to a win over the New England Patriots during the 2010 season in Foxborough, Mass. His stock rose even higher on New Year's Day.
The former Robert E. Lee High School star who led LSU to the national championship four years ago hit on 31 of 44 pass attempts.
Four of Flynn's six TD passes were 35 yards or longer, including an 80-yard screen pass to Ryan Grant, which was the longest reception by a Green Bay running back in 45 years (Elijah Pitts, 80 yards, against the then Los Angeles Rams, Sept. 25, 1966). Donald Driver's 35-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter was his longest scoring play since December 2010, while tight end Jermichael Finley's game-winning 4-yard TD catch with 1:10 left was his career-high eighth touchdown of the season. Of course, Finley is another East Texan from just down the road in Diboll.
While Rodgers is the leader of the Pack, just think that Flynn did something that Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Rodgers have never accomplished.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy always has been a big booster of Flynn, and he was glad fans got to see his abilities.
"Well, it's clearly one of the best performances I've been a part of, no doubt about it," McCarthy said Sunday after the game. "I can't say enough about Matt Flynn. The whole world got to see what we see every day. He's a talented young man; he has full control of the offense and just the way he plays, he's very even-keeled. He had some bumps in the road, and just stayed the course. I thought those two throws he made in the two-minute drill were special. That's what you need as a young quarterback to build your success.
"If you look at his two starts for the Green Bay Packers, the New England game, did a lot of good things, it came down to a two-minute drill and then he went out there today after putting up big numbers and when it counted most, he was right on point. What a great performance by our football team and headed by Matt Flynn."
Trailing 41-38, Flynn led the Packers on an eight-play, 80-yard, game-winning touchdown drive. His game-winner was a 4-yard TD pass to Finley with just more than a minute to go in the game.
To quantify Flynn's historic game, he is only the fourth quarterback in NFL history to post more than 475 yards and six TDs in a game, joining legends Y.A. Tittle (Oct. 28, 1962), Joe Namath (Sept. 24, 1972) and Joe Montana (Oct. 14, 1990). Tittle is an East Texan who lives in Marshall and also played at LSU. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Flynn joined Dan Marino and Kurt Warner as the only NFL quarterbacks to throw three-plus TDs in each of their first two career starts (among quarterbacks whose careers started since 1970).
That's a nice group to be associated with. Flynn, who threw four TD passes in LSU's national championship 38-24 win over Ohio State in 2008, had not thought much about his performance before his teammates started congratulating.
"In the locker room, that's when I heard about it," Flynn said about the Green Bay records. "It's humbling. I'm honored to have the opportunity to do it and just think about all the great quarterbacks that have come through here. It's very humbling and I thank everybody around me and everything. I couldn't have done it, obviously, by myself, but there's weapons all around me and the line did a great job. It was just one of those games where it got to a shootout. We just kept matching each other so that's kind of why you saw the numbers that you did."
Fellow Texan Matt Stafford, the Detroit Lions quarterback, added, "I thought Flynn played a great game. Their guys were making plays all over the field and scoring points, so hats off to him, he played a great game."
Although Flynn is clearly focused on supporting Rodgers and doing what is necessary to help the Packers to their second-straight Super Bowl title, he assuredly can't help but think about the 2012 season.
With his performance against the Lions and the way he played against the New England Patriots a season ago, he is the hottest unrestricted free agent out there.
Did he think his outing against the Lions will enhance his future opportunities?
"I'm not sure what it's going to mean for me in the future, but we came out today to win the game," said Flynn, ever the team-player, told reporters after Sunday's game. "We came out to execute our game plan and that's what we did. A lot of the credit goes to the o-line. The receivers got open, they made plays and everyone kept fighting. We did what we wanted to accomplish and they did a nice job not hanging their heads. They kept answering them, so I'm very proud of the guys and hopefully this gives us a lot of momentum going forward."
There's a number of teams that will be waiting to sign the 26-year-old. According to FoxSports.com he makes $555,000 with the Packers. It will be seven or eight figures before next season.
Some of the first teams calling will be the Chiefs, Redskins, Seahawks, Broncos, Dolphins and Jaguars. And it could include the Browns and Titans. Everyone needs a standout QB.
But first, comes the playoffs. The Packers receive a bye in the first round and will play host to either Detroit, Atlanta or the New York Giants on Sunday. Jan. 15.
Will it be tough to go back to the bench as Rodgers takes over for the playoffs?
"Not at all," Flynn said. "We've got the best quarterback in the NFL as the starter here, so it's not hard at all. He's the heart and soul of this team and the leader of this team, so it's pretty easy to take a back seat and watch him play, and I'm excited to see what he does in the playoffs." Just in case, Flynn will be ready.
For area fans who would like to see Flynn in action, the NFL Network (Channel 146 on Tyler's Suddenlink Cable) will replay the game at 8:30 p.m. today.