The Green Bay Packers crushed the New England Patriots 45-3 in a game of firsts. For quarterback Don Majkowski, it was his first win as a starting quarterback in the NFL. For head coach Lindy Infante, it was his first win after a disappointing 0-5 start to the season. There was also a big scare in the game and five Packers interceptions.

Packers Crush the Patriots in a Game of Firsts: The Leadup to the Game

Infante took over as head coach of the Packers in 1988 after Forrest Gregg resigned to take over at his alma mater, SMU. So far, the team struggled, losing all five games by a combined score of 122-64. In addition, they would be without starting quarterback Randy Wright who was hurt in last week’s loss in Tampa Bay. Majkowski would get the start in his place.

Things were getting tense in Green Bay as the team struggled. The Patriots entered the game with a 2-3 record. They turned to former Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie to start this game, making his first start of the season after taking over for veteran Steve Grogan a week ago.

Things weren’t looking up as the Packers headed to Milwaukee County Stadium for this game.

Packers Crush the Patriots in a Game of Firsts: The First Half

The Patriots broke out on top, scoring the only points of the first quarter. Kicker Teddy Garcia booted a 43-yard field goal to give New England a 3-0 lead after an 11-play, 56-yard drive. The Patriots would not score again in this game.

The Packers managed to tie the game in the second quarter. An interception by Mark Murphy gave the Packers the ball at the New England 21. The drive stalled and Max Zendejas hit a field goal from 25 yards out to even the score at 3-3.

Late in the second quarter, the Packers took the lead. Majkowski led the team on a 10-play, 75-yard drive that he capped on a two-yard run by the young quarterback that made it 10-3.

Then, cornerback Ron Pitts intercepted Flutie after running back Craig James fell down. Majkowski found backup tight end Joey Hackett on a two-yard scoring play with time running out before the half and the Packers led 17-3 at the break.

The Big Scare

The Packers extended their lead to 24-3 when running back Brent Fullwood scored on a 33-yard run. Fullwood finished the game with 118 yards and 14 carries and three rushing touchdowns. As a team, the Packers finished with 207 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns.

“We just ran right at them, ducking and dodging,” Fullwood said after the game. “I ain’t going to let anybody run me down from behind. Hey, I just run.”

Then, the game’s big scare came. Grogan replaced the struggling Flutie. Pitts made his second interception of the game. During the return, Patriots wide receiver Stanley Morgan was blocked by Packers safety Chuck Cecil and knocked out cold. He lay motionless on the field for more than five minutes while the game was delayed.

“It was a good, clean hit,” Cecil said after the game when he learned of Morgan’s condition. “But clean or not, if he were paralyzed or incapacitated . . . what a big load to carry that around for life. I didn’t feel like playing anymore, but the game has to go on.”

Patriots head coach Raymond Berry was also frightened by the incident. “Anybody who saw him fall knew this was something different,” Berry said. “He didn’t move a single bit.”

Ironically, former Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley was in attendance. Stingley was paralyzed on a controversial hit by Jack Tatum of the Raiders in a preseason game a decade earlier.

 Packers Crush the Patriots in a Game of Firsts: The Finishing Touches

The Packers poured it on in the fourth quarter. Fullwood scored two more touchdowns, one from seven yards out and the second from 31.

Then, running back Kenneth Davis closed out the scoring with an eight-yard touchdown dash which made the final score 45-3 Green Bay. That gave the Packers five rushing touchdowns for the game, one by Majkowski, three by Fullwood and one by Davis.

Majik finished the game by completing 18-of-26 passes for 210 yards. He completed passes to nine different receivers, but nobody had more than three catches on the day. Tight end Ed West led the Packers with 63 receiving yards on three receptions.

The Aftermath

The win was satisfying for Infante who joked with reporters after the game. “This is a very unfamiliar position for me. What do you do after one of these? I don’t know. The way this team kept its spirits up, we felt like it would be a matter of time before all the pieces began to fit in.”

This was the most points the Packers had scored in a game since 1984 when they scored 45 on the Vikings. It was their most one-sided win since 1967 when they crushed the Cleveland Browns 55-7 in Vince Lombardi’s final season as head coach.

Unfortunately, the team struggled to a 4-12 mark in 1988. The following season, they shocked the NFL as Majkowski led the club to a 10-6 season.

But for this one day, Infante’s team found their groove and dominated the Patriots.



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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