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AP Story: Packers Edge Lions, 16-13


There are still two sure things in Green Bay: Ryan Longwell inside 40 yards and Brett Favre beating the Detroit Lions at home.

The Packers only led for 2 seconds, but that was enough to keep their stranglehold over the Lions, who haven't won in Wisconsin since 1991, the year before Favre's arrival.

Longwell's 23-yard field goal gave Green Bay a 16-13 victory against the Lions and lifted the Packers (8-5) into first place in the NFC North by a game over Minnesota, which lost at home to Seattle.

It was Longwell's third game-winner in five weeks and his 43rd consecutive conversion from 40 yards in.

"What can you say? I look down there, he gives me the thumbs-up," Packers coach Mike Sherman said. "I can't say I don't still say a few prayers when he's lining up to kick it. I do. But they're always answered."

Favre always has an answer for the Lions.

He led Green Bay back from a 13-0 halftime deficit with four scoring drives, including a 90-yarder into the flag-whipping wind for the Packers' only touchdown after Ahman Green's 79-yard TD catch was negated by a debatable holding call on rookie center Scott Wells.

Favre, who is 14-0 at home against the Lions, completed only 3 of 15 passes for 28 yards in the first half but he was an amazing 16-for-21 in the swirling winds for 160 yards and a touchdown in the second half.

"Even with no defense out there, it (would have been) difficult to complete passes," Favre said.

Snow flurries dampened the field into what Longwell called a "swampy mess" and swirling winds with gusts up to 35 mph wreaked havoc on passes, punts and long snaps and caused a slew of drops.

"There's never anything routine about a field goal here, and today there was nothing routine about an extra point," said Longwell, who slipped on the opening kickoff and left a three-foot skid mark on his game-tying, 28-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

"The wind was blowing harder than I've ever seen it here."

Lions rookie receiver Roy Williams said he thought he had a catch on the sideline once and as he went to cradle the ball "the wind took it like a Tim Wakefield knuckleball."

The Lions wasted a prime chance to get into the playoff picture in the muddled NFC, falling to 5-8.

Their quarterback, Joey Harrington, completed only 5 of 22 passes for 47 yards as the Lions relied on rookie running back Kevin Jones, who rushed 33 times for 156 yards and a touchdown.

The Packers hadn't held an opponent to so few completions since Oct. 29, 1978, against Tampa Bay.

"We haven't scored an offensive touchdown in the second half the last five weeks. That is just mind-boggling," Williams said. "We just aren't effective, it makes no sense."

Longwell's game-winner capped a 10-play, 37-yard drive after the Packers got the ball back at the Detroit 42 with 3:27 left and the wind at their backs.

The Packers had a terrible first half. Favre entered the game needing 28 yards to tie Dan Marino's NFL record of 13 consecutive 3,000-yard seasons, and he had exactly that amount at halftime.

Jason Hanson's 31-yard field goal was the only scoring either team managed in the first quarter.

Jones made it 10-0 when he deked safety Darren Sharper, slipped behind center Dominic Raiola and shook off Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila on his way to scoring the first rushing touchdown Green Bay had allowed in 22 quarters.

Hanson added a 36-yard field goal into the wind for a 13-0 halftime lead.

The game turned after a halftime tirade by Sherman.

Longwell's 36-yard field goal made it 13-3. After Green's 79-yard touchdown catch-and-run was negated by head linesman Paul Weidner's debatable holding call on Wells, the Packers were pushed back to their 13.

Favre then drove the Packers downfield against the wind, capping the drive with a 23-yard touchdown toss to Donald Driver that made it 13-10 late in the third quarter.

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