Notebook: Rookies Make Early Impact

DETROIT - After a season-opening victory in which the Packers’ 2008 rookie class had little to no impact, two of the team’s first-year crew made its presence felt early in Week 2 at Detroit. Non-drafted running back Kregg Lumpkin and second-round wide receiver Jordy Nelson combined for 70 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown Sunday in the Packers’ 48-25 victory at Ford Field. - More Packers-Lions Game Center


DETROIT - After a season-opening victory in which the Packers' 2008 rookie class had little to no impact, two of the team's first-year crew made its presence felt early in Week 2 at Detroit.

Non-drafted running back Kregg Lumpkin and second-round wide receiver Jordy Nelson combined for 70 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown Sunday in the Packers' 48-25 victory over Detroit at Ford Field.

With running back Ryan Grant still being cautious with his hamstring and Brandon Jackson coming back from a minor concussion, Lumpkin started by contributing to the Packers' first touchdown drive in the first quarter.

After catching a short pass for a modest 2-yard gain, Lumpkin had his number called on second-and-3 from the Detroit 29. He burst through a hole on the left side of the line and muscled his way for 19 yards, setting up a first-and-goal that eventually became a 9-yard TD pass to James Jones.

On Green Bay's next drive, one play after a 62-yard pass to Greg Jennings, Lumpkin set up another first-and-goal with a 12-yard gain on a screen pass, moving the ball to the Detroit 8. Three plays later, the Packers were in the end zone again on a 2-yard TD pass to Donald Driver.

Then it was the top draft pick's turn, as Nelson made his first NFL catch a memorable one. With the Packers facing third-and-1 from the Detroit 29, Nelson ran by two Detroit defenders and Aaron Rodgers lofted the ball perfectly over Nelson's shoulder for the making-it-look-easy score.

"It was just a slant-and-go," Nelson said. "It was press coverage, so we gave a little nod, and Aaron put it out good and they bit on it. It worked well, and it was good to get the first one."

That's Nelson's only catch in the first two games of his career, and in all Lumpkin finished the game with the one carry for 19 yards and three receptions for 22 more. But the two promising prospects are just hoping to chip in whenever they can.

"Hopefully it's just a start and we'll keep working hard and keep getting better," Nelson said.

Measure of redemption

Jackson should have made a big play one possession before, but the second-year back made up for it moments later.

With the Packers trailing 25-24 in the fourth quarter and facing third-and-8 from the Detroit 21-yard line, Rodgers scrambled to his right and found Jackson all alone coming across the field inside the Detroit 10. But a leaping Jackson couldn't haul in the catchable pass, and the Packers had to settle for a go-ahead field goal.

On the next possession, however, Jackson made his big plays. Right after Charles Woodson got the first of his two interceptions, Jackson rambled up the middle for 12 yards and then, three snaps later, ran one around right end for 19 yards and a touchdown.

Strangely enough, it was Jackson who ended up Green Bay's leading rusher with 61 yards on seven carries. While the Lions seemed to be primed to stop Grant on the ground, holding him to just 20 yards on 15 rushes, Jackson and Lumpkin were getting holes Grant wasn't. The two younger backs combined to average 10 yards per attempt on eight carries.

"I'll give it to their front line, they did a good job of slicing in between, moving around and using their quickness against our line," said Grant, who added that his hamstring felt less sore after Sunday's game than it did following Monday's season opener. "It's going to be like that some days. It's going to be tight, it's going to be tough yards, but that opened things up for Aaron and the other guys.

"It's a team effort."

Sack attack

Detroit quarterback Jon Kitna is known for getting sacked regularly, and Sunday was no different. With almost no blitzing on the part of the defense, the Packers recorded five sacks in the game for 20 lost yards.

{sportsad300}Linebacker A.J. Hawk had the first two-sack game of his career, while Aaron Kampman added 1 1/2 sacks, Cullen Jenkins had one and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila shared one with Kampman.

Of the five sacks, the biggest one may have been Hawk's second, midway through the third quarter. The Packers had just fumbled when Rodgers got the ball stripped from behind, and the Lions had the ball at the Green Bay 30. But Hawk sacked Kitna on second down, leaping over running back Kevin Smith's diving block attempt, forcing the Lions to settle for a field goal and keeping the Packers ahead 21-9 at the time.

The five sacks tied Green Bay's season high from a year ago, when the Packers posted five sacks at Kansas City.

Injury update

Fullback and special teams ace Korey Hall injured his knee in the first quarter and did not return to the game.

Safety Atari Bigby left the game with cramps late in the second quarter after running through the back of the end zone to try to break up a pass intended for Mike Furrey. He was replaced by second-year man Aaron Rouse in the second half.

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