DETROIT – The Packers’ second-half rally came up short on Sunday at Ford Field, as the Lions topped Green Bay, 31-23.
With the loss, the Packers fell to 2-2-1 through five games, while the Lions improved to 2-3.
A slew of mistakes on special teams – most notably a total of five missed kicks by K Mason Crosby (four field goals, one extra point), but there were penalties and other gaffes, too – both put the Packers in a big hole and hindered their comeback effort. Green Bay trailed 24-0 at halftime but never got back within one score.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford was 14-of-26 for 183 yards and two TDs for a 101.9 passer rating. WR Kenny Golladay was his top target with four catches for 98 yards and a score. Rookie RB Kerryon Johnson rushed 12 times for 70 yards for Detroit.
For the Packers, QB Aaron Rodgers was 32-of-52 for 442 yards and three TDs for a 108.0 rating, but he fumbled twice on sacks that led to Lions points.
WR Davante Adams led the way with nine catches for 140 yards and a score, while rookie WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling had seven grabs for 68 yards and his first NFL TD. TE Jimmy Graham added five catches for 71 yards, and rookie WR Equanimeous St. Brown had three catches for 89 yards. Packers RBs Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery combined for 88 yards on the ground.
Here’s a recap of all the action:
Packers trail 14-0 after one
The Lions got the ball first and got going on a 16-yard run by RB Kerryon Johnson. RB LeGarrette Blount converted on third-and-1, but on the next third down, an illegal-hands-to-the-face penalty wiped out a 46-yard TD pass to WR Kenny Golladay. Packers DL Kenny Clark was injured on the play but walked off under his own power.
The Lions eventually punted. It was initially ruled the bounding punt hit Packers CB Kevin King in the back, and the Lions recovered on the Green Bay 1-yard line. A replay review did not overturn the call, and Blount plowed it in on first down for the score.
The Packers had a long kickoff return by RB Ty Montgomery wiped out by a holding penalty on S Josh Jones. They got their opening first down as rookie WR Equanimeous St. Brown drew a third-down pass interference penalty on a deep shot, and then QB Aaron Rodgers scrambled for 5 yards on third-and-4 to move the chains again.
A 17-yard pass to St. Brown overcame an illegal formation penalty, and consecutive 7-yard passes to TE Lance Kendricks and RB Aaron Jones put the Packers on the Detroit 26. But the drive stalled there, and K Mason Crosby missed a 41-yard field goal wide left, keeping the Packers scoreless.
On the second play of their ensuing possession, the Lions went deep to Golladay, who hauled in QB Matthew Stafford’s pass, jumping over CB Josh Jackson. The 60-yard gain put the ball on the Green Bay 5, and Blount ran twice to finish the drive with another touchdown. The Lions led, 14-0, with 1:06 left in the opening quarter.
Detroit got the ball right back on third down for the Packers, as a scrambling Rodgers was caught from behind by DE Romeo Okwara, who stripped the ball. The Lions recovered at the Green Bay 22.
Packers' halftime deficit is 24-0
The Lions did nothing with the beneficial field position, and K Matt Prater kicked a 39-yard field goal to make it 17-0 just 12 seconds into the second quarter.
A 14-yard pass to WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling got the Packers going, and Jones followed with runs of 8, 18, 5 and 6 yards for a first down at the Detroit 24. Three straight incompletions brought on Crosby, who hit the right upright from 42 yards out, and the Packers still remained scoreless.
A sack on first down didn’t help the Packers, as Stafford promptly hit Golladay for 18 yards and a first down. A second-down sack by S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix did lead to a stop, though, and the Lions punted the Packers back to their own 12-yard line.
A 24-yard pass to TE Jimmy Graham got the Packers out of the hole, and a 22-yard completion to WR Davante Adams got the ball across midfield. On third-and-7, Rodgers hit Adams for 30 yards to the Detroit 9. RB Jamaal Williams ran it to the 4, but two incomplete passes – the second an intentional grounding call on Rodgers for not getting the throw to the line of scrimmage when he escaped the pocket – brought on Crosby. The veteran kicker missed his third field goal of the half, this time wide right from 38 yards out.
The Lions converted on third-and-6 with an 11-yard pass to WR Golden Tate just before the two-minute warning. The Packers stopped them there, and the Lions punted Green Bay back to its own 15 with 1:30 left in the half.
A pass to Graham picked up 11, and one to Valdes-Scantling was good for 9, getting out of bounds with 1:01 to go. But Rodgers was strip-sacked again, this time by DL Da’Shawn Hand, who recovered the fumble at the Green Bay 29 with 53 seconds left.
A pass to Golladay and a facemask penalty made it first-and-goal on the 7. On third down, Stafford found Marvin Jones Jr. for an 8-yard TD, and the Lions pushed their lead to 24-0.
Packers rallying, down 24-14 after three
The Packers started the second half with passes of 14 yards to Graham and 23 yards to Adams. But Rodgers was sacked on back-to-back plays by LB Devon Kennard and Okwara for a total loss of 13 yards. A 12-yard pass to Valdes-Scantling made it fourth-and-11, and the Packers converted on a diving 17-yard grab by Adams at the Detroit 22.
A 12-yard pass to Graham made it first-and-goal on the 10. A screen to Williams moved the ball to the 3, and off play-action, Valdes-Scantling was wide open for the TD to finally get the Packers on the board. Rodgers found Williams for the two-point conversion to make it 24-8 with 9:40 left in the third.
The Packers appeared to have a three-and-out when Stafford’s third-down pass was incomplete, but rookie CB Tony Brown was flagged for taunting after the play, giving the Lions 15 yards and a first down. Johnson took a screen pass 12 yards for another first down. An offensive pass interference penalty on Jones wiped out his own third-down reception, and the Packers eventually got the stop.
Prater missed badly on a 55-yard field goal try, and the Packers took over in good field position at their own 45.
A 21-yard pass to Adams got the Packers moving again, and a 6-yard grab by Adams set up fourth-and-4 from the Detroit 30. Rodgers converted with a QB draw to the 24, and a 9-yard pass to Valdes-Scantling moved the chains again. From the 13, Rodgers found Valdes-Scantling near the goal line, and he tried to dive across for the score. It was initially ruled a touchdown, but the automatic review showed him down shy of the goal line, making it first-and-goal inside the 1.
Off play-action, Rodgers hit Kendricks for the touchdown, but the two-point pass was incomplete, making it 24-14 with 1:14 left in the third.
The Lions got across midfield in one play, as Tate gained 13 on a reception and Jackson was flagged for a facemask. A run by Johnson and offside penalty on the Packers made it second-and-1 from the Green Bay 38. The Packers stacked up Blount on the final play of the quarter, setting up third-and-short.
Packers' comeback in Detroit falls short, 31-23
Blount ran for 6 and a first down on the opening play of the fourth. Johnson then ran for 24 yards around left end to make it first-and-goal on the 8. Two plays later, Stafford hit Golladay for a 5-yard TD, and the Lions were back up by three scores, 31-14, with 12:55 to go.
Rodgers hit Adams for 8, St. Brown for 18 and Graham for 10 in succession before Williams ran for 11 and a first down at the Detroit 28. Williams ran for 4 more and then caught a swing pass for 12 to the Detroit 12. On second down, Rodgers found Adams for the TD, but Crosby’s PAT hit the left upright, and the Packers trailed, 31-20, with 9:01 left.
Two offensive penalties on the Lions backed them up and led to a punt from inside their own 20. A penalty on the punt return put the Packers on their own 25 to start.
A 23-yard catch-and-run by Montgomery got the Packers moving, and a 9-yard completion to Valdes-Scantling got the ball across midfield. Montgomery ran for 10 to the Detroit 33 and a first down. A diving catch by Adams inside the 5 was overturned by a Detroit replay challenge, and the Packers were called for an illegal shift when hurrying up on third-and-10, wiping out a completion to Graham.
On third-and-15, Rodgers’ arm was hit from behind, and the pass fell incomplete, and the Packers brought on Crosby to try from 56 yards out. He missed yet again, wide right, and the Lions took over with 3:35 left.
The Packers got the ball back in the final minute, and a 54-yard catch-and-run by St. Brown led to a 41-yard field goal by Crosby, who made one after five misses on the day. It was with 2 seconds left, and the Lions recovered the onside kick.