EditorsNote: 6th graf, change 37-yard to 35-yard
The Green Bay Packers overcame a 13-0 deficit on the scoreboard and a 3-0 deficit in turnovers to earn an improbable 23-22 victory over the visiting Detroit Lions on Monday night at Lambeau Field.
With first place on the line in the rugged NFC North, Aaron Rodgers hit bottom-of-the-depth-chart receiver Allen Lazard for a touchdown to close within 22-20, then completed three more passes to Lazard to set up Mason Crosby for a game-winning 23-yard field goal as time expired.
Green Bay improved to 5-1 while Detroit fell to 2-2-1.
The Packers were guilty of three turnovers, seemingly none bigger than their third. Trailing 19-13 early in the fourth quarter, Green Bay faced a third-and-7 from the Lions’ 12 when Rodgers fired a pass to receiver Darrius Shepherd for what should have been a first down at the 2. Instead, Shepherd slipped, the ball hit him in the helmet and cornerback Justin Coleman intercepted the ball and ran it back 55 yards to Green Bay’s 43.
Four plays later, Matt Prater’s fifth field goal of the night, a 54-yarder, extended the lead to 22-13.
For a Packers offense playing without star receiver Davante Adams (inactive, toe) and fellow receiver Geronimo Allison (chest injury and potential concussion early in third quarter), the hill seemed too steep. Instead, Rodgers fired a 35-yard touchdown pass to Lazard — he had one career catch and none this season — to pull Green Bay within two.
The Packers then got a badly needed stop, with safety Will Redmond and cornerback Jaire Alexander breaking up passes to Marvin Jones on consecutive plays.
That gave the Packers one last shot, starting at their 18 with 6:46 to play following a punt. Rodgers marched the Packers methodically into scoring position with a drive highlighted by the three completions to Lazard and a 12-yard Rodgers scramble for a first down at midfield.
The Packers were fortunate to trail only 13-10 at halftime.
Just about everything imaginable went in the Lions’ favor to start the game.
On the first play, Matthew Stafford hit receiver Kenny Golladay for a gain of 66 yards on a flea-flicker. A first-down fumble, however, ultimately forced them to settle for a 26-yard field goal.
On the first play of Detroit’s second drive, Stafford went deep to Marvin Hall for a gain of 58. That set up Kerryon Johnson’s 1-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal.
Packers running back Aaron Jones, the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for four touchdowns at Dallas last week, fumbled on the ensuing possession. A 20-yard screen to Johnson gave the Lions a first-and-goal at the 8, but again Detroit settled for a Prater field goal, this one from 22 yards. That gave Detroit a 13-0 lead just 16:32 into the game.
Green Bay, however, turned the tide. It survived two offensive holding penalties and dropped would-be touchdown receptions by Jones and tight end Jimmy Graham on the ensuing drive to get a Jamaal Williams’ 5-yard touchdown reception. The Lions were flagged for having 12 men on the field on a fourth-and-5 field-goal attempt to keep the Packers’ drive alive, as well.
Then just before halftime, Mason Crosby hit a 37-yard field goal to make it 13-10.
The Packers tied the game at 13-13 on a Crosby 48-yard field goal on the first drive of the second half then forced a three-and-out on the Lions’ next possession. But Shepherd muffed the punt to set up the Lions for a go-ahead field goal.
—Field Level Media