Packers' Jay Elliott celebrates a tackle for a loss during the
first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions
Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The timing is
back for quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the rest of Green Bay's
The Packers' pass defense might need a little work, though.
Rodgers threw for 205 yards and four touchdowns, including two in
the first half to Jordy Nelson, and the Packers snapped out of their
offensive funk before holding off the Detroit Lions for a 34-27 win
Rodgers was 15 of 24, leading the Packers to touchdowns on their
first three series. Nelson had 101 yards on six catches, returning
to the form that made him one of the NFL's best receivers before
missing the 2015 season with a knee injury.
"Just got on the same page. Hitting Jordy for some big plays helps,"
Rodgers said. "Jordy and I connected. Whenever we're doing that, it
kind of opens other things up for the offense."
They moved the ball on the Lions' short-handed defense with ease in
the first half. The Packers (2-1) led 31-10 at halftime before the
Lions slowly chipped away.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws a touchdown pass to
Jordy Nelson (87) during the first half.
Marvin Jones' 35-yard touchdown catch
with 3:34 left got Detroit (1-2) within seven. But Rodgers had a
critical 11-yard run on third-and-8 from the Packers 27 with 3:22
left to effectively seal the win.
Jones had a career-high 205 yards on six receptions. Matthew
Stafford passed for 385 yards and three scores for the Lions, who
held advantages in total yardage (418-324) and time of possession,
holding the ball for 35 minutes.
But the Packers burned the secondary with big plays to build a big
lead, and Eddie Lacy ran for 103 yards on 17 carries.
"Obviously it was a difficult situation. We put ourselves in that
situation. On offense, we didn't score enough points in the in the
first half," Stafford said. "I'm proud of the guys for fighting
Lions' Marvin Jones (11) gets past Green Bay Packers' Josh
Hawkins (28) for a touchdown catch during the first half.
PACK IS BACK
So much for the fuss over the Packers' struggling offense.
Coach Mike McCarthy and Rodgers heard questions about the
out-of-sync passing game following the 17-14 loss last week to
Now the Packers head into an early bye week with renewed confidence
after a successful opener at Lambeau Field.
"Offensively the focus was to be a good, healthy mix of run and
pass, so we accomplished that today," McCarthy said.
The Lions gained chunks of yardage in the second half after being
forced to play catch-up following Green Bay's big early lead. The
Packers' defense was also missing four starters, including
linebacker Clay Matthews.
Stafford found holes over the middle of the field. He connected with
Jones for a 23-yard completion on the first play from scrimmage in
the second half to the Detroit 46.
The Packers allowed Detroit to convert on eight of 14 third-down
tries, a problem that McCarthy planned to focus on during the bye
But Green Bay's staunch run defense had another big day, albeit
against a Lions offense playing without injured tailback Ameer
Abdullah. Detroit managed just 50 yards on 23 carries, with a
team-high 38 yards on 10 carries by Dwayne Washington.
The Packers also played without nose tackle Letroy Guion, safety
Morgan Burnett and defensive lineman-linebacker Datone Jones, who
were all out with injuries.
Jones gave the Lions a boost going into halftime with a 73-yard
touchdown pass from Stafford to get Detroit within 31-10. He
stiff-armed cornerback Josh Hawkins before sprinting untouched 45
yards into the end zone.
"I feel like what we did in the second half was to be commended, but
obviously we didn't get it done," Jones said. "The first half, we
didn't play up to our standards and we came back and we fought, but
we ran out of time and it wasn't enough."
WORKING THE MIDDLE
The Packers' offense accomplished two of McCarthy's bigger goals for
this week: Receivers worked the middle of the field, and Lacy got
more carries in the running game.
Nelson was lined up in the slot on his 8-yard touchdown catch in the
first quarter, when Rodgers pump-faked, then stepped up in the
pocket to find Nelson.
Lacy looked rejuvenated as he bounced off defenders for a 23-yard
run in the second quarter.
Lions: S Tavon Wilson left in the first quarter with a neck injury.
It was another blow for a defense already without lineman Ezekiel
Ansah and linebacker DeAndre Levy.
Packers: TE Jared Cook went to the locker room with a right ankle
injury after getting tangled up with a defender at 11:35 of the
second quarter. ... FB Aaron Ripkowski did not return after going to
the locker room near the end of the second quarter with a back