Lions take advantage of mistakes in 31-23 win over Packers

Oct. 8, 2018

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is sacked by Detroit Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Detroit.

DETROIT    The Detroit Lions took advantage of some mistakes they forced Green Bay to make and were fortunate some breaks simply went their way.

Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes and LeGarrette Blount ran for two scores, lifting the Lions to a 31-23 win over the Packers on Sunday.

Detroit (2-3) earned a win it desperately needed under first-year coach Matt Patricia, going into its bye week.

"We get two weeks to 10 days to sit on whatever happens," said Stafford, who was 14 of 26 for 183 yards with two TDs and no turnovers. "And, it feels a whole lot better with a win."

Green Bay (2-2-1) was doomed because veteran Mason Crosby had the worst game of his life and two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers lost two fumbles for just the third time in his 14-year career.

"We just couldn't overcome all the things we did wrong," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We did some good things in the second half, but you can't dig yourself that kind of hole."

Crosby missed a career-high four field goals in one game and failed to make an extra point to boot. He connected on a field goal with 2 seconds left, but that wasn't of much consolation after his poor performance.

"I look back and I'm thinking, in my childhood, in high school, this is definitely one of the worst ones," said Crosby, the first NFL kicker to miss four field goals in a game since 2010.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones (11), defended by Green Bay Packers cornerback
Kevin King (20), catches an 8-yard pass for a touchdown during the first half.

Detroit recovered an onside kick to seal the win, preventing Rodgers from getting another chance at a game-winning Hail Mary in Detroit like the one he threw in 2015.

The Lions built a big lead in the first half, picking up where they left off in their last home game, a 16-point win over the New England Patriots.

Blount had a pair of 1-yard TD runs in the first quarter and Stafford's 8-yard pass to Marvin Jones late in the second quarter put Detroit up 24-0.

Patricia, though, didn't think the Lions' cushion was comfortable.

"Unfortunately, I've seen that quarterback on the other side there crush a lot of leads pretty quickly and come back," said Patricia, a former Patriots defensive coordinator.

Rodgers, missing injured receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison, threw short TDs to rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Lance Kendricks in the third to pull the Packers within 10 points.

Stafford answered with a 5-yard TD pass to Kenny Golladay early in the fourth quarter to give Detroit a 31-14 lead.

"It was big to chew up some time to give our defense a little bit of a rest and come away with some points," Stafford said.

Rodgers connected with Davante Adams on a 12-yard throw for a third TD pass, but Crosby hit the left upright on the extra point to let the Lions keep an 11-point lead midway through the fourth quarter. Adams has scored in 10 straight road games, equaling a league record set by Tommy McDonald of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1959 to 1961.

Rodgers was 32 of 52 for 442 yards the second-highest total of his career with three TD passes.

"We've been a one-half team all year," he said. "We need to do something about that."

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, left, and Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia meet on the field after an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Detroit.


The Lions, who didn't face Rodgers last year, have won three straight in the series for the first time the 1990-91 seasons.


Detroit had success on defense, going after Rodgers with just four players and dropping seven into coverage. Rodgers held onto the ball to wait for receivers to get open, but they couldn't, and it led to three sacks and his two fumbles.

"They gave up rushers in order to extend plays, and they got some turnovers out of it," McCarthy said. "We're usually successful in those situations, but they did some good things."


Packers: LB Nick Perry (ankle) and CB Kevin King (chin) were hurt during the game.

Lions: RB Kerryon Johnson, who ran for 70 yards on 12 carries, went out in the fourth quarter after appearing to hurt his right ankle. CB Teez Tabor (groin) and CB Jamal Agnew (knee) also left the game with injuries.


Packers: Host San Francisco on Monday, Oct. 15.

Lions: Off until playing at Miami on Oct. 21.

Crosby stunned by kicking woes

DETROIT  Mason Crosby didn't have any excuses Sunday afternoon.

The Green Bay Packers kicker, who had never missed three field goals in a game despite spending 12 seasons at Lambeau Field, missed four and an extra point in a 31-23 loss to the Detroit Lions.

"I don't usually get this much attention unless I've done something really good or really bad," Crosby told a crowd of reporters after the game. "This one is unfortunately really bad."

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby reacts after missing his third field goal of the day during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Detroit.

He got a small amount of redemption by making a 41-yard field goal with 2 seconds left, but his onside kick bounced directly to Detroit's Marvin Jones.

"This hurts a bunch," he said. "I left a bunch of points on the field for this team, and I'm disappointed. This was something I've never been a part of before and I hope to never be a part of it again."

To make things even stranger, the game was played indoors at Ford Field, a kicker's paradise.

"This is obviously uncharted territory," he said. "It's not good that I was inside and felt great, and then this happened."

In his 181st NFL game, he was wide left on a 41-yarder late in the first quarter; hit the right upright from 42 yards early in the second quarter; and missed wide right on a 38-yard attempt with 3:38 left in the first half.

In the second half, he missed a 56-yarder and an extra point.

None of that was enough to worry his most important teammate.

"Mason and I have played together for a long time, and I strongly believe he's one of the greatest kickers of all time," Aaron Rodgers said. "He and Robbie Gould have mastered kicking in the elements. He had a bad day today, but we still believe in him 100 percent."

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (2) walks off the field after missing his fourth field goal,
during the second half.

Crosby is working with a rookie long snapper in Hunter Bradley and a rookie holder in JK Scott, but they didn't appear to be at fault on any of the kicks. The 34-year-old kicker came into the game having made 10 of 11 field goals this season, with the only miss coming outdoors from 52 yards.

"I have to look at this, look at every facet of it, and then flush it," he said. "It was one of those days where it just wasn't there, but I've never had a day like that before."

After the terrible first half, Crosby had to wait for his next opportunity. The Packers scored a touchdown on their first drive of the second half, but successfully went for 2 to make it 24-8.

The Packers had their next chance to kick a field goal late in the third quarter when they faced fourth-and-4 from the Lions 30. Crosby jogged onto the field, but the Packers decided to go for it. Rodgers scrambled for the first down, setting up Green Bay's second touchdown.

If Crosby had made the three medium-range field goals in the first half, the Packers could have been within 24-23 instead of trailing 24-14. The missed kicks meant Matthew Stafford's touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter gave the Lions a commanding 31-14 lead.

"We're going to take a long look at what happened," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We're going to be better next Monday against San Francisco."

Rodgers answered with his third touchdown pass of the half to make it 31-20, but Crosby's extra point hit the outside of the left upright and bounced harmlessly wide.

Needing two scores to tie, the Packers elected for a 56-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-15 with 3:20 to play. Crosby's low kick slid to the right for his fifth miss of the day.

He finally made his last attempt, ending the day with a little hope.

"I obviously needed to hit that one," he said. "We'll take that and move forward with it."


Associated Press