Jones, defense help Packers beat Lions 22-9

October 7, 2013

 

Green Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson catches a pass in front of Detroit Lions' Glover Quin during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis.

GREEN BAY, Wis.  James Jones wouldn't be denied a Lambeau leap after a long touchdown catch.

So when a Lions fan sitting in enemy territory, no less pushed him out of the stands, the Packers receiver tried to make the traditional celebratory jump one more time. Success.

His 83-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter was just the big-play spark the Packers needed to liven up an offense that otherwise settled for field goals in a 22-9 win Sunday over the undermanned Detroit Lions.

"Yeah, man, a Detroit Lion fan pushed me out of there one time," Jones said. "I had to double jump."

Mason Crosby kicked five field goals. The defense contained Reggie Bush and took advantage of an offense playing without star receiver Calvin Johnson, who had missed a couple days of practice last week with a knee injury.

With Megatron out, Jones stole the show with a highlight-reel catch.

Jones had a step on his man down the left sideline, and Aaron Rodgers delivered a perfectly timed throw. With another defensive back closing in around the 15, Jones turned right about 45 degrees to get into the end zone for a 16-3 lead with 3:12 left in the third quarter.

He took a bow while dancing on his heels. He's glad he didn't get caught.

"I was hoping, because I never would've heard the end of it from everybody in here," said Jones, who finished with four catches for 127 yards and barely missed another long score after his foot grazed the sideline in the end zone.

The Packers (2-2) extended their winning streak in Wisconsin over the Lions (3-2) to 23.

Rodgers was 20 for 30 for 274 yards, and Eddie Lacy ran for 99 yards on 23 carries in his return from a concussion.

Randall Cobb set up Crosby's 31-yard field goal in the third quarter with a 67-yard dash into Lions territory after lining up in the backfield. Crosby also was good from 26 and 52 yards in the first half and added makes from 42 and 45 in the fourth quarter.

Green Bay Packers' James Jones breaks away from Detroit Lions' Chris Houston (23) for an 83-yard touchdown catch during the second half.

For a change, defense set the pace for Green Bay before the offense caught up.

The Packers recorded five sacks, all from their linebackers, including one from Clay Matthews before he left with a thumb injury.

"We didn't get it done well enough today offense, defense or special teams," coach Jim Schwartz said. "With or without Calvin, that was the story of the game not whether Calvin played or not."

But the wideout was still clearly missed.

Reggie Bush was held to 44 yards on 13 carries and four catches for 25 yards. The Packers' improved run defense mostly contained the dangerous Bush on first-down runs, leaving the Lions with long second- and third-down situations.

Still, the Lions trailed by just 16 late because Green Bay had to settle for field goals. They drove to the Packers 30 with 7:16 left before three straight incompletions left them headed back to the sideline.

Detroit especially felt Johnson's absence then. A pass attempt on fourth-and-3 went awry after Kris Durham slipped on the turf.

Schwartz declined to offer more details on the extent of Johnson's injury. He missed his first regular-season game since 2010.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson watches as his teammates warm up before an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. Johnson had been sidelined two days last week with a knee injury and was declared inactive for Sunday's game.

Matthew Stafford, who finished 25 for 40 for 262 yards, said he had an inkling Saturday that Johnson might be out.

"He's one of the guys on our team that can stretch the field," Stafford said. "I know he wanted to be out there. It's a tough situation we were in."

The Lions' only touchdown came late when Stafford found Durham for a 13-yard score.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson gets yelled at by a Washington Redskins fan while celebrating a touchdown with a Lambeau Leap.

"Just being able to keep them in short and intermediate passes definitely helped us out," linebacker Mike Neal said. "Calvin's a big part of their game plan, and without him, I think they put a lot on other guys. It was a big plus for us."

Notes: Packers starting LB Brad Jones left in the first half with a hamstring injury. Later, his replacement, Robert Francois, had to be helped off the field favoring his right leg. ... For the Lions, starting RT Jason Fox left with a knee injury, while backup RB Theo Riddick was also out after being evaluated for a head injury. ... Crosby's five field goals tied a team record shared by two other Packers. ... . The teams combined for 17 penalties, 10 for the Packers.

Associated Press