DETROIT — The Detroit Lions jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the third quarter and then were able to hang on to beat the Green Bay Packers 31-23 in a Sunday afternoon NFL match-up at Ford Field.
The game also marked a battle of NFC North Division combatants and two long-time rivals who have now met 178 times since 1930, when the Lions were known as the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans.
This time Detroit came out inspired with quarterback Matthew Stafford making the 117th straight start of his career. At the 11:16 juncture of the opener, Stafford hit Kenny Golladay with a 47-yard touchdown pass that was later nullified by a penalty.
The Lions were then forced to punt. The kick bounced off the Packers’ Kevin King and Detroit recovered at the 1-yard line. The Lions immediately scored on a 1-yard run by LeGarrette Blount for a 7-0 edge.
Then with 1:06 to go in the first frame, Blount ran it in for his second TD and a 14-0 advantage at the initial break.
Detroit’s Matt Prater started the second quarter off with a 39-yard field goal and a 17-0 lead. That was followed by the Lions recovering a fumble by quarterback Aaron Rodgers and scoring on a 7-yard pass from Stafford to Marvin Jones for a 24-0 count with just 15 seconds left, which stood until intermission.
Along the way, Mason Crosby missed on two field goals for Green Bay — the first one wide left while the second hit the right upright and bounced backward.
The Packers stormed out of the locker room and scored twice — first on an aerial from Rodgers to Marquez Valdes-Scantling followed by a two-point conversion to close to within 24-8 and then on a 1-yard pass from Rodgers to Lance Kendricks followed by a failed conversion pass to trim the deficit to 24-14. That gap stood through the final break.
Detroit got back on track in the fourth quarter as Stafford connected with Golladay on a 6-yard scoring pass to up the margin to 31-14 with 12:55 showing on the clock.
But Rodgers came right back and tossed an 11-yard scoring pass to Davante Adams. However, Crosby, who already had missed three field goal attempts, then missed the extra-point kick and the scoreboard read 31-20 with 9:01 to go.
With just :02 left, Crosby finally booted a 42-yard field goal to set the final tally.
Crosby finished the day missing four field goal attempts and a PAT kick for Green Bay.
The Lions are now 2-3 and will now enjoy a bye week off. Detroit’s next outing will be a trip to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium to meet the Dolphins at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21.
The Packers are 2-2-1 and will be back in action on Monday night, Oct. 15, when they play host to the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.