Packers Hold Off Lions 28-26

Jclombardi highlights Packers headlines about win over Lions.

Guest senior writer jclombardi @

Packers avoid embarrassment: Detroit marched the ball up and down the field for most of Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field, but Green Bay did just enough to avoid a major upset and claim a 28-26 victory. With the Packers nursing a seven-point halftime lead, Woodson made a diving interception and 48-yard return for a touchdown. That made it 28-14, and Green Bay hung on for dear life for a 28-26 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Lambeau Field. While Green Bay improved to 3-1, the loss was the Lions’ 20th consecutive in Wisconsin and 23rd straight on the road overall.

Packers barely beat Lions: the dink-and-dunk offense can take you to the brink of victory. It did for the Green Bay Packers at Chicago and it did for the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Lambeau Field. The operative word, however, is brink.  On a beautiful fall day in front of a sun-soaked crowd of 70,729, the Packers felt it was fair play to perform the same kind of zone concept the Bears used on them. The result was a near miss for the Lions. “They played well,” safety Nick Collins said. “They executed their game plan. They have trust in their talent. They came in and said, ‘We’re going to dink and dunk the whole game and eventually we’ll go down field if it’s open.'”

CB Charles Woodson superstar: The Packers were perilously close to having their 19-game home winning streak against the Detroit Lions snapped at Lambeau Field, until Woodson decided enough was enough and put the game in his pocket. He did it with a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown at the start of the third quarter and with a pair of pass breakups on the Lions’ final two offensive plays of the night. Woodson was given the assignment of covering the Lions’ Calvin Johnson wherever the enormously talented receiver went.  Johnson got the best of him in the first half with five catches for 72 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown at the end of the half in which Johnson simply out-leaped him for the ball. Woodson also had an 11-yard pass interference penalty. The Lions’ short-passing game also put Woodson in position to come off of Johnson and take on ball carriers in the open field. Though he missed a tackle on running back Kevin Smith and had to work to get tight end Brandon Pettigrew down, he led all tacklers with 10 in the first half.

Special teams hit and miss: The Packers managed to win Sunday despite three slips on special teams again. While these miscues may end up becoming a larger issue down the road, the Packers are choosing to look at them as challenges. And against the winless Detroit Lions, the Packers overcame those challenges to win, 28-26.  “It’s a battle. And there are going to be positive plays and negative plays in each ball game,” said special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum. “It’s the team that can overcome the adversity, and it sounds like a little bit of a cliché. Kickoff returner Jordy Nelson, who fumbled twice, and punter Tim Masthay who botched a punt, vowed to do better. Just as Nelson got another shot, Masthay made the most of his second chances. A botched drop let to a 21-yard clunker that sailed left and out of bounds on his first punt of the game. A normally patient Lambeau crowd booed him promptly. Masthay hit his next two punts very well – for 52 and 50 yards – and Slocum pointed out that the Packers won the net punting battle averaging 36 for Masthay and 28 for Detroit.

FB Kuhn running man superstar: While no one was suggesting that all of the Packers’ problems with their running game had been resolved in a 6 minute, 32-second stretch of game clock Sunday, the way fullback-turned-halfback John Kuhn and the Packers’ offense ground out the final minutes of their 28-26 victory over the Detroit Lions at least provided a glimmer of hope that they’re headed in the right direction. While the team clearly still misses lead back Ryan Grant, who was lost for the season Sept. 12 to an ankle injury at Philadelphia, and would-be replacement Brandon Jackson has yet to impress (nine carries, 33 yards Sunday, with 14 yards coming on one carry), Kuhn made sure that the pesky Lions, who were forced to punt after their final drive fizzled at the Packers’ 37-yard line, never saw the ball again.

Rodgers dislikes game plan:  It seemed out of character for Aaron Rodgers, but there was no misinterpreting what the Green Bay Packers quarterback said Sunday afternoon in the wake of his team’s closer-than-it-should’ve-been 28-26 victory over the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Rodgers isn’t happy with the offense, and he thinks coach Mike McCarthy needs to do things differently. Namely, Rodgers wants to run more plays out of the shotgun, empty-backfield spread formation. “It’s a win, so we’re happy about that. (But) offensively, we’ve got to find our identity again,” Rodgers said after playing a statistically perfect first half but an imperfect second half to finish 12 of 17 for 181 yards with three touchdowns, two interceptions, two sacks and a 105.3 rating. “I think we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got our best players on the field at all times and find ways to get them the ball.”

Safety concerns: having lost rookie starter Morgan Burnett to a sprained knee early in their 28-26 victory over the Detroit Lions Sunday at Lambeau Field, and playing without No. 3 safety Charlie Peprah (quadriceps) already, the Packers were down to just two healthy safeties–Pro Bowler Nick Barnett and special-teams ace Derrick Martin–by game’s end.

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