Offense hums early before Packers hold off Lions 34-27
Green Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson catches a touchdown pass in front of Detroit Lions' Darius Slay during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Aaron Rodgers threw for 205 yards and four touchdowns, including two in the first half to Jordy Nelson, and the Green Bay Packers snapped out of their offensive funk before holding off the Detroit Lions for a 34-27 win Sunday.
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.
The Packers (2-1) led 31-10 at the half before the Lions slowly chipped away.
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Marvin Jones' 35-yard touchdown catch with 3:34 left got Detroit (1-2) within seven. 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, and Eddie Lacy ran for 103 yards on 17 carries.
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 Minnesota.
Now the Packers head into an early bye week with renewed confidence after a successful opener at Lambeau Field.
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.
Jones gave the Lions a boost going into halftime with a 73-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to get Detroit within 31-10. Jones stiff-armed cornerback Josh Hawkins before sprinting untouched 45 yards into the end zone.
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 injury.
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