Aaron Rodgers led the way as the Green Bay Packers edged the Detroit Lions 23-22 in NFL action.
It might not have been pretty, but the Green Bay Packers are now the best team in the NFC North after Monday's victory.
Both Green Bay and Detroit entered the clash with just one loss each and the winner would not only begin to separate themselves from the bunch but show they can be a true contender — an improvement from last year when both the Lions and Packers missed the playoffs.
Rodgers inspired the Packers to a narrow win in a back-and-forth game highlighted by some impressive throws and lots of field goals.
Packers quarterback Rodgers finished 24-of-39 passing for 283 yards and two touchdowns with one interception as Green Bay improved to 5-1.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, who started the game on fire, went 18-of-32 passing for 265 yards with the team falling to 2-2-1.
Three takeaways from Packers' win over the Lions:
Lions got off to a hot start and then ...
There was quite literally no one but the Lions stopping the Lions in the first quarter.
After opening the game with a flea flicker for their longest play from scrimmage all season – 66 yards – the Lions were in a perfect position to score a touchdown on their first drive.
On the game’s very first play…— NFL (@NFL) October 15, 2019
The @Lions break out a flea flicker for a gain of 66 yards! #OnePride @kgxix
: #DETvsGB on ESPN
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Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/kc6zw37CNI pic.twitter.com/tz8oek0P85
However, Stafford tripped on an ensuing play in the red zone — a miscue that resulted in Detroit eventually settling for a field goal.
But that was the team's only mistake to start Monday. They continued to run through, around and past the Packers defense to score 13 unanswered points through one and a half quarters. It was the first time Green Bay trailed by more than one score all season and Stafford's 168 yards in the first quarter alone were the most for any Lions signal-caller ... ever. But Detroit's hot start was diffused when Rodgers and company finally got on a roll.
Give Rodgers an inch and he'll make you pay
Sure, the Lions played a superb first quarter but once they started making mistakes, the momentum started to go in the Packers' favour.
The Lions made a critical error on special teams halfway through the second quarter when they were called for having too many men on the field and drew a five-yard penalty. It was enough to give the Packers a first down and bring Rodgers back on to the field. He converted it into a touchdown and Green Bay eventually tied the game 13-13 just after half-time.
But still, even with the momentum, Rodgers still needed some missing pieces. Wide receiver Davante Adams missed another game with turf toe and while Aaron Jones played, he was not as effective as he was last week. Rodgers managed to find Allen Lazard, the team's unlikely hero on offense, on a critical fourth-quarter drive.
This late touchdown helped set up the game-winning moment.
It was Mason Crosby's night
Rodgers certainly gets credit for setting up Crosby's kicks, but the veteran kicker was a perfect three-for-three on the night with his most important kick coming with two seconds left on the clock and the Packers trailing by two.
Perhaps better than the go-ahead kick was the celebration after.
There is not much analysis here; we are just glad Crosby stuck the landing after being helped into the stands for his own Lambeau Leap.
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