Rodgers, Packers edge Lions
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Aaron Rodgers had two touchdown passes, including the game-winner to Randall Cobb late in the fourth quarter as the Green Bay Packers took a 24-20 win over the Detroit Lions in an NFC North battle at Ford Field.
Rodgers passed for 236 yards and an interception on 19-of-27 attempts with Cobb and Jermichael Finley each catching a score for the Packers (7-3), who have won five straight.
"We just had to have this win," said Rodgers. "We knew it was a struggle and we didn't play our best on offense. But when we needed it, everyone came through and this is a big one."
James Starks had 25 carries for 74 yards while Mason Crosby missed two field goals, but did make one late for Green Bay, which is 2-0 in division play this season.
Matthew Stafford had a rough day as he went just 17-for-39 with 266 yards and a touchdown along with two interceptions and a lost fumble for the Lions (4-6), who have dropped two straight and fell to 0-4 in division play this season. Calvin Johnson caught five passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.
"It's tough enough to lose this game without thinking about anything else," said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "This is a tough league and the division is even tougher. We had our chances today, but just couldn't pull it out."
Green Bay began the winning drive at its own 18 and Starks got it started with an 11-yard run. Two plays later, Finley caught a pass near the right sideline, broke a tackle and raced 40 yards to the Detroit 31. From the 22 on 3rd-and-1, Rodgers lofted a pass to the left side of the end zone and Cobb came down with the ball for a 21-20 lead with 1:55 to play.
Four straight incompletions from Detroit turned the ball over and Crosby sealed the win with his 39-yard field goal with 19 seconds to play as Detroit had burned all its timeouts.
Detroit's third touch of the game came after stopping Green Bay on a 4th-and-4 at the Lions' 31. Facing a 3rd-and-12, Stafford went deep and Johnson came down with a 53-yard catch. On 3rd-and-goal at the 3-yard line, Stafford was sacked for a 9-yard loss and a 30-yard field goal from Jason Hanson gave the Lions a 3-0 lead with 4:24 to play in the first quarter.
Green Bay responded with its most impressive drive of the game. Converting three third downs on the 11-play, 81-yard drive, the team got into the end zone when Rodgers found Finley over the middle and he took it in on a 20-yard score for a 7-3 lead just over a minute into the second quarter.
The Lions came right back with a 74-yard drive that ended in the end zone. Johnson caught passes of 21 and 14 yards during the march while Will Heller had a 17-yard catch. Mikel Leshoure's 10-yard run down to the 1-yard line set up a 1st-and-goal and he stretched it over on the next play for a 10-7 lead with 8:06 left in the half.
After Green Bay punted, Stafford and Rodgers exchanged interceptions, before Stafford fumbled to give the Packers the ball at the Lions' 42 with under a minute to play. Detroit's defense held and forced a 50-yard field goal attempt from Crosby. He missed his first try to the right, but Detroit called a timeout prior to the snap. It didn't matter, though, as he missed his second attempt to the left as time expired in the half.
Following a short possession from Green Bay to start the second half, Detroit got the ball across midfield. A pass to Tony Scheffler, though, was tipped by the tight end into the hands of M.D. Jennings, who raced down the right sideline and into the end zone on a 72-yard score for a 14-10 lead.
"It felt good to have that," said Jennings. "You have to go out there every day and do your job because everyone is counting on you out there."
The Lions, though, came right back down the field to regain the lead. A 12- yard catch by Brandon Pettigrew on third down moved the chains and got the ball across midfield. Later from the 25 following an offensive holding call, Stafford whipped the ball down the middle where Johnson caught it near the goal line and took it in for a 17-14 lead with 3:01 to play in the third.
Crosby missed his second field goal of the game on Green Bay's second possession of the fourth quarter, a 38-yard attempt he pushed to the left.
Detroit got into the Green Bay red zone on its ensuing touch, but was only able to come away with three points after a 27-yard field goal from Hanson with 4:25 to play.
Green Bay has won 21 of the last 24 games against Detroit ... Detroit has allowed seven return touchdowns this season ... Mason has made just six of his last 13 field goal attempts ... Cobb finished with nine catches for 74 yards, two carries for 19 yards and four kick returns for 71 yards. His nine catches were a career-high ... It was the first career TD for Jennings ... Leshoure finished the game with 19 carries for 84 yards ... Johnson leads the NFL with 1,127 receiving yards, but has just three touchdowns on the season ... Detroit hosts Houston on Thanksgiving ... Green Bay plays in New York against the Giants next Sunday.
11/18 20:47:31 ET