Lions level Packers at Lambeau
GREEN BAY — Eager to end a three-game losing streak, the Detroit Lions picked a tough place to make a stand — Lambeau Field in a Monday night game against the Green Bay Packers.
Matthew Stafford delivered with his sharpest performances of the season.
Stafford passed for 361 yards and two touchdowns to Marvin Jones, and Golden Tate added 113 yards on seven catches in a 30-17 win over the offensively challenged Packers.
“We went into this game thinking that this needed to be a statement game,” Tate said.
The Lions (4-4) began the season 3-1 before losing three straight. The win over the Packers allowed Detroit to stay within two games of the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings, who had a bye this week.
Detroit has the best quarterback in the division now that Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is sidelined with a broken right collarbone.
Stafford was 26-of-33 passing, including 12 of 14 in the first half with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jones. Stafford finished with a season-high 132.4 quarterback rating.
“He can sling it anywhere, and you just have to be there to catch it,” Jones said. “When he’s on, there’s no other quarterback I’d rather play with.”
Green Bay (4-4) finally got in the end zone on Brett Hundley’s 1-yard quarterback sneak with 9:52 left.
The Lions answered with Stafford’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Jones with 8:06 remaining, putting the game out of reach with a 17-point lead. Jones had seven catches for 107 yards.
The Packers have lost three straight. Their once-potent offense has struggled since Rodgers went down on Oct. 15 at Minnesota.
“We come out winning Super Bowls around here. If we keep playing like this, it’s not going to be pretty,” cornerback Davon House said.
Hundley finished 26 of 38 for 245 yards but rarely took shots down the field, especially in the first half. Cornerback Darius Slay blanketed Jordy Nelson when the Packers did try to throw long while the game was still competitive.
“Brett Hundley played better tonight and I have great faith in Brett Hundley. Brett Hundley’s not our issue,” coach Mike McCarthy said .
Hundley was most effective again when scrambling outside of the pocket. He also showed some poise in a hurry-up offense that led to the Packers getting a 35-yard field goal from Mason Crosby to close out the first half to get within 14-3.
The Packers had other problems, too, rushing for 78 yards on 17 carries. They were just 2 of 9 on third downs. The Lions were 8 of 13 on third-down conversions behind clutch throws from the rocket-armed Stafford.
It was a mixed day in the red zone for the Lions after a poor game inside the 20 last week against the Steelers. Besides Jones’ 11-yard touchdown catch, Ameer Abdullah had a 4-yard scoring run in the second quarter that gave Detroit a 14-0 lead. They also had to settle for a 19-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter after getting stopped on three straight plays at the 1.
The Lions’ opening score was set up by an unnecessary roughness penalty on Mike Daniels after the defensive lineman appeared to head-butt Detroit center Travis Swanson. The flag negated an incompletion on third-and-15 that would have forced the Lions to punt from their own 25. Stafford connected with Jones for the touchdown pass five plays later.
Packers safety Morgan Burnett left in the third quarter with a groin injury. He had returned from a two-game absence for a hamstring injury. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga left in the fourth quarter with what appears to be a serious knee injury. The Packers had their starting offensive line back together for only two-plus quarters after left guard Lane Taylor had returned from a one-game absence with an ankle injury.