The Green Bay Packers remained undefeated against divisional opponents with a 23-22 win over the Detroit Lions on Monday night at Lambeau Field.
Green Bay also snapped its four-game losing streak to Detroit.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers orchestrated the comeback in the fourth quarter with 10 unanswered points, punctuated by Mason Crosby's field goal as time expired:
The Packers previously beat the Chicago Bears in Week 1 and Minnesota Vikings in Week 2. Green Bay is atop the NFC North at 5-1 overall this season.
The Lions, meanwhile, had not yet played a divisional opponent before Monday night. Their 2-2-1 overall record puts them at the bottom of the NFC North.
Notable Fantasy Stats
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: 283 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Packers RB Jamaal Williams: 14 carries, 104 yards; 4 catches, 32 yards, 1 TD
Packers RB Aaron Jones: 11 carries, 47 yards; 4 catches, 13 yards
Lions QB Matthew Stafford: 265 yards
Lions RB Kerryon Johnson: 13 carries, 34 yards, 1 TD; 2 catches, 27 yards
Lions WR Kenny Golladay: 5 catches, 121 yards
Lions WR Marvin Jones Jr.: 2 catches, 17 yards
Lions TE T.J. Hockenson: 4 catches, 17 yards
Lions' Failure in Red Zone Costs Them
Detroit should have been in a much more comfortable position than 22-20 late in the fourth quarter.
The Lions defense held up through the majority of the game, forcing two turnovers and pressuring Rodgers often. However, quarterback Matthew Stafford and the offense only managed to turn those two turnovers into two field goals from Matt Prater.
On top of that, Packers return man Darrius Shepherd fumbled a punt early in the third quarter that gave the Lions beginning field position at the Green Bay 25-yard line. That also ended in a Prater field goal.
Overall, the Lions turned three trips to the red zone into one touchdown and two field goals.
Lions defensive end Trey Flowers was called for two crucial and controversial illegal use of hands penalties that some may say cost Detroit the game. The first came on a 3rd-and-10 and gave Green Bay a first down that ultimately led to an Aaron Rodgers' 35-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard. The second came on 3rd-and-4 with 1:45 left in regulation and gave the Packers a first down. With Detroit out of timeouts, Green Bay ran the clock down to two seconds remaining before Mason Crosby made the game-winning field goal.
Both times, Flowers' hands were on David Bakhtiari's jersey.
The officiating without a doubt had a hand in the Packers' comeback. Lions legend Barry Sanders said the missed calls were "sickening," and retired running back Matt Forte said referees are "destroying" the NFL:
Poor officiating has been and will continue to be a leaguewide issue. However, in this particular game, it was earlier missed opportunities by the Lions offense that made those penalties game-changing.
The end result, no matter how it's sliced, is Detroit's second blown fourth-quarter lead this season.
Running Back Situation Microcosm of Packers Offense Despite Win
Aaron Jones' encore performance fell flat, and Jamaal Williams picked up the slack.
Jones rushed for 107 yards and four touchdowns last week in Green Bay's win over Dallas, a game that Williams was sidelined for with a concussion. Both backs were active against the Lions, but Williams' outing overshadowed Jones'.
The highlights Jones provided were actually lowlights, fumbling on the Packers' second possession of the night and dropping a would-be touchdown pass on the next one:
While it was Jones' first fumble of the season and just the second of his career, Williams was looming over his shoulder and scored the team's first touchdown before busting out a game-long 45-yard run:
Big picture, it shouldn't matter to Green Bay whether Jones or Williams is hot on any given week, as long as one of them is because it has been established that the running game has more importance in the Packers' offensive scheme with rookie head coach Matt LaFleur in charge.
However, the lack of consistency is frustrating.
Green Bay's running game has shown flashes of brilliance and maddening inconsistencies, and that description fits the offense as a whole.
The Packers receiving corps was already without Davante Adams (turf toe) for a second consecutive game. During the game, Geronimo Allison suffered a helmet-to-helmet hit in the third quarter that took him out for the remainder of the contest while he was evaluated for a concussion and chest injury.
Even with depleted options, Rodgers was able to help cut Green Bay's deficit to 22-20 when he hit Lazard for a 35-yard touchdown with nine minutes left in regulation:
On the game-winning drive, the Packers ran the ball five times—some of which were just to milk the clock—after running it just seven times total in the second half to that point.
They might not have needed Crosby's game-winning field goal had they not abandoned the run against the 23rd-ranked run defense. But as he has done time and time again, Rodgers bailed out his supporting cast.
The Packers will host the 3-2 Oakland Raiders, who had a bye this week, Sunday afternoon.
The Lions have another important divisional matchup in Week 7 with the 4-2 Minnesota Vikings visiting Ford Field on Sunday afternoon.