Packers hang on for holiday WIN

PONTIAC, Mich – The Packers put it all behind them – last week's devastating loss, the perils of playing a winless team, their Silverdome slip-ups, the short week on the road – and showed their true colors in an impressive 29-27 win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day at the Silverdome.<p> The Packers needed every ounce of that character to survive an unnecessarily-tense finish.<p>

What should have been a blowout turned into a nailbiter in the last two minutes; a seemingly superfluous safety (which easily could have been ruled a TD) ended up being the difference.

"We made the play that counted at the end," coach Mike Sherman said. "We hung in there. Our back was against the wall in this game and we had to come out and win. We were fighting for our lives there at the end. I take my hat off to Detroit and to our guys, too. It's going to be a great Thanksgiving."

With Green Bay holding a comfortable 16-point lead, Detroit mounted a long drive that culminated in a 1-yard TD run by Lamont Warren with 1:17 remaining. Rookie QB Mike McMahon waltzed in for the two-point conversion to cut the margin to 8. After a scuffle, Detroit recovered John Jett's onside kick on the Green Bay 31. McMahon eluded a sack and connected with Scott Anderson in the endzone with 10 seconds remaining. A two-point conversion stood between the Lions and overtime. McMahon nearly pulled it off, giving Packer fans bad flashbacks of Cowboys back-up Jason Garrett's winning Thanksgiving Day effort vs. GB in 1994. McMahon scrambled for several long seconds, then angled left, threw right and just barely overthrew his receiver at the back of the end zone.

. Brett Favre threw two touchdown passes without an interception, Ahman Green had a TD run and reception, and Ryan Longwell made it five in a row with two field goals Thursday. The Packers improved to 7-3 and have a shot at regaining a first-place tie. Detroit remains winless, now 0-10.

"I just went out there and gave it all I had," Ahman Green said. "If we had to go to overtime I would have been running on fumes, but I would have done it."

Green opened scoring with a 26-yard run with 5:23 remaining in the first quarter. Tyrone Williams recovered Johnnie Morton's fumble in the endzone to start the drive. Bill Schroeder's 17-yard reception set up the TD.

Green Bay led most of the way. The Pack surrendered the lead only briefly when Detroit's James Hall picked up a Brett Favre fumble after a sack and brought it in for a touchdown to make it 13-10.

"They surprised us with some things in the first half, but we put some stuff together that we thought would be effective," Sherman said. The Lions used a fake punt to extend a drive that ended in a 54-yard Jason Hanson field goal. On the Packers' ensuing series, the Lions took a couple shots at Favre. Robert Porcher was flagged for roughing the quarterback, and linebacker Barrett Green gave Favre a head-butt while walking back to the huddle. That seemed to ignite Favre and the Packers, who put up 19 unanswered points. Tight end David Martin started the tear with a 1-yard TD pass from Favre just before halftime, on the drive helped by Porcher's penalty. Antonio Freeman caught a 21-yard pass to key the drive. That put Green Bay ahead to stay, 17-13.

Nate Wayne provided the Packers with another opportunity a few minutes later. He picked off Charlie Batch and brought it back 35 yards to midfield. After a Favre-to-Schroeder pass put the Packers well into Detroit territory, Favre found Green for a 35-yard TD catch and a 24-13 lead.

Green Bay picked up the safety when John Thierry appeared to recover a fumble in the end zone, but it was ruled he did not have control and the Packers were instead awarded a safety.


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