Coverage teams beat like a drum

After getting destroyed in two of their last three games, the Green Bay Packers put together a special effort in Sunday's 38-10 win at Detroit. <p> Just not on special teams.

One of the few bright spots of the first five games was Green Bay's kick coverage, but the Lions' Eddie Drummond beat Green Bay like a drum throughout the game.

Drummond piled up 182 yards on six kickoff returns, padding his NFC-leading average of 29.0 yards entering the game. It started on the opening kickoff return, which Drummond ran back 37 yards. After being held to 22 and 20 yards on his next two runbacks, Drummond raced for 58 yards on the kickoff following safety Darren Sharper's third-quarter touchdown off an interception.

Green Bay's defense bailed out the coverage unit, though, by forcing Detroit to turn it over on downs.

All told, Drummond averaged 30.3 yards per kickoff return against a unit that ranked 10th in the NFL with an average return allowed of 19.6 yards.

The punt coverage was even worse. Drummond didn't get many chances due to a scintillating Packers offense but he made the most of them, returning one punt 27 yards and another 17 yards. His longest return entering the game was just 5 yards, and Green Bay started the day ranked seventh in the league with a 4.9-yard average allowed.

"I think we won the kicking game today," said Detroit head coach Steve Mariucci. "Our return game was excellent. We just simply didn't win offense and defense. You've got to win two out of the three to be close in a football game."

On the plus side, Packers kicker Ryan Longwell nailed a 50-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to give Green Bay a 17-10 lead at intermission. Longwell made a 53-yarder in the same situation last week against Tennessee.

Punter Bryan Barker averaged a solid 43.4 yards per punt but his net average (29.8) was betrayed by the leaky coverage.

Najeh Davenport's only kickoff return went 16 yards, and Antonio Chatman averaged 10.7 yards on three punt returns.

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