Packers get past Lions, 17-9

It wasn't pretty, but the Green Bay Packers got their second home victory of the season by squeaking past the Detroit Lions, 17-9, Sunday at Lambeau Field.

In a game filled with penalties and turnovers, the Packers prevailed in front of 70,472 fans to improve to 2-5 at Lambeau Field and send the Lions to their sixth straight loss. The Packers committed four turnovers to Detroit's three, but kept Detroit out of the end zone, the first game this season that the Packers beleaguered defense has not given up a touchdown.

Running back Vernand Morency scored two touchdowns for the Packers, including a 21-yard scamper with 2 minutes, 48 seconds left in the game for the final score. The Packers, who play again at home on Thursday against the Minnesota Vikings (6-8), sealed the victory by sacking Lions quarterback Jon Kitna twice to snuff Detroit's last gasp attempt to salvage the game.

Green Bay (6-8) finished with six sacks and held the beat-up Lions to 142 total yards to win their second straight game. The Packers kept their slim NFC playoff hopes alive and swept the season series against the Lions, who haven't won in Wisconsin since 1991.

Defensive end Cullen Jenkins finished with a career-high three sacks, defensive end Aaron Kampman had two to raise his career-high total to 12.5, and defensive lineman Corey Williams had one for the Packers.

"We knew going into the game that they have given up a lot of sacks, 49 going into the game," said defensive end Aaron Kampman. "Kitna likes to hold the ball, (offensive coordinator, Mike) Martz likes to stretch the field and take deep shots, plus they lost their tailback last week. We knew we would have some opportunities to make some things happen."

The Lions (2-12) were playing without top rusher Kevin Jones, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, defensive tackle Shaun Cody, cornerback Fernando Bryant and guard Ross Verba, among others, due to injuries.

Cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson each helped their chances to earn a spot on the NFC squad in the Pro Bowl with interceptions. Harris got his third interception of the season, and held Lions wide receiver Roy Williams to one catch for 11 yards. Woodson intercepted his sixth pass of the season and was instrumental, along with the defensive line, in limiting the Lions to 84 total yards passing for the game.

Williams entered the game ranked third in the NFL (first in the NFC) in receiving yards with 1,116. His one catch against the Packers gives him 70 for the season, but he was shut down by Harris and the Packers' secondary.

"They played right in his face with a safety over the top for most of the game and they were helping, and switching up the looks on him," said Kitna of the Packers' coverage on Williams. "What Al Harris does best is press guys at the line. We weren't able to hold the ball long enough to get plays down the field."

Despite the solid effort by the defense, Green Bay's offense struggled to capitalize. The Packers turned the ball over twice in each half. Brett Favre was intercepted three times, twice off passes that deflected off the hands of receivers, and Favre and center Scott Wells botched a fumble that the Lions recovered.

"It's always tough when one side of the ball has a great game, like we did today, and we're not capitalizing on the other side of the ball," said Woodson. "When you let another team hang around, there's always the possibility that they may score a touchdown, and all of a sudden, they're up one, or it's tied up. We knew we just had to go out there and hold our ground, and that's exactly what was done."

Jenkins' three sacks and fumble recovery, kept the Lions in check in the first half. Jenkins' sack of Kitna for a 14-yard loss to the Lions' 1 led to Green Bay's first touchdown of the game, a 14-yard run Morency with 5:35 left in the second quarter, for a 10-3 lead.

Morency rushed for 54 yards on just seven carries for a 7.7-yard avg. Ahman Green gained 79 yards on 22 carries.

The Packers, coming off a 30-19 win over San Francisco a week ago, used a healthy balance of pass and run plays (37 pass attempts, 30 run attempts) to keep the Lions on their toes, but Green Bay found ways to self-destruct. Favre muffed a snap from Wells midway through the first quarter, and the loose ball was recovered by Detroit. Early in the second quarter, Favre's short pass skipped off of Green's hands and to former University of Wisconsin cornerback Jamar Fletcher.

The Packers held the listless Lions to 60 total yards in the first two quarters, and kept them out of the end zone when they had to in the second half.

Detroit kicker Jason Hanson made field goals from 42 and 23 yards to in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, to close the Lions to 10-9 with 9:33 left in the game. But the Packers used a 78-yard, 12-play drive that ate up 6:45 and all but sealed the victory when Morency burst through a hole in the right side of the line, made a cut to the outside and scored.

"He has the innate ability to make people miss, especially on the second level," said McCarthy. "He's done that two weeks in a row that resulted in big runs for us. Everybody calls him a change-of-pace back. He's a pretty good running back, and he takes full advantage of the opportunity he's given week in and week out."

Hanson's 42-yard field goal early in the third quarter closed the Lions to 10-6. The Lions had to settle for the field goal attempt after linebacker Brady Poppinga nearly intercepted a pass from Kitna in the end zone.

The Packers had a golden opportunity to cash in on Woodson's team-high sixth interception of the season in the third quarter, but gave the ball right back to the Lions. Woodson picked off Kitna and returned the ball to Detroit's 27. Kitna's 15-yard facemask penalty gave the Packers the ball on Detroit's 12. After tight end Donald Lee dropped a pass over the middle, Favre was intercepted by former Packers linebacker Paris Lenon in the end zone.

"I just tried to force it," Favre said. "I wish I could give you something else or blame someone else, but (David Martin) was covered. I tried to look off the middle 'backer. I knew it was third and goal, and I knew exactly what coverage they were playing. ... I just forced it, and it was a bad decision."

With three interceptions, Favre's total for the year increased to 15. He finished the game with a passer rating of 32.9, though, Kitna's rating was not much better, 42.9.

Hanson's 42-yard field goal midway through the first quarter gave the Lions a 3-0 lead. Kitna's 14-yard pass to wide receiver Mike Furrey to Green Bay's 25 highlighted the 30-yard drive.

Harris' third interception of the season and 34-yard return set up Dave Rayner's 24-yard field goal that tied the game at 3-3 with 2:51 left in the first quarter. Green pounded his way to the Lions' 4, but he was thrown for a three-yard loss on the next play, and Favre threw incomplete to Carlyle Holiday, who was covered by four receivers in the end zone on third down.

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