GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Detroit Lions almost had another heartbreaking moment in Green Bay. Instead, they escaped with a memorable win.
Matthew Stafford threw for two touchdowns, and the Lions stopped a 24-game road losing streak against the Packers when they held on for an 18-16 victory Sunday despite a late blunder by Calvin Johnson.
Mason Crosby missed a 52-yard field goal as time expired after the Packers recovered an onside kick that was mishandled by Johnson with about 31 seconds left.
Detroit (2-7) had stopped Green Bay on a 2-point conversion attempt after Aaron Rodgers hit Justin Perillo for an 11-yard touchdown pass on the previous drive.
Stafford threw for 242 yards for the league-worst Lions, an organization that had been reeling following the midseason firings of the team president and general manager.
The Packers (6-3) lost their third straight game, but this was a new low after their two previous defeats came on the road to Super Bowl contenders Denver and Carolina.
A sluggish game filled with three-and-outs turned into a thriller in the fourth quarter.
The Lions barely held on for their first road win against Green Bay since 1991. Matt Prater missed two extra points, but also hit field goals from 49 and 51 yards.
Rodgers was 35 of 61 for 333 yards, but wasn’t at his sharpest. Receivers including Randall Cobb and Davante Adams had a few drops.
Green Bay finally got into the end zone when Rodgers found tight end Richard Rodgers for a 4-yard touchdown pass with 5:55 left.
Lance Moore’s 4-yard touchdown reception increased Detroit’s lead to 18-10, and the Lions held off the Packers following Perillo’s score.
The Packers’ running game stalled, with James Starks gaining just 42 yards on 15 carries against the league’s 26th-ranked defense.
It has been a precipitous decline for a quick-strike offense that was once the envy of the NFL.
Even Crosby’s 44-yard field goal in the first quarter needed a little luck after glancing off the left upright but over the crossbar.
Otherwise, a Detroit defense without linebacker DeAndre Levy and cornerback Rashean Mathis for the year frustrated the Packers much of the afternoon.
The win could ease the pressure, at least for the time being, on Detroit coach Jim Caldwell. Besides the turnover at the top of the organization, the Lions also fired their offensive coordinator and two line coaches a few weeks ago.
The victory came in the most unlikely of places. Detroit hadn’t defeated Green Bay on the road since a 21-17 victory on Dec. 15, 1991.
The Lions didn’t accomplish much with the ball against the Packers’ rejuvenated defense until the fourth quarter.
But the Packers were just as bad until the final few minutes.
Protection was spotty. Rodgers made some uncharacteristically shaky throws.
Adams had 10 catches for 79 yards, working mostly against Detroit cornerback Nevin Lawson.