Lions overcoming mounting injuries, defense impressive in 19-7 win over Packers

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DETROIT — The injuries keep mounting on Detroit's defense — the latest coming in bizarre fashion during a sack celebration — but it doesn't seem to matter.

The Lions held Green Bay to one of its lowest-scoring games of the Aaron Rodgers era Sunday, beating the Packers 19-7. Detroit's banged-up secondary avoided any major mistakes, while Ndamukong Suh and the defensive front controlled the game from the outset.

"They're a tough and explosive team that has won a lot of games," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. "Our defense did a great job in terms of making them go the distance."

Suh had one of two Detroit sacks, and Rodgers threw for only 162 yards. The other sack was by linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who then hurt his left knee jumping forward in celebration.

"When I came down I kind of gave out on the inside," Tulloch said. "I thought I'd be OK. I got on the bike and rode it, tried to warm it up. I went out there, was trying to get off a block and it didn't feel right, so I'll get some further examination to see what's going on."

Green Bay had won 15 of the past 17 meetings with Detroit, and the Packers were 9-1 with Rodgers playing. The one loss he took part in came in 2010, when he left the game in the first half with a concussion. Green Bay lost that game 7-3 — until Sunday, that was the only time since Rodgers became the starting quarterback in 2008 that the Packers were held to seven points or fewer.

Last season, Rodgers was out with a fractured collarbone when Green Bay lost to the Lions 40-10 on Thanksgiving.

This wasn't as bad as that game for the Packers, but Green Bay (1-2) has issues to resolve on offense.

"There's a lot missing. There's execution missing. We haven't been able to run the ball very well any of the three games. We just haven't executed as well as we have in the past," Rodgers said. "We haven't been as sharp offensively. I haven't been as sharp maybe as the standard I've set. We've all got to do better."

Safety James Ihedigbo (neck) and cornerback Cassius Vaughn (ankle) were inactive for Detroit, which has also lost defensive backs Bill Bentley and Nevin Lawson to season-ending injuries. Tulloch left in the first quarter.

The Lions (2-1) won anyway, and here are a few more things we learned from their victory:

AS GOOD AS A PUNT: Lions QB Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions, but neither was crippling. They both came on third-and-long when Detroit would have been punting anyway with an incompletion.

Stafford's second interception actually worked out in his team's favor. His deep pass for Calvin Johnson was picked off near the goal line by Davon House, and although the play was initially ruled a touchback, a review gave Green Bay the ball at its own 1-yard line.

The Packers tried a run with Eddie Lacy, and linebacker DeAndre Levy caught him in the end zone for a safety that put Detroit ahead 9-7.

INTO THE GROUND: Green Bay seemed intent on trying to establish the run early, even though Detroit was short-handed in the defensive backfield. That strategy backfired right away when Lacy's fumble was scooped up by Detroit defensive back Don Carey, who returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.

That was Carey's only significant contribution. He left after aggravating a hamstring injury.

GETTING AWAY WITH IT: Detroit still isn't doing a great job taking care of the ball. The Lions turned it over three times — including a fumble in the red zone by Stafford in the third quarter. The Packers couldn't take advantage.

Detroit has turned the ball over seven times in its last two games against Green Bay, but the Lions won them both.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: With Tulloch out, Levy is under even more pressure in the middle of Detroit's defense, but he is off to a fine start this season.

Levy had nine tackles and an assist Sunday. He also had an interception in Detroit's season-opening win over the New York Giants earlier this month.

KICKING THEMSELVES?: The Lions will again have to evaluate their kicking situation after rookie Nate Freese missed from 41 yards at the end of the first half. The seventh-round draft pick is 0 for 4 from beyond 40 this year and 3 for 7 overall.


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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