Detroit's defense smothers Green Bay, keys 19-7 victory over Rodgers, Packers

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Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy is tackled in the end zone by Detroit Lions outside linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) for a safety during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81), defended by Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)


DETROIT — Even one of Matthew Stafford's interceptions quickly turned into two points for Detroit.

That was just part of a smothering performance from the Lions' defensive front in a 19-7 victory over the Green Bay Packers.

"I think we have an opportunity to dominate every particular game," Ndamukong Suh said. "As long as we hone into our keys, get off the ball and do what we're taught and execute."

Suh and the Lions pressured Aaron Rodgers throughout, and Detroit's injury-plagued secondary was never a problem Sunday. Don Carey returned a fumble 40 yards for a touchdown, and the Lions held Green Bay to 223 yards of offense.

Detroit (2-1) came in with a secondary decimated by injuries, but Rodgers couldn't take advantage. He was sacked twice and threw for only 162 yards, and Green Bay (1-2) wasn't any better when running the ball.

"They've got a good defense. You've got to give them credit," Rodgers said. "As well as our defense played today, we scored seven and we gave up nine with our offense. They didn't even need to score."

Stafford was 22 of 34 for 246 yards with two interceptions. The Detroit quarterback's second interception — on third-and-long in the second quarter — 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.

"Our defense did an outstanding job of getting off the field all day," Stafford said. "Against that group that they were going up against, that was pretty awesome."

Detroit's offense finally scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 26-yard run by Reggie Bush.

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. Linebacker Stephen Tulloch left in the first quarter after hurting his left knee while celebrating a sack.

After sacking Rodgers, Tulloch jumped through the air and looked as if he was trying to mimic the Green Bay quarterback's "title belt" celebration, but then he fell to the ground. He tried to play on, but left the game a short while later.

"I've played nine years in the league and I've never missed a game," Tulloch said. "I've been fortunate enough to take care of my family and do some good things in the league. I made a play on the quarterback to help my team and unfortunately I got up and in the celebration, and it happened.

"I'm not embarrassed."

The Packers lost despite forcing three turnovers. They tried to establish the run a bit early, and that backfired when Lacy's fumble was scooped up by Carey. The defensive back went all the way to the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

Carey hadn't played in Detroit's first two games this season because of a hamstring problem, and he left this game after aggravating that same injury.

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.

Rodgers threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Quarless in the first quarter Sunday to tie it at 7, but the Packers never scored again.

NOTES: Detroit rookie Nate Freese's job could be in jeopardy after he missed a 41-yard field goal at the end of the first half. He is 0 for 4 from beyond 40 yards this season and 3 of 7 overall. ... Green Bay LB Clay Matthews left with a groin injury, and House hurt his knee. ... Levy had nine tackles and an assist. Suh and Tulloch accounted for Detroit's two sacks. ... Packers LB Julius Peppers sacked Stafford in the third quarter after the Lions reached the Green Bay 7, forcing a fumble that he also recovered.


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