GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers were looking for the kind of performance that would prove they can play like an elite team for a full game. They were fortunate just to get a victory Sunday, thanks in large part to Charles Woodson.
Woodson returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown and the Packers narrowly held off a comeback by the Lions for a 28-26 victory Sunday.
The Packers (3-1) led 28-14 after Woodson scored early in the third quarter, but the Lions rallied for four straight Jason Hanson field goals to cut the lead to two points. A final drive by the Packers ran out the clock.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 181 yards with three touchdowns but also threw a pair of interceptions for the Packers, who were coming off a sloppy performance in a loss at Chicago on Monday night.
Detroit again was without injured quarterback Matthew Stafford, but backup Shaun Hill looked poised. Hill threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns to Calvin Johnson for the Lions (0-4), who made the game close despite committing 13 penalties.
It was the Lions' 20th straight loss to the Packers in the state of Wisconsin, a streak that began in 1992. But the Lions looked much more dangerous than they have in recent years.
Detroit trailed 21-14 at halftime, and could have been tied or leading if not for a pair of turnovers.
With Detroit facing second-and-10 at their own 38-yard line early in the third quarter, Woodson picked off a pass intended for Johnson, got up off the ground and raced to the end zone, leaping the final few yards and stretching his arms out with the ball for the score.
The Lions challenged the play, but it was upheld and the Packers led 28-14 early in the third quarter.
Woodson was beaten for a touchdown to Johnson late in the first half and opened the third quarter with a pass interference penalty, but his big play temporarily gave the Packers some breathing room in a close game.
The Lions didn't roll over, driving for a field goal on their next possession to cut the Packers' lead to 28-17. Cornerback Chris Houston then picked off a Rodgers pass at the Lions' 7 to stop a Packers scoring drive.
Hill's 40-yard scramble then set up a 52-yard field goal by Hanson, cutting the lead to 28-20 late in the third quarter.
The Packers went three-and out and the Lions drove again, and Hanson hit a 49-yarder to bring the Lions within five points with 13:35 left in the game.
Then Green Bay's Jordy Nelson fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, giving the ball back to the Lions at the Green Bay 18. The Packers made a defensive stand and forced a 24-yard Hanson field goal, cutting Green Bay's lead to 2 with 11:51 left.
Rodgers threw deep for Jennings on the first play of the Packers' next possession — but cornerback Alphonso Smith wrestled the ball away for an interception. Detroit drove to the Green Bay 37, but the defense held and forced a punt.
The Packers finally were able to establish a running game on their last possession, successfully running out the clock.
Green Bay played much of the game without rookie safety Morgan Burnett, who left the game in the first half to get his knee X-rayed and was replaced by Derrick Martin.