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DETROIT – Aaron Rodgers finally fell short against the Detroit Lions, whose banged-up secondary was able to control the Green Bay star.
Rodgers threw for only 162 yards and was sacked twice, and the Packers lost 19-7 to Detroit on Sunday. Rodgers had been 9-1 against the Lions, with the only loss a game he had to leave early because of a concussion. But he was healthy this time, and Green Bay was held to 223 yards of offense.
"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."
Don Carey returned a fumble 40 yards for a touchdown for the Lions, whose defense also added a safety in the second quarter.
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.
Detroit's Matthew Stafford was 22 of 34 for 246 yards with two interceptions Sunday. 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.
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.
"Disappointing loss," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. "We knew it was going to be a tough one coming in here today. I just look at the game from our perspective — missed opportunities. I thought our defense played well with three takeaways."
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.
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.
"Offensively, we did not establish the run game, particularly the way they were playing us on defense," McCarthy said. "I felt like we stayed committed to the run — put a lot on Aaron there in the second half. Maybe we should have given him the ball completely earlier. That's something that I'll look at."
NOTES: 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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