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Packers, controversial penalties beat Lions on MNF

By Alex Butler
Packers, controversial penalties beat Lions on MNF
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) threw two touchdown passes in a win against the Detroit Lions Monday in Green Bay, Wisc. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The Detroit Lions were on the wrong end of some controversial penalties Monday night in a narrow loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Green Bay (5-1) pulled off the NFC North victory, 23-22, when kicker Mason Crosby hit a 23-yard field goal against Detroit (2-2-1) as time expired at the Packers' Lambeau Field.

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The Packers benefited from multiple questionable calls against Lions lineman Trey Flowers at crucial points in the game. Flowers was called for illegal hands to the face twice in the fourth quarter. Instant replay revealed the Lions defender never touched the opposition on the face during the plays, which prolonged drives and allowed the Packers to put points on the board.

"I was working the move ... yeah ... they saw something different than what actually happened, and they called what they thought they saw," Flowers told reporters.

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Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 24 of 39 passes for 283 yards, two scores and an interception in the win. The Packers out-gained the Lions 170 yards to 56 yards on the ground.

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"I felt like we still had a chance [late in the game]," Rodgers said. "I felt like we moved the ball well all night, we just hurt ourselves with some penalties. Obviously we turned the ball over ... We had the confidence we could move the ball. We just had to execute."

The Lions had control of the game from the opening whistle. Matt Prater hit a 26-yard field goal on the game's opening drive for a 3-0 lead. Lions running back Kerryon Johnson had a 1-yard rushing score on Detroit's next drive. Prater hit another field goal at the start of the second quarter for a 13-0 edge.

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The Packers responded on their first drive of the second quarter, with Rodgers hitting Jamaal Williams with a 5-yard touchdown toss. Crosby hit a 37-yard field goal for Green Bay on the Packers' next drive to close the gap to three points at halftime.

Crosby scored another field goal on the first drive of the second half to tie the score at 13-13. Prater kicked two field goals in the third quarter to give the lead back to the Lions and added a 54-yard kick in the fourth for a 22-13 edge.

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The Packers responded with a 7-play, 74-yard touchdown drive, which appeared to stall at the Detroit 45 yard line when the Lions sacked Rodgers on third down for an 11-yard loss -- but referees called the first flag on Flowers, resulting in a first down. Rodgers hit Allen Lazard for a 35-yard touchdown three plays later.

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The Packers forced the Lions to punt on the next drive. Rodgers conducted a 14-play, 72-yard drive before Crosby hit the winning kick. The Packers benefited from another flag during that possession, with Flowers being called for the same penalty after the Lions defense appeared to have forced a 3-and-out. The penalty resulted in a first down, allowing the Packers to take time off the clock before the kick, not giving the Lions offense a chance to respond.

"The umpire threw both of them," referee Clete Blakeman said. "The last one was really the only one I've discussed with him. Basically, it's for illegal use of the hands, hands-to-the-face foul. To be a foul, we basically need to see some forceful contact that prolonged to the head and neck area of the defender.

"So, in his mind he had pinned him back, it was prolonged, and that's what created the foul."

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Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 18 of 32 passes for 265 yards in the loss. Kenny Golladay had a game-high 121 yards on five catches for Detroit.

The Packers host the Oakland Raiders and the Lions host the Minnesota Vikings, in another NFC North affair, at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday.

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