The Green Bay Packers turned the ball over three times, fell behind 13-0 and still ended up with a victory over the Detroit Lions with the aid of some highly questionable penalty calls Monday night.
A pair of seemingly errant illegal hands to the face penalties against Lions defensive end Trey Flowers helped the Packers score 10 points in the final 10 minutes to give the Packers a 23-22 win over Detroit.
While the Lions didn’t make the most of the opportunities they had early in the game, the two penalty calls against Flowers will be an obvious focal point of this result. Flowers was twice called for illegal hands to the face against Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari. However, Flowers’ hands never got into the facemask of Bakhtiari on either occasion as he had a hold of Bakhtiari’s shoulder pads instead.
The first call came on a third-and-10 sack by Kevin Strong that would have forced a Packers punt. Instead, the drive continued and would result in points for the Packers. Three plays after the penalty on Flowers, Rodgers delivered a strike to Allen Lazard for a 35-yard touchdown that trimmed the Detroit lead to 22-20 with 9:03 remaining.
Then as the Lions burned their timeouts to preserve a final offensive chance for themselves ahead of a Mason Crosby field goal try to take the lead, Flowers was called for the same penalty again, and once again it came on third down to give Green Bay a fresh set of downs. After Jamaal Williams sat down shy of the goal line as Detroit tried to let him score, the Packers kneeled out the clock until Crosby could kick the game-winning 23-yard field goal as time expired to gave the Packers a 23-22 win.
The Lions certainly could have done more to make those plays not matter as much as they did, but the calls were unquestionably devastating to Detroit. And that doesn’t include a potential pass interference call by Green Bay that should have been called as well.
Each of the Lions’ first three possessions resulted in drives inside the Green Bay 10-yard line, but only one drive ended with a touchdown. Kerryon Johnson‘s 1-yard touchdown run and Matt Prater‘s two field goals from 26 and 22 yards out gave the Lions a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Williams would score on a 5-yard pass from Rodgers and Crosby would field goals of 37 and 48 yards to even the game at 13-13 at the break.
Prater would keep three second half field goals from 41, 51 and 54 yards as the Lions lead grew to 22-13. Then the Flowers’ penalties helped the Packers rally from 11 points down over the final 12 minutes to steal a victory away from Detroit.
Williams rushed for 104 yards on 14 carries for Green Bay as the Packers found themselves short-handed at receiver.
Kenny Golladay caught five passes for 121 yards for the Lions.
Detroit could have done more with their chances near the Green Bay goal line to put the game away. They had to settle for five field goals instead of touchdowns, but the calls in the fourth quarter will certainly be debated moving forward.