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GREEN BAY 37, DETROIT 31

Lions Give Packers a Tussle

September 23, 2002|From Associated Press

DETROIT — The stadium and the quarterback were different. The result was the same.

For the second consecutive season, the Green Bay Packers built a comfortable fourth-quarter lead on the road against the Detroit Lions, but had to hold off a late comeback by a rookie quarterback to win.

Brett Favre threw for 357 yards and three touchdowns as Green Bay beat the Lions, 37-31, Sunday, spoiling the first start by rookie Joey Harrington and the first regular-season game at Ford Field.

"I learned a long time ago: Don't ever pack it in and think it's over," Favre said. "You just never know."

Green Bay (2-1) led by 17 early in the final quarter, but Detroit (0-3) scored two touchdowns, including a 52-yard pass play to James Stewart with 1:37 left to cut the deficit to 34-31.

An offside penalty negated the Lions' recovery of an onside kick, and they were unable to recover their second attempt. Ryan Longwell's 47-yard field goal with 1:15 left put Green Bay ahead, 37-31.

With the crowd chanting "Jo-ey! Jo-ey!" Harrington tried to direct his first fourth-quarter comeback in the NFL, after doing so 10 times at Oregon.

Detroit got the ball at the Packer 48 with 1:03 left after two offside penalties on Green Bay.

After throwing a 14-yard pass to Scotty Anderson, Harrington lofted a pass just past Mikhael Ricks' fingers on what would have been a touchdown.

"I was hoping he'd miss that," Favre said. "I didn't want to go back out. I had enough."

On the next play, Tod McBride intercepted Harrington's overthrown pass at the Green Bay three with 30 seconds left.

Last year at the Pontiac Silverdome, Mike McMahon led the Lions to two touchdowns in the final seven minutes to scare the Packers before losing, 29-27.

"There's no consolation in this league," said Marty Mornhinweg, who is 2-17 as Detroit's head coach.

Harrington finished 15 for 35 for 182 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.

"I did some good things. I did some bad things," Harrington said. "It was a chance to grow. It will come."

Favre completed 31 of 47 passes, and on his first of three touchdown passes, he moved past Warren Moon for fourth on the NFL's all-time list with 292.

"If they have to lean on me, I don't mind," said Favre, who also threw an interception and fumbled.

Green Bay played without injured running back Ahman Green, out with a quadriceps injury. Rookie Najeh Davenport ran for 84 yards in 22 carries.

Bubba Franks caught nine passes--after catching one in the first two games--for 62 yards and a touchdown. Donald Driver caught five for 94 yards and a touchdown.

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