Down by three at halftime, Green Bay was probably wondering if they’d start their season 0-2; But then they remembered that they were playing the Detroit Lions, who had been unbeaten in four games over the previous two seasons, and who at the time enjoyed an all-time lead of 104-72-7. It has 105 wins for the Packers now, thanks in part to the Aarons leading the way.
Aaron Jones had three of Aaron Rodgers’ four touchdown passes and scrambled for a fourth, and the players returned to normal after an embarrassing opening week loss, defeating the Lions 35-17 on Monday night.
Green Bay won the opening game (1-1) for the ninth consecutive year. The Packers, who lost 38-3 by the New Orleans Saints in the first week, looked more like the team that went 13-3 in all two seasons to coach Matt Lafleur.
Rodgers went 22 of 27 for 255 yards and beat John Elway for 10th all-time in passing yards with 51,633. Rodgers followed up on each of his last five regular season losses by throwing four touchdown passes and no interceptions in his next game.
Jones became the first back-runner to have three touchdown passes in a game since Andy Oram against the Chicago Cardinals in 1942. He had 17 carry-ons for 67 yards and six passes for 48 yards.
Detroit’s Jared Gough completed 13 of his first 14 passes but struggled the rest of the way as the Lions (0-2) blasted a 17-14 lead in the first half. Gauff finished 26 of 36 for 246 yards. He made the call in touchdown passes to Quintez Cephus and TJ Hockenson but also threw in an interception and lost in confusion.
Green Bay scored landings on its first three possessions in the second half to seize control.
The Packers faced third and 12th in the opening series of the second inning when Rodgers threw a 50-yard finish to Davante Adams, who finished the night with eight catches for 121 yards.
Rising Lions linebacker Ifeatu Melifonwu injured his thigh in the play, creating a secondary weakening already lost cornerback Jeff Okudah to rupture his Achilles tendon in Detroit’s season-opening loss to San Francisco 49ers.
Green Bay dominated the rest of the way.
Rodgers capped that drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Robert Tonian. Detroit’s next streak ended when Gauff threw a shortfall of fourth and one-place finishes from Green Bay 25.
Rodgers threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jones to extend the Packers lead to 28-17.
Green Bay’s Krys Barnes recovered Goff’s stumble at Detroit 23 in the Lions’ next snap. Jones scored a 1 yard walk and that was it.
Saint Brown vs Saint Brown
The Packers activated the Equanimeous St. wide receiver. Brown from the coaching squad, giving him the opportunity to play against his younger brother. The Lions chose receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown of Southern California in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Amon-Ra had the best base line with three receptions for 18 yards, while Equanimeous had one catch with no gain.
Change packet line
Green Bay’s Lucas Patrick, who started in the left guard against New Orleans, was active after breaking out of concussion protocol. But he was not in the field for the inaugural series.
John Runyan Jr. was in the left guard position instead on the first start to his career in the sixth round of 2020. Runyan’s father was an All-Pro team who went on to represent New Jersey in Congress from 2011 to 2015.
Lions: Host Baltimore (1-1) on Sunday. The Ravens exit Sunday night’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Packers: In San Francisco (2-0) Sunday night. This will be the fourth time the Packers have played in the last three seasons in San Francisco. They won last season 34-17. Two years ago, the Packers lost 37-8 to 49 players in the regular season and 37-20 in the NFC Championship game.