GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — It took Mason Crosby 13 seasons to perform his first Lambeau Leap.
The 35-year-old kicker nailed a 23-yard field goal as time expired and jumped into the crowd with a boost from long snapper Hunter Bradley after he finished off a rally for the Green Bay Packers, who benefited from some questionable officiating to edge the Detroit Lions 23-22 on Monday night.
“That was fun, yeah,” Crosby said of leaping into the crowd. “That feeling, once you get up in the stands, the energy in there and teammates and everyone’s around, that’s something I’ll always remember. That was great.”
Aaron Rodgers, in his second straight game without top target Davante Adams, completed 24 of 39 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns, including a beautiful 35-yard throw to Allen Lazard for the second-year pro’s first career score.
“I actually sit next to him in the team meetings,” Rodgers said of Lazard, who was cut by the Packers in August and then signed to the practice squad to start the season. “We’ve struck up a pretty good friendship.
“The thing that got me was, which you love as a quarterback, and that’s when your receiver’s coming back and telling you he wants the ball and what route he wants to run. … That was him coming back in the huddle, telling me what play he wanted, and for a young guy to do that, how can you not have confidence in that?”
Rodgers linked up with Jamaal Williams for the other TD. Williams finished with 104 yards on 14 carries and four catches for 32 yards for Green Bay (5-1), which captured its first win in five tries against its NFC North rival.
The Packers, who are off to their first 3-0 start in the NFC North since 2012, might not have pulled it off if not for two fourth-quarter penalties for illegal hands to the face against Detroit’s Trey Flowers, both of them on third down. The first set up Lazard’s touchdown, and the second allowed Green Bay to run the clock down to 2 seconds before Crosby’s game-winner. In both cases, replays showed Flowers’ hands on the neck or shoulder — not the face — of a Packers lineman.
“I actually changed the position of my hand, because it was to the chest initially,” Flowers said. “I was doing it all game. I didn’t know that was a flag to the chest, so I changed it. And he called it again.
“I didn’t think hands to the chest was a penalty. I thought hands to the face, but I had him right here in the chest. The second time I changed it. … That’s part of a move that I do. So, nah, I don’t think that was a penalty.”
Referee Clete Blakeman said each of the calls was made by umpire Jeff Rice, and he discussed the last one with him.
“Basically, it’s for illegal use of the hands, hands-to-the-face foul,” Blakeman told a pool reporter. “To be a foul, we basically need some forceful contact that’s 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.”
Matt Prater was good from 26, 22, 41, 51 and 54 yards for the Lions (2-2-1), who fell to 0-2 under Matt Patricia on Monday night. Detroit lost its last Monday night game to the Jets 48-17 last year.
“We got to find a way to finish,” said Kenny Golladay, who had 121 yards on five catches for Detroit. “That’s a big part of it right now. Find a way to finish. We left a lot of points out there. We were in the red zone quite a bit and just coming out with field goals. That’s tough, especially when you’ve got a guy, a quarterback on the other side that you, you’ve got to finish.”
Matthew Stafford finished 18 of 32 for 265 yards and was sacked three times.
Kerryon Johnson scored the lone touchdown for the Lions from 1 yard out in the first quarter.
Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith each had a sack for Green Bay. Preston Smith and Kyler Fackrell combined for the other.
Rodgers was sacked once by Damon Harrison Sr. and threw an interception that bounced off the facemask of an open Derrius Shepherd near the goal line. James Coleman snagged the ball returned it 55 yards, setting up Prater’s last field goal that made it 22-13.
3,000 YARDS AND RUNNING
Rodgers surpassed 3,000 career rushing yards on a 12-yard run in the fourth quarter. He’s the 13th Packers player to reach the milestone.
Packers: WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling had his right leg bend under him on a tackle in the second quarter. He was able to walk off under his own power. WR Geronimo Allison was carted off the field following a helmet-to-helmet hit by Tracy Walker on the first play of the third quarter. He did not return. Allison was being evaluated for a chest injury and a concussion.
Lions: Host the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 20.
Packers: Host the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 20.