GREEN BAY, Wis. – James Jones wouldn’t be denied a Lambeau leap after a long touchdown catch.
So when a Lions fan – sitting in enemy territory, no less – pushed him out of the stands, the Packers receiver tried to make the traditional celebratory jump one more time. Success.
His 83-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter was just the big-play spark the Packers needed to liven up an offense that otherwise settled for field goals in a 22-9 win Sunday over the undermanned Detroit Lions.
“Yeah, man, a Detroit Lion fan pushed me out of there one time,” Jones said. “I had to double jump.”
Mason Crosby kicked five field goals. The defense contained Reggie Bush and took advantage of an offense playing without star receiver Calvin Johnson, who had missed a couple days of practice last week with a knee injury.
With Megatron out, Jones stole the show with a highlight-reel catch.
Jones had a step on his man down the left sideline, and Aaron Rodgers delivered a perfectly timed throw. With another defensive back closing in around the 15, Jones turned right about 45 degrees to get into the end zone for a 16-3 lead with 3:12 left in the third quarter.
He took a bow while dancing on his heels. He’s glad he didn’t get caught.
“I was hoping, because I never would’ve heard the end of it from everybody in here,” said Jones, who finished with four catches for 127 yards and barely missed another long score after his foot grazed the sideline in the end zone.
The Packers (2-2) extended their winning streak in Wisconsin over the Lions (3-2) to 23.
Rodgers was 20-for-30 for 274 yards, and Eddie Lacy ran for 99 yards on 23 carries in his return from a concussion.
The Packers recorded five sacks, including one from Clay Matthews before he left with a broken thumb.
Reggie Bush was held to 44 yards rushing and 25 yards receiving. Matthew Stafford finished 25-for-40 for 262 yards.
“We didn’t get it done well enough today – offense, defense, or special teams,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “With or without Calvin, that was the story of the game – not whether Calvin played or not.”
But the wideout was still clearly missed.
Still, the Lions trailed by just 16 late because Green Bay had to settle for field goals. They drove to the Packers 30 with 7:16 left before three straight incompletions left them headed back to the sideline.
Detroit especially felt Johnson’s absence then. A pass attempt on fourth-and-3 went awry after Kris Durham slipped on the turf.
Schwartz declined to offer more details on the extent of Johnson’s injury. He missed his first regular-season game since 2010.
Stafford said he had an inkling Saturday that Johnson might be out.
“He’s one of the guys on our team that can stretch the field,” Stafford said. “I know he wanted to be out there. It’s a tough situation we were in.”
The Lions’ only touchdown came late when Stafford found Durham for a 13-yard score.
“Just being able to keep them in short and intermediate passes definitely helped us out,” linebacker Mike Neal said. “Calvin’s a big part of their game plan, and without him, I think they put a lot on other guys. It was a big plus for us.”