Coach Monte Clark didn't tell his Detroit Lions players to execute. Didn't drill them on the fundamental skills. Didn't bring out any fancy surprise plays.

He just told them to believe.

"I told them, 'You've got to believe in yourselves,' " Clark said.

And that, the players said, was the key to their 31-28 comeback victory over the Green Bay Packers today.

"Monte gave us a pregame talk," said quarterback Gary Danielson, who passed for 305 yards and three touchdowns. "It was one of his best ever, and we were ready to play."

The Lions spotted the Packers a two-touchdown lead but controlled the ball for 44:47.

"The defensive line really put the heat on them," said Clark. "That's how the whole thing works. You put presure on their quarterback, and that makes the coverage easier."

The defeat left the Packers 5-8 in the NFC Central and virtually knocked them out of playoff contention. The Lions are 4-8-1.

"That was probably the worst 60 minutes of defensive football I've seen. It was horrible," said Green Bay Coach Forrest Gregg. "This put us out of any hope for this year."

The Packers led, 21-17, at the half. But an interception by Bobby Watkins set up the Lions at their 19 with 8:49 left in the third quarter.

Danielson, who completed 24 of 33 with one interception, drove the Lions 81 yards in 16 plays, and fullback James Jones dived a yard for the go-ahead touchdown at 13:52.

Danielson hit Jeff Chadwick with a 21-yard touchdown pass at 8:45 of the fourth quarter.

Green Bay's Gerry Ellis scored on a 40-yard run, and Dickey passed to Paul Coffman for a 44-yard touchdown to put the Packers ahead, 14-0.

After Danielson and Dickey traded touchdown passes, Danielson and Lewis hooked up for a 21-yard touchdown and Eddie Murray kicked a 32-yard field goal to cut the lead to 21-17.

"You can't coast or glide in this league or you'll get your teeth kicked out," said Gregg, "and that's what happened today."