GREEN BAY, WIS., DEC. 22 -- The Detroit Lions left the Green Bay Packers out in the cold today. And out of the NFL playoffs.

Barry Sanders ran six yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:37 left and Ray Crockett returned a fumble recovery for a score earlier in the fourth quarter as the Lions beat the Packers, 24-17, in the coldest game at Lambeau Field since the 1967 "Ice Bowl."

The Packers (6-9) lost their fourth straight and were eliminated from contention for the third NFC wild-card spot. The Lions (6-9) are already out of the playoff picture.

Game-time temperature was 2 degrees, with wind of 23 mph. The wind chill was minus 28.

"Once you're out there, no matter how much you put on, you're still cold. You try to block it out, but you can't," said Crockett, who ended Green Bay's final threat with an interception.

Crockett's freak 22-yard fumble return with 10:42 left tied the game at 17. Green Bay's Ed West caught a pass, but the ball popped into the air after he hit the ground and flipped on his back. Crockett caught the ball before it hit the ground and ran in for the touchdown.

Green Bay's Michael Haddix fumbled at the Detroit 26 with 7:32 left and Detroit's Chris Spielman recovered. Sanders, who carried 19 times for 133 yards, then ran 37 yards to the Packers 13. Three plays later, he sprinted around the right side for the go-ahead score.

Third-string quarterback Blair Kiel, making his second start in six seasons, moved Green Bay to the Lions 14 in the closing minutes. But Crockett intercepted at the goal line with 1:51 remaining.

"I really thought we were going to score on that last drive," said Kiel, who completed 20 of 36 passes for 239 yards. "The field was very icy in the middle, but we can't use that as an excuse. We just did not do it -- again."


Green Bay...7...0...10...0...17