Pro Bowl running back Dorsey Levens returned to the Green Bay Packers’ lineup Sunday after a 10-week absence, but the play of most of his teammates was also ragged and rusty.
The heavily-favored Packers needed career days from two reserves--running back Darick Holmes and wide receiver Bill Schroeder--to beat the lowly Philadelphia Eagles, 24-16.
Holmes rushed for a career-best 163 yards in 26 carries and Schroeder caught five passes for a career-high 128 yards in his first NFL start as the Packers (8-4) held off the Eagles (2-10).
The Packers got Levens and wide receiver Derrick Mayes back, but lost Antonio Freeman (fractured jaw), the NFL’s leader in receiving yards, and Pro Bowl tight end Mark Chmura (ankle) with injuries in the second half. Coach Mike Holmgren said he didn’t know if either would be available for next week’s game at Tampa Bay.
“I’m talking now,” Freeman said. “That’s encouraging.”
Green Bay, an 18-point favorite, trailed 13-10 in the third quarter after third-string quarterback Koy Detmer, making his first NFL start, guided the Eagles on two long scoring drives that he capped with touchdown passes of 16 and four yards to Jeff Graham.
Detmer, who started in place of injured Bobby Hoying, turned and taunted the Packers, who responded with a Brett Favre-to-Freeman touchdown that gave them the lead for good at 17-13.
“One play doesn’t make you a superstar in this league,” said Freeman, who made a superstar-type play when he faked out both Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent on the 33-yard touchdown play.
Levens, who broke his right leg Sept. 13 against Tampa Bay, had six yards in six carries.