The last time Roell Preston had a big game for the Green Bay Packers, he was packing his bags 48 hours later.
Preston won't have to worry about a repeat after his 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown helped Green Bay beat the Detroit Lions 38-19 Sunday.Preston's score came just seconds after rookie Terry Fair's 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the last play of the third quarter, pulling the Lions to 24-19.
It was the first back-to-back kickoff TD returns in the NFL in 11 years.
"There will be plenty more," promised Preston, who returned to Green Bay to take care of unfinished business in the offseason.
Last year, he joined the team in November and set a team record with 211 kickoff return yards against Indianapolis but was waived two days later to make room for linebacker George Koonce, who returned from a knee injury.
"I'm happy for him," Packers coach Mike Holmgren said. "I think anyone who sticks with it like that, I think it's a great story.
"He has worked very hard to come back. Last year, that was a unique set of circumstances. We got some people back off injury and Roell got caught in a numbers game."
This year, it was Glyn Milburn who got caught in a numbers game.
The Lions traded Milburn to the Packers in April three days after taking Fair, a star at Tennessee, in the first round of the NFL draft.
But Preston, who signed for $238,000 and no bonus, beat out Milburn, who was traded to Chicago - and had an 88-yard touchdown return Sunday.
"I take my hat off to Glyn, I learned a lot from him when he was here," Preston said.
Preston and Fair overshadowed the first matchup of reigning MVPs in NFL history - Green Bay's Brett Favre and Detroit's Barry Sanders.
Sanders' streak of 14 consecutive regular-season 100-yard rushing games came to an end as he gained 70 yards in 17 carries, and Favre was a workmanlike 23-for-31 for 193 yards and a touchdown before hooking up with Antonio Freeman for an 84-yard TD toss with 1:53 left.
But the kick returners stole this show, with Preston one-upping Fair.
Fair returned six kickoffs for 244 yards, and Preston returned four for 163.
The Packers, winners of 28 straight at Lambeau Field, ran their streak to 37 quarters without allowing a TD pass before Scott Mitchell's 25-yard scoring strike in the third quarter to Herman Moore, who caught nine passes for 100 yards despite a torn groin muscle.
The TD capped a drive that began at the 50 thanks to Fair's 49-yard return. But Mitchell's 2-point conversion pass failed, leaving the Lions down 17-12.
The Packers ate up nearly 10 minutes on an 18-play, 85-yard drive capped with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Free-man.
The Lions answered in a flash.
Fair returned the kickoff 101 yards and the Lions were down just 24-19 entering the fourth quarter.
Preston matched the magic with a return that began with him winding through tacklers and ended with him gyrating to the fans and diving into the end zone.
The Packers jumped to a 17-3 lead, turning Detroit's first possession into seven points.
On fourth-and-inches from his 41, Mitchell tried a sneak, but he was spun around by tackle Santana Dotson. Linebacker Brian Williams stripped the ball and Butler scooped it up, rumbling 32 yards for a 10-0 lead.