The Detroit Lions may not have any playoffs on the line, but they weren’t going to let the Green Bay Packers skip into the postseason with ease. Detroit got off to a slow start, but the. defense kept them in it early. The offense finally got to life and with a couple of clutch plays down the stretch, the Lions pulled off the upset and won 20-16 in a huge win for the franchise, even if they didn’t make the playoffs.
The Lions won the toss and deferred, giving the Packers the first opportunity to get on the board. Green Bay picked up a couple of first downs on some misdirection plays to get to midfield. Aaron Rodgers then targeted Allen Lazard deep, and Jerry Jacobs got flagged for a 46-yard pass interference call. But Detroit held strong inside the 5-yard line and held the Packers to a field goal. 3-0 Packers.
The Lions couldn’t respond on their opening drive, quickly going three-and-out after two wobbly Jared Goff throws fell incomplete. But then the Lions offense got a little help from their defense.
The Packers got a little aggressive, going for it on fourth-and-inches from their own 29-yard line. Alex Anzalone read the play like a book, and took down Lazard for a loss.
The Lions would pick up a first down, but that’s it. Michael Badgley was good from 37, resulting in an early 3-3 tie.
The Packers continued to move the ball slowly on the ground. However, they connected on a big 27-yard gain to Christian Watson down to the Lions’ 25-yard line. However, the Lions defense would again stand tall, with Aidan Hutchinson notching 8.5 sacks on the season to end Green Bay’s drive.
Mason Crosby was good from 49 yards to make it 6-3 Packers.
The Lions offense looked like they were finally getting things going, but an Amon-Ra St. Brown’s 15-yard catch was reversed upon replay, and Detroit was forced to punt.
The Packers converted a key third-and-4 by finding Robert Tonyan for 20 yards, putting Green Bay in field goal position.
But Hutchison tallied his second sack of the game—again on third down—forcing another long field goal from Crosby. 9-3 Packers.
The Lions hit on a 66-yard flea flicker to Jameson Williams, but it was called back to a pretty obvious holding call on Matt Nelson. But Detroit was able to still get the ball moving. Josh Reynolds picked up 16 on a nice pass play, and then D’Andre Swift picked up a third-and-6 with a nice draw play. But a negative play from Swift got them behind the sticks, and Michael Badgley missed a 46-yard field goal to keep the Packers ahead 6.
Green Bay drove to midfield, and it appeared the Lions got a stop. But Lions rookie James Houston jumped offsides on a fourth-and-6 attempt, and the Packers easily converted on fourth-and-1 to keep the drive alive.
However, the Lions got a key turnover after John Cominsky punched the loose ball from Aaron Jones with 1:16 left in the half.
Detroit methodically picked up a couple of first downs thanks to St. Brown and Kalif Raymond. A pass to Swift gained another 19 and moved into Packers territory, but it bled the clock all the way down within 10 seconds, as Dan Campbell opted not to use the team’s final timeout at that moment. A quick pass to St. Brown gave Badgley an opportunity to redeem himself with a 48-yard field goal. But a personal foul on Green Bay on the field goal gave Badgley a much easier attempt, which he made. 9-6 Packers.
The Lions offense remained in neutral, quickly going three-and-out after a couple of inaccurate Goff passes.
Meanwhile, Aaron Jones kicked off the Packers with a 17-yard rush, breaking several tackles along the way. Rodgers then found Lazard for 15 to get into Lions territory. But Kerby Joseph had a nice pass breakup—and near pick. Eventually the Packers attempted a 53-yard field goal, but Crosby hit the crossbar and it bounced short.
The Lions offense took over at the 43-yard line. Jamaal Williams—who crossed over 1,000 yards for the season earlier in the game—picked up 13 yards on the first down. And then Goff went deep to Kalif Raymond for 43 yards.
Then Williams punched it in for the touchdown, tying the Lions rushing touchdowns in a single season record, and making it a 13-9 Lions ballgame.
The Packers offense answered. Rodgers took a deep shot to Christian Watson, who held onto the ball with Amani Oruwariye clinging to him for a 45-yard gain down to the 14-yard line.
Two plays later Rodgers hit Lazard for a go-ahead touchdown. 16-13 Packers.
The Lions quickly went three-and-out after Jameson Williams dropped a critical second-down throw that would have put Detroit into Packers territory.
Kerby Joseph appeared to pick off Aaron Rodgers for a game-changing play, but defensive lineman John Cominsky was correctly called for an illegal hands to the face penalty that negated the play and gave Green Bay a first down, as the game turned over into the fourth quarter.
The Lions defense got a stop to start the quarter, with James Houston tracking down Rodgers before he was able to scramble for a first down.
Goff took over on his own 25-yard line to start. A pass to St. Brown and a run to Williams picked up back-to-back first downs and moved to the 50-yard line. A screen to Swift picked up another first down. But Detroit stalled after choosing to run a draw play on third-and-8. Swift picked up six, setting up a fourth-and-2. Rather than going for a 43-yard field goal, the Lions went for it and DJ Chark picked it up, down to the Packers 22-yard line.
An odd moment happened shortly thereafter, as Packers linebacker Quay Walker got ejected from the game after he shoved a Lions athletic trainer who was tending to an injured D’Andre Swift.
A few plays later, Jamaal Williams set the franchise record for rushing TDs in a season and gave it Lions lead 20-16 with six minutes left.
Kerby Joseph FINALLY got one that counted a few plays into the Packers drive, as he picked off Rodgers on a floating ball. Joseph returned it back to the Packers 45-yard line to give Detroit the ball with a chance to put the game away with 3:27 left.
The Lions picked up an early first down with a ridiculous Amon-Ra St. Brown butt catch. A holding penalty pushed them out of field goal range, but a tricky hook and ladder got them back into field goal range, with a chance to convert a third-and-3 for the win.
Detroit ran the ball and came up 1.5 yards short, giving them a tough decision. Kick a field goal, go up 7 with less than 1:10 left, or go for it and try to put the game away. Detorit went for it and DJ Chark picked up the necessary yards for the win.
What a finish to the season!