Packers vs. Lions score, takeaways: Detroit plays spoiler, ends Green Bay’s bid for postseason berth

The Green Bay Packers seemed to have everything going their way from the help they needed from other teams to win four games in a row. However, the Detroit Lions prevented the Packers from completing the turnaround from 4-8 to 9-8 and into the playoffs with a 20-16 road win. Instead, the Seattle Seahawks take the final NFC wild card spot, and they will play the second-seeded San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Wild Card round. The Lions are the first NFC North team since the 2018 Lions to sweep the Green Bay Packers.

Former Packer Jamaal Williams scored the Lions’ only touchdowns, both 1-yard scores, to hit 17 rushing touchdowns on the season, breaking Hall of Famer Barry Sanders’ single-season record of 16 sets in 1991. Ten of the 17 came from a yard out, including both tonight. Aaron Rodgers couldn’t quite find a rhythm, throwing for 205 yards, one touchdown, and an interception on the Packers’ final offensive possession. The Lions were able to bleed the final 3:27 off the clock following a fourth-and-1 conversion on a play-action pass from quarterback Jared Goff to receiver DJ Chark.

The Packers had their chances, but they couldn’t capitalize, settling for four field goals and making three. Green Bay was driving in the second quarter, but a fumble from running back Aaron Jones stopped that drive. Rodgers also appeared to be flustered by the Lions’ pass rush all night, throwing balls into the dirt or off target when flushed in the pocket. Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, the second overall draft pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, accounted for both Detroit sacks to run his season total to 9.5, the most among all rookies this season.

Even though the Lions didn’t make the playoffs this season, a 9-8 record, it was Detroit’s first winning season since 2017. Plus Sunday night’s win caps a strong case for Jared Goff to remain as Detroit’s starting quarterback entering next season. The 28-year-old passer, the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, threw 17 touchdowns and only one interception in their last 10 games, the best touchdown-to-interception in the entire league down the stretch. Goff finished with 324 consecutive passes without an interception, the longest streak in Lions history.

Now, all eyes turn to the 39-year-old Rodgers, who has said repeatedly that he plans to go year-to-year with his playing career. If Sunday night was the final game of his career, Rodgers would retire with the most passing touchdowns in franchise history, 475, as well as NFL MVPs, four, including each of the last two. Both of the NFC North teams that played Sunday will now enter the offseason, albeit with very different outlooks.

Why the Lions won

They turned more of their red zone trips into touchdowns. Detroit got two scores inside the 20 on their five red zone jaunts, both rushing touchdowns from Jamaal Williams, and the Packers only got one, Rodgers’ passing touchdown to receiver Allen Lazard, on their two red zone opportunities. Detroit also played turnover-free football while Green Bay’s two Aaron’s, Rodgers and Jones, both had turnovers at key moments. Winning the turnover battle and being more efficient in the red zone will lead to victory more often than not.

Why the Packers lost

Once again, the Packers offense failed to come through when they needed it most. They got away with kicking field goals against the Miami Dolphins on Christmas Day thanks to Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa throwing three consecutive interceptions to end the game. However, their defense could not get the one last stop required to get Rodgers and the offense the ball back. It was jarring seeing Rodgers needing to get bailed out by his defense so routinely when the opposite has been the case for most of his 14 years as the Packers’ starting quarterback. Whether it’s lingering issues from an early-season thumb fracture or being 39 years old in the freezing cold at Lambeau Field, the way this season unfolded leaves both Rodgers and the Packers front office a lot to think about when it comes to the quarterback position for Green. Bay.

Turning point

With just over three-and-a-half minutes left in the game, Rodgers and the Packers offense had the ball, trailing 20-16. More often than not, a game like that at home at Lambeau Field in January ends up as a Green Bay victory. However, Lions rookie safety Kerby Joseph had other ideas, intercepting Rodgers’ third-and-10 pass down the right sideline. That pass ended up being the last one Rodgers made in the 2022 season as Detroit bled the remaining time on the clock, swinging the game. Joseph also became the first player ever to intercept Rodgers three times in a season after getting him twice in the Week 9 matchup.

Play of the game

It wasn’t flashy, but it was a game-sealer. After Lions head coach Dan Campbell built his team’s reputation on smashmouth football and “biting kneecaps”, he trusted Goff to stand alone in the shotgun and fire a dart at Chark to end the game. It’s a play like this that could mean much, much more for both Goff’s and Campbell’s futures in the Motor City.

What’s next

Both the Lions and the Packers enter the offseason as the Seattle Seahawks slide into the NFC’s seventh seed, courtesy of their 48-45 head-to-head win in Detroit over the Lions in Week 4. Detroit took a big step forward in its rebuild. under Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes. They will have two first round picks in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft: the sixth overall pick, courtesy of the final first rounder included in the Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff swap, and the 18th overall pick, their own selection.

Meanwhile, the Packers have the 15th overall pick, and they also have to sort out both Rodgers’ and 2020 first round pick quarterback Jordan Love’s futures as they contemplate their best path forward. Green Bay can take solace in their defensive turnaround since Week 13, and rookie wide receiver Christian Watson, their 2022 second-round pick, turning a corner and scoring eight scrimmage touchdowns from Weeks 10-18, tied for the fourth-most in the NFL in that span with 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, Chargers running back Austin Ekeler, and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Leave a Comment