Packers vs Lions score takeaway: Detroit plays spoiler, ends Green Bay bid for playoff spot

The Green Bay Packers seemed to have done it all, from getting the help they needed from other teams to winning four straight games. However, the Detroit Lions prevented the Packers from completing the 4-8 9-8 turnaround and entering the playoffs with a 20-16 road win. Instead, the Seattle Seahawks take the final NFC wild card spot, and they will face 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 this season, breaking Hall of Famer Barry Sanders’ single-season record of 16 set in 1991. of the 17s came from a yard out, including the two tonight. Aaron Rodgers couldn’t find a rhythm, throwing for 205 yards, a touchdown and an interception on the Packers’ last offensive possession. The Lions managed to bleed the final at 3:27 after a fourth and a conversion on a play 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 it three. Green Bay was leading in the second quarter, but a fumble from running back Aaron Jones blocked that drive. Rodgers also appeared to be troubled by the Lions pass rush all night, tossing balls into the dirt or off target when flushed into the pocket. Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, the second pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, accounted for both Detroit sacks to take his season total to 9.5, the most among any rookie 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 is a strong case for Jared Goff remains Detroit’s starting quarterback for next season. The 28-year-old setter, the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, threw for 17 touchdowns and just one interception in his last 10 games, the league’s best interception touchdown down the stretch. Goff finished with 324 consecutive passes without an interception, the longest streak in Lions history.

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

Why the Lions won

They turned more of their moves into the red zone into touchdowns. Detroit had two scores inside 20 in their five red-zone getaways, Jamaal Williams’ two rushing touchdowns, and the Packers had just one, Rodgers’ passing touchdown to receiver Allen Lazard, on their two red zone opportunities. Detroit also played football without turnovers while Green Bay’s two Aarons, Rodgers and Jones, both had turnovers at key times. Winning the turnover battle and being more efficient in the red zone will more often than not lead to victory.

Why the Packers lost

Once again, the Packers’ offense failed to materialize when they needed it most. They ran away with field goals against the Miami Dolphins on Christmas Day thanks to Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa throwing three straight interceptions to end the game. However, their defense couldn’t get the final stop needed to recover Rodgers and the offense. It was shocking to see Rodgers having to be bailed out by his defense so regularly when the opposite was the case for most of his 14 years as the Packers’ starting quarterback. Whether it’s lingering issues from a broken thumb early in the season or turning 39 in the freezing cold at Lambeau Field, the way this season has unfolded leaves both Rodgers and the front Packers office a lot to think about when it comes to the quarterback position for Green Bay.

Turning

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 this at home at Lambeau Field in January ends with a victory for Green Bay. However, Lions rookie safety Kerby Joseph had other ideas, intercepting Rodgers’ third and 10th uplift on the right sideline. That pass ended up being the last Rodgers made in the 2022 season as Detroit bled time remaining on the clock, tipping the game. Joseph also became the first player to intercept Rodgers three times in a season after getting it twice in the Week 9 game.

Game of the game

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

And after

The Lions and Packers enter the offseason as the Seattle Seahawks slip into the seventh seed in the NFC, thanks to a 48-45 head-to-head win in Detroit over the Lions in Week 4. Detroit took a big step forward in its rebuilding under Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes. They will have two first-round picks in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft: the sixth overall pick, thanks to the latest first-round pick included in the Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff trade, and the 18th overall pick, their own selection.

Meanwhile, the Packers have the 15th overall pick, and they must also sort through the future of Rodgers and 2020 first-round quarterback Jordan Love as they consider 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 fourth. in the NFL in that span with 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, Chargers running back Austin Ekeler and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

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