DETROIT – Injuries took their toll on the Packers' roster during Sunday's 15-9 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
In total, eight players exited with injuries: Running back Aaron Jones (ankle), linebacker Rashan Gary (knee), receivers Christian Watson (concussion evaluation) and Romeo Doubs (ankle), cornerback Eric Stokes (ankle/knee), linebacker Krys Barnes (concussion evaluation) and offensive linemen David Bakhtiari (knee) and Jon Runyan (knee).
Of those eight, only Runyan and Bakhtiari returned. Runyan came back after sitting out one series in the first half, while Bakhtiari's only second-half snaps came on the final two-minute drive of the game.
"It just seems like that's been the theme of the year in a sense," said receiver Allen Lazard , who was questionable himself coming in with a shoulder injury. "But it's the game of football. It's the thing we signed up for. You just gotta bounce back from adversity."
The injuries led to a lot of mixing and matching on both sides of the ball, with rookie offensive lineman Zach Tom playing right guard in Runyan's stead before moving to left tackle for Bakhtiari after halftime.
Doubs caught the first pass of the game, an 18-yard completion off play-action, before being carted to the locker room. In the second quarter, Watson was then lost for the remainder of the game after being hit at the end of a 6-yard completion.
The Packers lost Jones with less than seven minutes left in the third quarter after injuring his ankle on Mike Hughes' tackle. He said X-rays came back "fine," but the team still chose to hold him out the remainder of the contest.
"It was frustrating because I felt like I could have went, but they were being smart," said Jones, who finished with 45 total yards on 11 touches. "I definitely respect them because after I stopped moving around and I sat still for a while, it got kind of sore. I respect them."
Defensively, both Gary and Stokes were carted to the locker room. Stokes was injured on the first play of the Lions' second offensive series.
The domino effect in the secondary saw Rasul Douglas shift to the perimeter, with Keisean Nixon moving into the slot in the nickel and dime sub-packages.
Barnes, who led Green Bay with eight tackles, was injured with six minutes left in the fourth quarter following a collision with D'Andre Swift. It was the third-year linebacker's first game back after injuring his ankle against Minnesota in Week 1.
It made for a long afternoon for the Packers, who already entered the game without starting linebacker De'Vondre Campbell.
Several young players stepped up, though. Rookie Quay Walker had five tackles (one for a loss), while filling Campbell's void as the "Mike" linebacker. Tight end Josiah Deguara also caught a career-high five passes.
Rookie Samori Toure, fresh off his first NFL touchdown last week in Buffalo, hauled in a 32-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers on fourth-and-2 that gave Green Bay first down at the Detroit 17 with 1 minute, 2 seconds remaining.
It was the final pass Rodgers would complete, though, as the Packers ended up turning the ball over on downs after the reigning MVP's end-zone pass for Sammy Watkins fell incomplete.
"At the end of the day, I'm really proud of our receiving room especially," said Lazard, who finished with four catches for a game-high 87 yards. "I thought we fought hard all game, thought we played very well. Obviously, we didn't get the win and everything but seeing guys step up, especially when guys go down and everything was very encouraging."
See scenes from the Sunday afternoon matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Nov. 6, 2022.
Another TD: Lazard caught his team-leading fifth touchdown of the season, which accounted for the Packers' only score.
It came on a 20-yard reception with 5 minutes left in the third quarter that pulled Green Bay within two points of Detroit, 8-6, after a failed two-point conversion.
It's the fifth touchdown Lazard has caught in six games this season. He has 10 total TDs in his last 12 regular-season games dating back to last season.
"It was kind of cool. I drew up the play kind of in the huddle and everything," said Lazard of his touchdown. "I'm surprised '12' even called it. It was great and very encouraging for me and the offense to finally get in the end zone, to be able to cap off that drive the way we were able to do."
Alexander's third: In the third quarter, Jaire Alexander established a new career high with his third interception of the year.
The All-Pro cornerback sniped a pass from Jared Goff that was intended for Amon-Ra St. Brown and returned it 29 yards to the Lions' 23-yard line.
Unfortunately, the Packers gave the ball right back when Rodgers had a deep pass intended for Robert Tonyan intercepted in Detroit's end zone.
"It's football. It is what it is," said defensive lineman Kenny Clark about the two quick turnovers. "They get paid too and they make plays."