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Game recap: 5 takeaways from Packers' loss to Lions in Week 18

Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari
Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari

The Packers lost their regular-season finale on Sunday, 37-30 to the Lions at Ford Field.

Here are five takeaways from the defeat.

1. David Bakhtiari's long road back to the field wound up with a start, and solid outing, at left tackle.

Before Sunday, Bakhtiari hadn't played a game since Week 16 of last season, but a long, arduous rehab from his torn ACL on New Year's Eve 2020 culminated in starting at Ford Field and playing most of the first half.

"Long, long journey," Bakhtiari said after the game. "I was expecting to be back earlier. It was tough. Definitely wore mentally on me (more) than anything.

"So happy just to see the other side. I was really just pumped to be out there today. Just meant a lot."

It meant plenty to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, too, who wanted to get some game action with Bakhtiari before the playoffs and coaxed him into preparing to play this week even though that wasn't his original plan.

"I'm so proud of him. It seemed like he was fantastic," said Rodgers, who played the first half and threw two TD passes to Allen Lazard before giving way to Jordan Love.

"He's a great person and he makes our team better. Obviously he's an incredible player. To celebrate him and his happiness today is pretty special. Nothing like running out there and seeing 'The Big Giraffe.'"

2. Center Josh Myers was back, too, for the first time since Week 6.

The rookie second-round draft pick from Ohio State had been rehabbing a knee injury of his own for almost three months and got the start as a potential playoff tune-up.

With Myers at center, Lucas Patrick moved over to right guard in place of rookie Royce Newman. In the second half, Patrick went back to center and Newman played right guard.

Head Coach Matt LaFleur said everything would be evaluated with regard to the starting offensive line for the playoffs. He noted the biggest issue for both Bakhtiari and Myers was their conditioning in live game action, because it can't be simulated.

The team is slated to practice three times, Wednesday through Friday, during the playoff bye week, and those workouts will provide a good test coming off the game.

"I think with anyone that's coming back, you have to see how you respond from this," LaFleur said. "What does tomorrow look like? What does it feel like? We'll continue to work and monitor."

The Green Bay Packers faced the Detroit Lions in a Week 18 matchup on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.

3. The Lions dug into their bag of tricks and made the Packers pay.

The Lions, with two wins on the season coming in, had nothing to lose and played like it. They tried a fake punt early that didn't work, but then a pair of trick pass plays produced easy touchdowns covering 75 and 36 yards as Detroit took a 24-13 lead early in the third quarter.

LaFleur was not pleased the defense got burned so badly both times.

"Defensive football in general comes down to discipline, and people owning their roles, and when you aren't disciplined or you go outside the scheme, bad stuff happens," he said. "We cannot have that. We need all 11 doing their damn job. And if they don't, stuff like that happens."

The Packers rallied behind Love, who directed three scoring drives, the last a 62-yard touchdown pass on a tight end screen to Josiah Deguara. That gave the Packers a 30-27 lead with just under five minutes left.

But a mostly reserve unit on defense allowed the Lions to answer with a 75-yard touchdown drive, and then Love was intercepted on Green Bay's last two possessions in the final two minutes.

The first pick was bad luck, getting deflected multiple times and winding up in safety C.J. Moore's arms to set up a Lions field goal for a seven-point lead. The second was a bad throw, intercepted by safety Tracy Walker with 21 seconds left.

4. Davante Adams put himself in yet another place in the franchise record books.

With six catches for 55 yards, Adams ended the regular season with 123 receptions for 1,553 yards, both single-season franchise marks.

The one for catches was his own that he had already broken last week. The yards record had been 1,519, set by Jordy Nelson in 2014, and Adams topped it in 16 games, having missed one contest this season.

"He's a special, special player," Rodgers said. "He deserves it and that's what I told him at halftime is he really deserves this because of the way he conducts himself, the way he plays. Incredible talent and drive and I'm just so fortunate to be a part of it."

Adams wound up 14 yards shy of moving past Sterling Sharpe into third place on the franchise's all-time list for receiving yards. He's at 8,121 through eight seasons.

5. The Packers' focus now turns to the playoffs, with a bye and waiting to find out their opponent in the NFC Divisional round.

"We'll take this week to stay sharp mentally and hopefully heal up, rest up and just keep our mind on ball," LaFleur said. "Because we're at the point in the season where you get one crack at it and we've got to make every play count. We need everybody's best effort every day."

Green Bay is 13-4 with the No. 1 seed and will have home field throughout the postseason. Just like last season, which ultimately didn't go their way, the Packers need two victories at Lambeau Field to go to the Super Bowl.

"That's the focus every single year," Rodgers said, "and now it's right in front of us."