GREEN BAY – The Packers blew their shot at the playoffs by falling to the Lions, 20-16 on Sunday night at Lambeau Field.
Detroit had nothing to play for, having been eliminated earlier in the day by Seattle's win. The Packers had a playoff berth on the line and let it get away, sending the Seahawks to the postseason as the NFC's No. 7 seed.
The Packers blew several scoring chances, settling for field goals in the first half and then fumbling late in the first half in scoring territory. Dropped passes and poor discipline penalties added up to the Lions taking control with two touchdown drives in the second half, and Green Bay's last possession ended in an interception by S Kerby Joseph on a deep ball against an all-out blitz on third down.
The Lions then ran out the remaining clock, converting on fourth down in the red zone before kneeling it out. Detroit finished the season 9-8.
For the Packers, QB Aaron Rodgers was 17-of-27 for 205 yards with one TD, one INT and an 83.1 passer rating. Rookie WR Christian Watson had five catches for 104 yards, and WR Allen Lazard had four catches for 41 yards and a TD. RB Aaron Jones had 12 carries for 48 yards, and RB AJ Dillon had nine carries for 33 yards.
For the Lions, QB Jared Goff was 23-of-34 for 224 yards and an 85.9 passer rating, while former Packers RB Jamaal Williams had 16 carries for 72 yards and two TDs, finishing the season with a Detroit record 17 rushing TDs, breaking Barry Sanders' team mark. WR Kalif Raymond had four catches for 66 yards, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown had six catches for 49 yards, and RB D'Andre Swift had seven grabs for 61 yards. Swift added six carries for 25 yards on the ground.
Here's a recap of all the action:
Packers lead Lions 6-3 after first quarter
The Lions won the opening coin toss and deferred. Green Bay came out with a Christian Watson 6-yard end-around and then a 9-yard Aaron Jones run up the middle. After a 13-yard play-action pass to Watson, Allen Lazard drew a 46-yard defensive pass interference penalty against Jerry Jacobs.
The Packers weren't able to punch it in, though, settling for a 21-yard Mason Crosby field goal to put the Packers ahead 3-0 with 11 minutes, 21 seconds left in the first quarter.
Detroit went three-and-out on its first possession with Kenny Clark hitting Lions quarterback Jared Goff to force an incompletion on third down. The Packers gave the ball back at their own 31, though, after Allen Lazard was stopped on a misdirection end-around on fourth-and-1.
The defense held after an 11-yard pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown. Michael Badgley made a 37-yard field goal to tie the game at 3 with 7 minutes left in the quarter.
The Packers opened their next series with a 6-yard run by Aaron Jones after he made a tackler in the backfield miss. AJ Dillon then picked up the first down with a 4-yard run. After a 5-yard Dillon run, Aaron Rodgers connected with a wide-open Watson on a 27-yard pass off a corner route.
Rodgers was sacked on third-and-6 but Crosby snuck a 49-yard field goal through the uprights to put the Packers back ahead 6-3 with 1:54 left in the first quarter.
Packers lead Lions 9-6 at halftime
The Packers began the second quarter with a contested 20-yard pass to Robert Tonyan, who plucked the ball out of the air to convert the third-and-4. Rodgers was sacked again on third down, but Crosby made a 48-yard field goal to extend Green Bay's lead to 9-3 with 12:56 left in the half.
Detroit nearly had a 67-yard touchdown off a flea flicker on third-and-1, but Jarran Reed forced a hold against Matt Nelson to take the TD off the board. The Lions converted on third-and-11 and then third-and-6 to move to the Green Bay 31. Devonte Wyatt had his first career solo sack in-between.
Preston Smith pressured Goff into throwing the ball into the dirt on first down. Darnell Savage tackled D'Andre Swift for a 4-yard loss on second-and-10. Goff hit Swift for seven yards and didn't put any points on the board after Badgley missed wide left on a 46-yard field goal.
Watson caught a play-action pass in the flat and took it up field for 15 yards. The Packers ran into a fourth-and-6 but Rodgers drew James Houston offside. On fourth-and-1, Dillon gained two yards to the Detroit 38, as the game reached the two-minute warning.
The Packers worked the ball inside Detroit's red zone on a screen pass to Jones but the ball was fumbled and the Lions recovered at their own 14 with 1:16 left in the half. Detroit drove the ball down to the Green Bay 29 to set up a Badgley 33-yard field goal.
Packers lead Lions 16-13 after three
The Packers' defense forced a three-and-out to start the second half, giving the ball back to the offense with 13 minutes, 13 seconds left in the third quarter.
Jones had a hard 17-yard run to the Green Bay 48 on second-and-4, on which he established a new single-season career high of 1,112 rushing yards. Allen Lazard then had a 15-yard reception to move the Packers into Detroit. Crosby was short from 53 yards, bouncing off the crossbar.
Goff connected with Kalif Raymond on a 43-yard pass to the Green Bay 1, with Jamaal Williams running in the 1-yard TD to put the Lions up 13-9 with 8:05 left in the third quarter.
Rodgers started the next series with back-to-back completions to Lazard, totaling 13 yards. Rodgers sneaked for a first down on third-and-1. He then aired out a 45-yard pass to Watson down the sideline on a go route. Amani Oruwariye was called for defensive pass interference, but the Packers' rookie receiver still caught it.
On second down, Lazard caught a 12-yard touchdown on a deep crosser in the end zone to put the Packers back ahead 16-13 with 3:17 left in the third quarter.
Green Bay's defense responded with a three-and-out, with De'Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker blitzing up the middle on third-and-5 to force the incompletion.
It appeared Kerby Joseph had an interception of Rodgers but John Cominsky was flagged for illegal hands to the face on the play. It gave Green Bay first-and-10 at its 21. Dillon had a nine-yard run on the next play and then plowed ahead for the first down.
Lions beat Packers 20-16, Green Bay ends season 8-9
The Packers punted after Rodgers scrambled for three yards on third-and-6. Pat O'Donnell's first punt of the evening went for 37 yards and was downed at the Detroit 25.
The Lions advanced to midfield after a 14-yard pass to St. Brown and an 11-yard Williams run up the middle. Williams picked up another eight yards before Goff hit Swift for nine yards on a misdirection screen. Green Bay got its first stop when T.J. Slaton corralled Swift at the line of scrimmage.
Alexander then tackled Swift after two yards on a screen at the Green Bay 31. Swift gained six yards on a run and Detroit went for it on fourth-and-2 at the Packers' 25. The Lions converted with a 3-yard pass in the flat to D.J. Chark.
Walker was called for unsportsmanlike conduct on second-and-8 at the Packers' 9, setting up first-and-goal at the Green Bay 5. Walker was disqualified from the game, resulting in Isaiah McDuffie replacing him at inside linebacker. He had a tackle of Williams on first-and-goal. The Packers stopped him again on second down at their 1.
Williams ran in the 1-yard TD on third-and-goal to put Detroit back ahead 20-16 with 5:55 remaining.
Jones picked up eight yards on a first down screen but was stopped on second down for no gain. On third-and-2, Rodgers threw a quick receiver screen to Watson who picked up four yards and the first down as the clocked ticked down to four minutes remaining.
The Packers then threw two incompletions, setting up third-and-10 from the 33. Rodgers then was picked off by Joseph on a deep throw that the rookie safety returned to the Green Bay 45. The Lions worked the ball down to the Green Bay 18 at the two-minute warning. On third-and-3, Krys Barnes stopped Williams a yard short of the first down.
Goff completed a pass to Chark to convert and kneeled out the win.