The Green Bay Packers won their second straight NFC North title with a 31-24 victory over the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday.
With the win, the Packers took a four-game lead in the division with three to play, so that race is over. They also tied the Saints for the top record in the NFC at 10-3 after New Orleans lost at Philadelphia. Technically, the Packers hold the No. 1 seed due to their head-to-head win over the Saints back in Week 3.
QB Aaron Rodgers was 26-of-33 for 290 yards with three TDs and a 133.6 passer rating. WR Davante Adams had seven catches for 115 yards and a TD, his career-high 14th and breaking the team record with a touchdown in an eighth straight game.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling had six catches for 85 yards and a score, and TE Robert Tonyan had five catches for 36 yards and his ninth TD of the season. RBs Aaron Jones (15 carries, 69 yards) and Jamaal Williams (10-38) combined for 107 rushing yards.
For the Lions, QB Matthew Stafford was 24-of-34 for 244 yards with a TD and 100.6 rating before leaving with an injury late in the game. The Lions rushed for just 51 yards. TE T.J. Hockenson had six catches for 43 yards and a score.
Tied at 14 at the half, the Packers dominated the third quarter and early fourth to take a 28-14 lead, but the Lions battled back to get within 28-21. K Mason Crosby kicked a 57-yard field goal, tying the second-longest in franchise history, to give the Packers a 10-point lead. But the Lions cut it to seven again after a long kickoff return and field goal with less than two minutes left.
The Packers closed out the game on offense on a third-down conversion, with Rodgers hitting Tonyan to move the chains and not give the Lions the ball back.
Here's a recap of all the action:
Packers and Lions tied at 7 after one
The Packers won the opening coin toss and deferred. Green Bay's defense got the Lions into third-and-9 situation but Matthew Stafford completed a 21-yards pass to Mohamed Sanu to move the chains.
T.J. Hockenson's early drop was the only incomplete pass Stafford would throw on the series. The Pro Bowl quarterback went 6-of-7 for 66 yards including a 1-yard shovel pass to Hockenson for a touchdown to put the Lions ahead 7-0 with 9 minutes, 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Packers answer right back with Davante Adams scoring a 56-yard touchdown on the third play of the Packers' opening series, beating Detroit cornerback Amani Oruwariye and making safety Duron Harmon miss to break into the open field.
On the play, Adams became the first player in franchise history to score a touchdown in eight consecutive games. He also set a new career high with 14 TD catches in a season, the second most in franchise history through 13 games behind only Hall of Famer Don Hutson (17).
The Packers' defense responded with a three-and-out. Recently signed receiver Tavon Austin was deployed as the punt returner, settling for a fair catch at the Green Bay 31.
Rodgers had a more methodical approach on the Packers' next series, hitting Marquez Valdes-Scantling (10 yards) and Austin (three yards on jet motion) on screens before Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones plowed into the Lions' red zone.
The first quarter ended with a 12-yard pass to Adams on a slant down to Detroit's 15.
Packers and Lions tied at 14 at halftime
The Packers took a 14-7 lead within the first minute of the second quarter, with Rodgers connecting with Valdes-Scantling on a 14-yard touchdown pass off a back-shoulder throw.
Dean Lowry (10-yard loss) and Rashan Gary (7-yard loss) sacked Stafford on back-to-back plays to setup fourth-and-25 and force another Lions punt. It was Lowry's second sack in as many games, while Gary pushed his season total to five – the second-most on the defense behind Za'Darius Smith.
The Packers picked up 23 yards but had to settle for their first punt of the afternoon after a Rodgers pass on third-and-10 fell incomplete.
The Lions tied the game up with an 11-play, 80-yard series that culminated in a 3-yard touchdown run by D'Andre Swift to tie the game at 14 with 1:27 left in the first half.
The Packers earned a first down on their next series but had to punt it back to the Lions with 35 seconds left.
Packers lead Lions 21-14 after three
With the Packers starting the second half with the ball, Jamaal Williams had nice blitz pick-ups on back-to-back plays to enable Rodgers to hit Allen Lazard and Valdes-Scantling for 14-yard passes before Jones ran up the middle for 11 yards.
The Packers faced a third-and-14 from the Detroit 42 but the offensive line and tight end Robert Tonyan gave Rodgers ample time by knocking down three Lions rushers. Rodgers used the clean pocket to find Valdes-Scantling in the middle of the field for 21 yards to keep the series going.
Green Bay then converted yet another third down with a short pass to Lazard, to setup first-and-goal from the Lions' 10. Rodgers then converted the fourth third down of the 14-play, 75-yard drive with a 6-yard scramble for a touchdown to give Green Bay the 21-14 lead. The series ate 8:49 off the clock.
The play marked Rodgers' 30th career rushing touchdown, the most by a quarterback in team history (Tobin Rote, 29).
Detroit went three-and-out on its next possession and the Packers' offense stayed in rhythm with Rodgers connecting with Valdes-Scantling for 15 yards to start the next series.
The Packers improved to 6-of-8 on third downs with Tonyan catching an 11-yard pass on third-and-3, a play in which Rodgers had plenty of time to throw.
The third quarter ended with an 8-yard run by Jones. Detroit ran three offensive plays for four yards in the third quarter, possessing the ball for just 1:21.
Packers beat the Lions 31-24, win the NFC North
The Packers ran the ball seven straight times for 40 yards before Rodgers broke up the streak with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Tonyan to extend the Packers' lead to 28-14.
Tonyan is the first tight end in franchise history to catch a touchdown in four consecutive games. His nine touchdowns this year are the most by a Packers tight end since Bubba Franks' nine in 2001.
The Lions clawed their way back to a one-score game with a 13-play, 75-yard series of their own with Kerryon Johnson's 2-yard touchdown run with 6:30 remaining.
Adams continued to win with yards after catch, making the cornerback miss a short stop route and extending for a 29-yard gain down to the Detroit 35. On the play, Adams became the first receiver in NFL history to have at least six catches and a receiving touchdown in eight straight games.
Mason Crosby kicked a 57-yard field goal to give Green Bay a 31-21 lead with just over 3 minutes left.
Veteran backup Chase Daniel replaced an injured Stafford (ribs) on the Lions' next possession, which started at the Green Bay 33 after a 71-yard return by Jamal Agnew.
Matt Prater matched Crosby's score with a 32-yard field goal with 1:49 left to cut the Packers' lead to 31-24. The onside kick went out of bounds and Green Bay took over at the Packers' 45.
After two Aaron Jones runs forced Detroit to use its last two timeouts, Rodgers rolled out and hit Robert Tonyan for 6-yard pass to Tonyan for the first down.