The Green Bay Packers sure didn’t look like a team for whom pride still mattered on Sunday. Facing the 5-10 Detroit Lions, the Packers were listless on offense, uninterested on defense, and simply bad on special teams once again. Green Bay allowed the Lions to run over, around, and through them throughout the game and saw a few key players leave the game to injury as they fell to the Lions 31-0 at Lambeau Field.
The biggest injury was to quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He suffered a concussion on the second offensive snap of the game, but was not removed from the contest until after two more drives ended in three-and-outs. At that time, he finally went to the locker room for an evaluation, and the team officially announced the concussion diagnosis in the fourth quarter. Left tackle David Bakhtiari also left the game, sitting out the second half after playing every snap until the break.
The events of the game itself were entirely forgettable. The Packers’ defense missed tackle after tackle, letting the Lions rack up 130 yards on the ground and big yards after the catch. After leading 21-0 at the half, Detroit outscored the DeShone Kizer-led Packers 10-0 after the break.
The Packers’ offense was abysmal in the first quarter of the game, failing to pick up a single first down in the first 15 minutes of play. Aaron Rodgers took a big hit on the second play of the game, resulting in his helmet being knocked off. Taking advantage of good field position after a poor JK Scott punt, the Lions struck first. Starting at their own 44-yard line, Detroit dinked and dunked their way down the field on a 12-play drive, culminating in a five-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to T.J. Jones.
After another three-and-out by Green Bay — their third of the first quarter — the Lions drove down for the second score of the game. A pick route got Brandon Powell open in the middle of the field for Detroit, and he picked up a huge 41-yard gain. After a red-zone stop by the Packers’ defense, the Lions dipped into their trick play bag, as kicker Matt Prater took a direct snap and floated a pass to tight end Levine Toilolo in the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown and a 14-0 Detroit lead.
It was following that score that Aaron Rodgers left the game to be evaluated for a concussion. It appeared that the hit on the first drive was the culprit, and that the training staff did not identify a potential problem until after two more series. DeShone Kizer came in the game at that point and drove the Packers to midfield before throwing a terrible, interceptable pass that Jarrad Davis dropped, forcing the Packers to punt instead.
Detroit added another touchdown before the end of the first half, a 13-yard Zach Zenner run that gave them a 21-0 lead. The Packers finished the first half with just 67 total yards of offense and three first downs on 24 plays.
Out of the half, the team pulled left tackle David Bakhtiari with a hip injury, inserting Justin McCray at left tackle and plugging Lane Taylor back in at left guard, after he had sat out the first half.
The third quarter saw much of the same from the Packers’ offense, which picked up a total of 8 plays on six plays on their first series before punting.
There was one cool moment early in the second half, however. Kyler Fackrell sacked Matthew Stafford, giving the third-year linebacker double-digit sacks on the season with 10.5. That also made week 17 his third straight game with at least a half-sack.
The Lions added a field goal in the third quarter as the Packers continued to struggle offensively. However, they did finally get on the board late in the quarter after a few nice throws from Kizer. He hit Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a third-down conversion, then lofted a deep ball to Randall Cobb for a big 27-yard gain to get into field goal range. However, Joe Philbin kept the offense on the field on fourth and five, and Kizer’s pass to Robert Tonyan was knocked out of the tight end’s hands by safety Tavon Wilson to preserve the shutout.
The Packers again got into field goal range in the fourth quarter, thanks largely to Kizer’s legs, but failed on fourth down. Once again, Philbin kept the offense on the field — this time at the 30-yard line — rather than trying a field goal to simply get on the board. However, it didn’t work, as Kizer’s pass to Valdes-Scantling fell incomplete and the Lions took over with about 9:30 remaining.
Detroit added a quick touchdown on the next series, as Stafford hooked up with T.J. Jones for a 23-yard score to provide the final score. A late Kizer interception put the bow on the abysmal season for the team.