Game Recap: Lions Beat Packers 37-30…Onto the Playoffs!

Sarah Kelliher recaps the Packers’ week eighteen loss against the Lions.  

The Green Bay Packers (13-4, 4-2 NFC North) closed out the 2021 regular season with a 30-37 loss to the Detroit Lions (3-13-1, 2-4 NFC North) in a week eighteen matchup that meant well…nothing.

The Lions won the toss and deferred, so the Packers were the first to take the field on Sunday and they did exactly what they needed to do in a game where not much matters besides getting good reps and keeping everyone healthy.

To open the game, quarterback Aaron Rodgers hit wide receiver Allen Lazard for a huge 28-yard pickup to move the chains. Then, on  3rd and 4, Rodgers found star wide receiver Davante Adams for 5 yards to keep the drive alive. After that, on 3rd and 10, Rodgers and Adams continued to work their magic and connected for 11 yards and the first down. Running back AJ Dillon had an excellent block on the play that enabled Adams to run for a few extra yards after the catch. Later, on 3rd and 3, Rodgers reconnected with Lazard for 8 yards to bring Green Bay within Detroit’s 10-yard line. And, after Dillon brough the Packers to the 1-yard line after an 8-yard rush, Rodgers and Lazard connected for a 1-yard touchdown. Kicker Mason Crosby’s extra point was good, and the Packers took an early 7-0 lead.

The Lions got a handful of nice reps from former Packers running back Jamaal Williams on their next drive. The fan favorite running back moved the chains for Detroit on 3rd and 1 after rushing for 4 yards on the play. However, the Lions could not convert after that and attempted a fake punt deep in their own territory. The pass was incomplete, and the Packers took over at the Lions’ 35-yard line.

Despite having great field position to open their next drive, Green Bay found a whole lot of nothing on their next possession and quickly punted after going three and out.

And, although the season was already over for the Lions, they were not going to end the year without having some fun. On 2nd and 9, quarterback Jared Goff connected with wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 17-yard pickup. Then, Dan Campbell had Green Bay’s entire defense running around like chickens with their heads cut off after a trick play where wide receiver Tom Kennedy threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kalif Raymond to tie the game at 7-7.

On the first play of the Packers’ next possession, Rodgers connected with Adams for a 13-yard gain to move the chains. On the play, Adams made history with the most receiving yards in a single season in Packers’ history, breaking Jordy Nelson’s previous record of 1,519 yards in 2014 (Packers). To open the second quarter, the Rodgers and Lazard magic continued, and they connected for 9 yards on 3rd and 6 to keep the drive alive. However, the momentum was not enough after Green Bay went for it on 4th and 4 and failed to convert, so Detroit took over at their own 43-yard line.

Detroit’s next drive was basically the St. Brown show. On 2nd and 9, he and Goff connected over a short pass over the middle for 9 yards to just barely move the chains. Then, on 2nd and 13, the pair connected again for a 16-yard pickup and the first down. After that, Goff found St. Brown again off a 21-yard reception to bring the Lions within the Packers’ 10-yard line. And, to put the cherry on top of an already impressive drive, Detroit went for it on 4th and goal and converted after a 2-yard touchdown catch from St. Brown. The extra point attempt was good, and the Lions took a 14-7 lead.  

On their next possession, the Packers started to find more momentum on offense. On 2nd and 2, Dillon rushed for 5 yards to move the chains. After making his debut for the 2021 season to start this game, left tackle David Bakhtiari was done for the day about halfway through this drive after a good first showing.

After that, on 1st and 10, Rodgers connected with Adams for a 16-yard gain to bring Green Bay to just about midfield. Then, Rodgers took advantage of an opportunity and launched one deep to Lazard who came up with an impressive 29-yard touchdown catch for his second score of the day. Crosby missed the extra point, so the Lions remained on top with a 14-13 lead.

On 2nd and 5 right out of the two-minute warning, Detroit running back D'Andre Swift rushed for 11 yards and a first down. Then, the Lions continued to find momentum on offense after Goff connected with Kennedy for 11 yards to move the chains. From there, the Lions went for it again on fourth down and converted after Goff found wide receiver Josh Reynolds for an 11-yard pass play to move the chains.

On the next play, Goff showed no signs of slowing down after he found Raymond on 1st and 10 for an 18-yard pickup to put the Lions right on the edge of the redzone. However, the Lions could not get in the end zone to close the half and had to settle for a field goal. Kicker Riley Patterson’s 34-yard field goal was good, and the Lions extended their lead to 17-13 at the break.

To open the second half, Green Bay’s defense looked a bit more alive and quickly forced a three and out. And, with Rodgers done for the day, quarterback Jordan Love took over the offense for the Packers. His first possession of the half was also short lived after he connected with wide receiver Juwann Winfree on 3rd and 11 and Winfree fumbled, and the Lions recovered it at the Packers’ 36-yard line.

On the very next play, the Lions pulled more trickery out of their back pocket and after a quick exchanged in the backfield between Goff and Williams, Goff connected with tight end Brock Wright for a 36-yard touchdown. The extra point was good, and the Lions extended their lead to 24-13.

On the Packers’ next possession, Love and company started to find a bit of momentum. On 1st and 10, Love connected with tight end Dominique Dafney for a 26-yard pass play to move the chains. Then, Green Bay decided to be aggressive and went for it on 4th and 2. And, similar to QB1, Love was able to get the Lions to jump and a 5-yard neutral zone infraction penalty was called, and the Packers were gifted 5 yards and a first down, After that, on 3rd and 1, Dillon continued to be a force in the backfield and rushed for 7 yards to put Green Bay in the redzone. However, the offense could not get six out of the play and was forced to settled for a field goal. Crosby’s 36-yard attempt was good, and the Packers cut the Lions’ lead to 24-16.

The Lions stalled on their next drive and went three and out after a good showing from the Packers’ defense. And, with the ball back in Green Bay’s hands, Love and the offense continued to find a rhythm. On 1st and 10, running back Patrick Taylor rushed for 12 yards and a first down. Then, on 2nd and 1, Love found Winfree over the middle for a 12-yard pass play to move the chains for the Packers. After that, Green Bay decided to go for it again on 4th and 2 and, this time, converted after Love and Winfree connected for 2 yards. Then, Love continued to propel the Packers forward as he connected with Taylor off a short pass to pickup 3 yards on 3rd and 2 and bring Green Bay within Detroit’s 5-yard line. Then, to open the fourth quarter, Taylor rushed for 1 yard and touchdown, the first of his young career. The Packers attempted to go for two and failed to convert, so they cut the Lions’ lead to 24-22.

The Lions continued to fight hard in this one, though. On their next possession, on 2nd and 6, Williams rushed for 9 yards to move the chains. Then, on 3rd and 7, it was Goff and St. Brown again after they connected for 15 yards and a first down to keep the drive alive. After that, Williams rushed for two more first downs for 3- and 5-yard plays, respectively, to put Detroit in the redzone. However, it was not enough, and the Lions settled for another field goal. Their 36-yard attempt was good, and they extended their lead to 27-22 with just over six minutes remaining in the game.

But, that lead did not last for long. On Green Bay’s next possession, Taylor rushed for 4 yards on 3rd and 1 to keep the drive alive. Then, something I am not quite sure any of us expected to happen occurred: Love connected with tight end Josiah Deguara off a screen for a 62-yard touchdown to take the lead. Then, Green Bay kept having fun with it and went for two and converted after Love ran it in himself to take a 30-27 lead.

However, the Lions were not going out without giving this game their best effort. On 1st and 10, Raymond picked up 13 yards for a first down. On the very next play, St. Brown continued to clown the Packers with a 28-yard pickup to move the chains. After that, Goff connected with Wright for 15 yards to move the chains and propel the Lions into the redzone. From there, the Lions began their two-minute drill with a bang after Swift busted out of the backfield and rushed for 14 yards and a touchdown. The extra point was good, and Detroit retook the lead at 34-30.

After some much-needed momentum for Love and the offense, they had a prime opportunity to keep this one competitive on their next drive. However, that goal was short-lived after Love threw a pass to wide receiver Amari Rodgers and he could not hold onto it, and it was intercepted and returned for 21 yards to Green Bay’s 15-yard line. Despite the prime field position, the Lions could not take advantage and get a touchdown to seal the win and had to settle for a 27-yard field goal. Their attempt was good, which would give us our final score of 37-30.

Love and the offense got another shot with about 50 seconds remaining in the game, but the Lions’ defense came through on another interception to seal the deal and earn their third and final win of the season.

 

What we learned: There was a noticeable difference with Bakhtiari and Myers back

Man, it was nice to see Bakhtiari and Myers back on the line for the Packers on Sunday. I know the Lions are not the best team in the NFL, but they reps they got were still incredibly meaningful and you could tell Rodgers looked more comfortable with the protection he had. So glad Green Bay has both of them (and maybe more) back for their playoff run.

 

What went right: Getting through the game with no major issues

Apart from two injuries (which we will talk about in a second), the Packers got through this game with no major issues and that is exactly what they needed to do. At the end of the day, Green Bay got meaningful reps for all their starters and the guys returning from injuries, Rodgers played well and seemed content with his performance, Adams broke the franchise record and young guys ––like Love and Taylor – got to play and get some more experience.

No matter the score, that is what is truly counts as a win for the Packers at this point in their season.

 

What went wrong: MVS and Sullivan injuries

The biggest concern for the Packers heading into this game was to escape it healthy. Mostly, they were able to achieve that goal, but wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling did leave the first half early with a back injury and cornerback Chandon Sullivan also left the game late with a knee injury.

It is unknown how serious either of those injuries were, or if these moves were precautionary, but considering the roles both of them play for the Packers, we need to hope it is the second.  

 

Offensive MVP: Allen Lazard

Talk about ending the regular season on a high note! In just one half of football, Lazard led the day in receiving for the Packers with 5 receptions for 75 yards and 2 touchdowns (ESPN stats). He really seems to be peaking at the perfect time for Green Bay.

 

Defensive MVP: Dean Lowry

Defensive end Mean Dean Lowry looked like he had something to play for in week eighteen for the Packers. He was all over the place at times on defense and finished the afternoon with 4 total tackles, 2 of which were solo, 1 sack, 2 tackles for a loss, and 1 QB hit (ESPN stats).

 

Up next, the Green Bay Packers get a break as they prepare for the playoffs with a first-round bye. See you in two weeks!

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV and a podcaster with Pack-A-Day Podcast. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

12 points

Comments (21)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
LeotisHarris's picture

January 09, 2022 at 03:48 pm

Thanks, Sarah. I appreciate your thorough, well-written recaps. I'm looking forward to reading three more from you this season.

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cpabandit's picture

January 09, 2022 at 08:05 pm

I enjoy Sarah's columns after each Packers game. Concise, well written.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 09, 2022 at 04:21 pm

Oh, Sarah. How you can claim that BUST of Lowry as defensive MVP?

Many experts here believe he should be traded to any team plus give that team at least one 1st round pick.

-11 points
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Cwoodson21's picture

January 09, 2022 at 06:12 pm

Lowry has been solid against the run with some fairly consistent pressure on the QB this year.

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Spock's picture

January 10, 2022 at 04:39 am

I'm sure Croat was being sarcastic here. :)

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Lphill's picture

January 09, 2022 at 04:29 pm

Savage is a disappointment this year not just this game .

-4 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 09, 2022 at 05:14 pm

He’s not the same since his injury. He was playing well before that.

3 points
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Ferrari-Driver's picture

January 09, 2022 at 04:46 pm

I simply did not provide enough crowd noise from my chair in front of the TV.

Dillon runs hard and is going to be a great one to have during the cold playoff games in Green Bay. He does not disappoint in the effort category. Glad we drafted him.

9 points
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stockholder's picture

January 09, 2022 at 04:58 pm

This is not a championship Defense. And that will effect everybody on this team. This secondary had No business playing soft. A Rookie just went for over a 100 yards. I think you have to ask these players, if they want to win. How many times have we heard. The Corners must tighten it up. Every player on defense has seen the lions play before. Their in our division. Savage just earned the bust label.

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Crankbait's picture

January 09, 2022 at 06:38 pm

Totally agree we do not have the Defense to get to the Super Bowl.

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johngalt's picture

January 09, 2022 at 08:35 pm

Damn man, lotta doom and gloom. Case of the mondays on Sunday

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Packerlifer's picture

January 10, 2022 at 05:11 am

Defense may not keep the Pack from getting to the Super Bowl but it could prevent them from winning it once they get there. They played Sunday like a unit aware they didn't really need to win. But they were also on a "fast-track" turf and indoor setting. They don't have the speed to play as well in those settings.

But they will play all NFC playoff games at Lambeau. Outdoors, on natural grass and probably in some kind of wintry conditions. All that should slow down any fast offenses that might be coming in.

The Super Bowl, though, is indoors on artificial turf. Not an inviting prospect against teams like Kansas City or Buffalo.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

January 11, 2022 at 10:10 am

johngalt, I applaud your moniker; clever and memorable.

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PackfanNY's picture

January 09, 2022 at 04:59 pm

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams still healthy. It’s all good.

5 points
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Grandfathered's picture

January 09, 2022 at 06:35 pm

I hope Taylor can learn to pass protect in the playoffs. If he can do that he would be a good challenger to Hill next year.

5 points
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albert999's picture

January 09, 2022 at 07:04 pm

Defense play unacceptable after 17 weeks

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albert999's picture

January 09, 2022 at 09:00 pm

LaFleur pinned the blame on discipline from the defense, which ended up giving up 37 total points and over 400 yards of total offense to the Lions.
“I would say the consistency. Defense, 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,” LaFleur said. “We cannot have that. We need all 11 doing their damn job. And if they don’t, stuff like that happens.”
A pair of gadget plays accounted for over 100 total yards and 14 points.

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ImaPayne's picture

January 09, 2022 at 11:26 pm

Lefower has only one person to bitch at and its not the team its the Defensive Coach. Bary has zero idea how to coach defense but he came cheap and was known by management from previous years so thats all good.
I've said it over and over that Stokes has no idea what he is doing out there. He never vies for the ball or blankets a receiver, or closes on a guy to help out on a tackle. The rest of these guys just have no clue what they are suppose to be doing.
This is another one and done year in the playoffs so all the wins and bs this year really mean nothing since Gutt failed to fix last years problems

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Spock's picture

January 10, 2022 at 04:44 am

Why all the hate for Stokes? He's been an exceptional rookie corner and you are literally the ONLY ONE here to constantly claim he's bad. SMH

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 10, 2022 at 01:59 am

There was a noticeable difference with Bakh and Myers in the game. It was not particularly positive, but I hope those two shake off the rust. Patrick at RG was interesting. I suspect Newman is better run blocking, but Newman again lost on a stunt. I suppose it depends on what the Packers prefer.

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Packerlifer's picture

January 10, 2022 at 04:59 am

So the regular season ends as it began with a loss on the road to a motivated opponent as the Packers weren't so motivated/ready. Considering that Green Bay had everything they needed clinched and the Lions needed a win to validate their first year coaching regime maybe the result could be considered expected.

It was disappointing that the starters couldn't capitalize on the takeover on downs at the Det. 35 early in the game. And Mason Crosby shanking an extra point can't be happening even in a "meaningless" game.

Maybe it will prove to be a good thing that Detroit was able to fake the Packers' defense and special teams out of their jock-straps with their "gadget plays." They shouldn't get caught "napping" like that if a playoff opponent tries to reach into their bag of tricks this month with that wake-up call.

Jordan Love was a "mixed bag." The Packers did score most of their points with him in the second half. They did come back to take the late lead. But the game still seems a little too fast for him and he made some big mistakes under pressure. Especially on the last interception.

We will be reminded again that in his 3 years coaching in Green Bay Matt LaFleur has never lost two games in a row and with a playoff the next one that streak needs to continue.

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