The Green Bay Packers were eliminated from playoff contention after a 20-16 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday night, as Aaron Rodgers had his potential final pass intercepted by Kerby Joseph.
The Packers’ fate for the playoffs was in their own hands going into the last game of the NFL regular season after they won four consecutive games and received significant assistance from other teams. However, they were unable to go past the divisional round and were eliminated from playoff contention by the Detroit Lions.
Instead, Seattle (9-8) clinched the NFC’s final playoff slot and will travel to take on the NFC West’s top seed, the San Francisco 49ers (13-4). For the first time in coach Matt LaFleur’s tenure with the Packers, the team finished out of the postseason at 8-9.
In what could have been his last game at Lambeau Field, four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers went 17 of 27 for 205 yards and one touchdown. Rodgers, who will turn 39 years old during the upcoming season, has expressed uncertainty about whether or not he will continue playing football.
This game was Rodgers’ 5,000th career completion, making him the eighth player in NFL history to reach that milestone.
The Lions (9-8) took the lead with 5:55 to go as Jamaal Williams scored on a 1-yard touchdown run for the second time on the night. Williams’ 17 touchdown runs in a single season were a Lions single-season record, besting Barry Sanders’ 16 from 1991.
On the ensuing drive, Green Bay drove as far as their own 33 before Joseph intercepted Rodgers’ deep pass on third-and-10 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.
For the rest of the contest, Detroit maintained possession of the ball. Lions quarterback Jared Goff completed a 9-yard pass to wide receiver D.J. Chark on fourth-and-1 from the Green Bay 15 to give the team a first down and seal the victory. During the game-winning drive, Goff completed a pass to Chark on fourth down.
In their efforts to play until the playoffs, the Packers often lost their cool.
As the Lions were on their game-winning drive, linebacker Quay Walker was dismissed for pushing a team medical worker. The first-round pick had just received his second ejection of the season.
After Green Bay’s Rasul Douglas committed a personal foul, reducing Detroit’s Michael Badgley’s first 48-yard field goal attempt to a 33-yarder, Badgley kicked a field goal to end the first half.
Five field goals and several missed opportunities contributed to Green Bay’s 9-6 halftime lead. The Packers’ first drive of the second half ended when Mason Crosby’s 53-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar and rebounded backward.
The Lions regained control and went up by one point. Williams scored a touchdown from 1 yard out after Goff completed a throw to Khalif Raymond for 43 yards.
In their following series, the Packers gave a response. To set up his touchdown pass to Allen Lazard from 13 yards out, Rodgers completed a 45-yard ball to Christian Watson.
With the Packers down to their final possession, Rodgers threw two incomplete passes before Joseph picked him off for the third time this year. On November 6th, Joseph had two of the Lions’ three interceptions in a 15-9 win, and on Sunday, he almost had another one that was called back due to a penalty.
First-half field goals by Crosby covered a total of 22 yards, 48 yards, and 49 yards.