The Detroit Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers 20-16 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Sunday, in the final game of the 2022 NFL regular season. As a result, the Packers did not make the postseason.
As the Seattle Seahawks already edged the Los Angeles Rams 19-16 earlier on the day, the Lions couldn't appear in the playoffs no matter how the game ended against the Packers. By contrast, the Packers could make it to the postseason with a win. However, as they both compete in the National Football Conference (NFC) North, the Lions didn't need extra motivation to do their best to keep the Packers from entering the playoffs.
Nonetheless, the strong will shared by both sides to win didn't translate into good performance in Sunday's game. The Lions' quarterback (QB) Jarred Goff was not used to playing outside in the cold weather of Green Bay. Wearing gloves affected his passing touch. Many of his throws came short and too low as he completed 23 of his 34 attempts for 224 yards but no touchdown. The Lions' two touchdowns both came from running back Jamaal Williams who had 16 carries and 72 rushing yards.
The Packers' QB Aaron Rodgers didn't perform much better than Goff. As a four-time NFL Most Valuable Player who had 10 4,000+passing yards seasons in his career, he failed to throw 300 yards in any of the previous 16 games he had played this season before Sunday. Having thrown 17-for-27 for 207 yards and one touchdown at home, he failed to change that embarrassing record.
What's even bitterer than the loss and failing to reach the playoffs for Rodgers on Sunday was that he threw an interception to safety Kerby Joseph on 3rd & 10 at 3:37 in the fourth quarter. The Packers trailed 20-16 back then and needed desperately to score that drive. After the ball was turned over, the Lions spent plays for the game time to run out.
If you recall, when the Packers lost to the Lions 15-9 on November 6, 2022, Rodgers threw three interceptions and two of them went to Joseph. Sunday's loss was similar to that one as well as the Packers kept wasting offensive opportunities with unreasonable calls and committing incomprehensible mistakes. For example, their inside linebacker Quay Walker was injected for shoving the Lions' medical staffer in the fourth quarter.
This was the second time for Walker to be thrown out of the competition after committing unsportsmanlike conduct this season. It's a mystery why he did so on Sunday since the medical staffer was only trying to check the condition of the Lions' running back D'Andre Swift who was injured on the field.
One of the results of Walker's behavior was that the Lions were granted a first down at the Packers' 5-yard line. After three plays, Williams scored his second touchdown to gain the lead back for the Lions 20-16.
"I've got a much higher standard for our players than to do silly things like that," the Packers' head coach Matt LaFleur said after the loss. "I mean, we've had a guy get ejected twice. I don't think I've ever seen that in my career, and we've got to be much more mentally tough. Any time our guys commit personal fouls I take that very personally because I think that's always a reflection of myself and the standards that we set for these players. And we've got to be better and we've got to learn from that because that is unacceptable."
What is also unacceptable is the poor record of the Packers, which were the No. 1 seed in the NFC last season. Sunday's loss was like a miniature of their performances for the whole 2022 season, which was filled with disappointing passing offense, poor defense on the ground, failures to seize opportunities in clutch-time plays and other baffling mistakes.
Rodgers has finished his 18th season as a Packer. He became one of the best QBs in the NFL in this team and led them to win their fourth Super Bowl title in franchise history in 2011. A failed season like this understandably won't help solve the fallout between him and the organization for drafting a QB, Jordan Love, in 2020. If Sunday's loss becomes Rodgers, final appearance for the Packers, it will make a really awkward end to his story at Lambeau Field.
Other games on Sunday (away teams come first):
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-30 Atlanta Falcons
New England Patriots 23-35 Buffalo Bills
Minnesota Vikings 29-13 Chicago Bears
Baltimore Ravens 16-27 Cincinnati Bengals
Houston Texans 32-31 Indianapolis Colts
New York Jets 6-11 Miami Dolphins
Carolina Panthers 10-7 New Orleans Saints
Cleveland Browns 14-28 Pittsburgh Steelers
New York Giants 16-22 Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Cowboys 6-26 Washington Commanders
Los Angeles Chargers 28-31 Denver Broncos
Arizona Cardinals 13-38 San Francisco 49ers
Schedule and matchups for the NFL Wild Card games (away teams come first):
Seahawks vs. 49ers, Chargers vs. Jaguars on January 14
Dolphins vs. Bills, Giants vs. Vikings, Ravens vs. Bengals on January 15
Cowboys vs. Buccaneers on January 16