Packers fall to Lions, eliminated from postseason

The 20-16 loss ends Green Bay’s season
Packers vs lions (MGN Online)
Packers vs lions (MGN Online)(MGN)
Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 8:48 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WSAW) - With their playoff hopes on the line, the Packers stumbled at the finish line, falling to the Lions and being eliminated 20-16.

Green Bay had the first offensive possession of the game. The drive covered a good chunk of field, but 46 yards of it came thanks to a pass interference on Detroit as Aaron Rodgers looked for Allen Lazard on a deep ball. However, Green Bay’s red zone woes continued as the Packers couldn’t find the end zone from the four-yard line and settled for a 22-yard Mason Crosby field goal.

After the Packers stopped Detroit on a three-and-out, it appeared Green Bay would suffer a similar fate on their next drive. However, on fourth and inches, the Lions stopped Green Bay on an end around to Lazard, giving Detroit the ball in Green Bay plus territory. Jared Goff and the Lions’ offense wouldn’t get much further and would settle for a 37-yard field goal to tie the game 3-3.

Back on offense, Rodgers hooked up with Christian Watson for a nice 27-yard gain to put Green Bay on the move again. However, an Aiden Hutchinson sack would end the hope for a touchdown and Crosby would drill a 49-yarder to take the lead back at 6-3.

After a Lions’ punt, the Packers used their first drive of the second quarter to once again get inside the Detroit 30, Once again though, Hutchinson would put a halt to the drive with another sack. For a third time, the Packers would settle for a Crosby kick, this time from 48 to give Green Bay a 9-3 lead.

The Lions would take the ball back and put together one of the longest-timing drives of the game. They ate up 6:43 of game time before attempting a 46-yard field goal. The kick was wide left, however, off the foot of Michael Badgley, keeping the game at 9-3.

With time winding down in the first half, Green Bay looked prime for more points, getting inside the 35, but the Lions had other ideas. After a successful screen play to Aaron Jones, Detroit punched the ball away from the Packers’ running back. Will Harris of the Lions pounced on the ball, taking the ball away from Green Bay and giving Detroit an opportunity with 1:16 remaining in the half.

Armed with all their timeouts, Detroit did an exceptional job to get into field goal range at the Green Bay 30. As the Lions lined up for a last-second field goal, Rasul Douglas was flagged for a personal foul, putting the ball instead at the 15. From there, Badgley hit a 33-yard field goal to make it a 9-6 game at the half.

The Lions came up empty on their first drive of the third. The Packers strung together a positive sequence, riding Aaron Jones. Once again though, Green Bay had to kick a field goal. This time, the veteran Crosby couldn’t connect, clanging the crossbar from 53 yards.

Detroit would make the Packers pay. Following a quick burst by Jamaal Williams, Goff hit Kalif Raymond for a monster 43-yard pass, putting it at the one-yard line. Williams would walk in on the next play to give the Lions their first lead of the game at 13-9.

As the Packers got the ball back, they came out with a sense of urgency. After a couple of first downs, Rodgers finally hit a deep ball, hitting Watson on a 45-yard bomb down the sideline to give Green Bay the ball inside the Detroit 20. Two plays later, they finally found the endzone as Rodgers connected with Lazard on a 13-yard pitch and catch, giving Green Bay a 16-13 lead.

The two teams would exchange punts, giving Detroit the ball and a chance to tie or take the lead. The Lions executed a long, sustained drive into Packers territory. It was deep on that side of the field when linebacker Quay Walker would be ejected for shoving a Lions’ athletic trainer tending to an injured player. A few plays later, Williams would bounce in for his second touchdown to give the Lions the lead back at 20-16 with just under six minutes to play.

Needing a touchdown, the Packers looked to put together a drive. However, on a third-and-ten, a Rodgers deep shot was picked off by Kerby Joseph to really put a damper on the Packers’ hopes. It was Joseph’s third interception of Rodgers this season, having had two in their earlier meeting in Detroit. He’s the only player ever to intercept Rodgers three times in the same season.

From there, the Lions iced away the game, converting a fourth and one to ensure the Packers couldn’t stop the clock, giving the Lions a 20-16 win.

Rodgers finished the game 17-27 for 205 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Aaron Jones led the ground game on a modest night with 12 carries for 48 yards. Christian Watson led the receiving effort with five catches for 105 yards.

The Packers finish the season 8-9 and place third in the NFC North.