Lions 0-7-7-6 — 20
Packers 7-7-7-9 — 30
The Green Bay Packers defeated the Detroit Lions 30-20 to finish the regular season 12-4 and win their 4th consecutive NFC North division championship. The Packers also earned the NFC’s No. 2 seed and a 1st-round bye in the postseason. The Lions dropped to 11-5 and moved from the NFC’s No. 2 seed all the way to No. 6, behind No. 5 Arizona due to their 14-6 head-to-head loss earlier in the season.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy moved to 8-1 in season finales since becoming the team’s head coach in 2006.
Rodgers’ 1-Yard Sneak Doubled Up Lions Midway Through the 4th
There has been debate about the NFL’s MVP this season. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt will be getting a lot of love in the voting, but after his 2nd-half performance thus far, it’s hard to argue with giving the MVP Award to league’s best player again, especially after turning the complexion of this game.
Rodgers’ Return Revived the Packers Offense
On his first pass-attempt in his return to the game, Rodgers connected with Cobb for 29 yards. Four plays later, Rodgers connected to Cobb again for his 2nd touchdown reception of the game to re-take the lead 21-14.
Aaron Rodgers returns, throws 2nd TD pass to Randall Cobb Cobb has 12 TD receptions this season, matching total of 2012/2013 combined
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 28, 2014
Detroit Tied the Game at 14-14
After the Packers failed to do anything on their 1st possession of the 2nd half with Matt Flynn in the game for Aaron Rodgers, the Lions quickly took advantage. 11 plays, 51 yards, 5:21 off the clock and Stafford’s 2nd connection to Megatron evened the game up at 14-14 with 7:34 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
Aaron Rodgers returned to the game on the Packers’ next possession.
Lions Late 1st-Half TD Gave Them Momentum Going Into 2nd Half
Before the end of the half, the Lions were able to move 77 yards on eight plays, capping off the drive with a Stafford-to-Megatron connection for a 20-yard touchdown to cut the Packers lead in half.
Packers Scored Again but Rodgers Went Down During the Play
The Packers capped a 69-yard drive with a 4-yard strike from Rodgers to Cobb, but Rodgers went down during the play nursing the back of his calf, and was eventually carted off the field after the non-contact injury.
Here is a replay of where Rodgers hurt himself from another angle.
The Lions Can’t Take Advantage of Lacy’s 2nd Quarter Fumble
As the Packers were driving in Lions’ territory early in the 2nd quarter, Lacy, who was having an incredible game until that point, fumbled, resulting a change of possession. The Lions, however, were not able to take advantage of the turnover and failed to put points on the scoreboard.
Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ offense just hasn’t seemed to get going all day, evidenced by this simple quick-cut screen pass to the outside that sailed on Stafford during the Lions’ most successful drive of the opening half.
Stafford’s performance through a third of the game has done nothing to dispel the doubts that his critics have about him.
This is the most telling statistic of all.
Micah Hyde’s Punt-Return Touchdown Gives Packers First Lead at Lambeau
— NFL (@nfl) December 28, 2014
After a 2nd possession resulted in minimal yardage for Detroit’s offense, Green Bay punt returner Micah Hyde fielded the subsequent punt and beat Lions’ special teams player and fullback Jed Collins to a small hole in the middle of the coverage, bursting through for 55 yards, then beating Lions punter Sam Martin to the left corner pylon of the endzone to give the Packers a 7-0 lead with 4:49 remaining in the 1st quarter.
Detroit Defense Looked Shaky Early Until a Key Goal-line Stand
After holding the Lions offense to a three-and-out on their opening possession, the Packers received the ball and went 61 yards on the strength of 22-yard and 21-yard runs by Eddie Lacy and James Starks respectively. Green Bay stalled on the 1-yard line and failed to punch the football in on four tried, and gave Detroit some momentum after reeling for most of the 1st quarter.
Click here for Heavy’s preview and prediction for this afternoon’s game.
Both the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers enter today’s showdown at Lambeau Field 11-4 with an opportunity to win the NFC North. Each team can also, with the right breaks from the Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys, earn either 1st-round bye in the postseason or even home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
Aaron Rodgers has been a postseason regular, Since his 1st full regular season in 2008 where the Packers finished 6-10, they have not missed the playoffs since, extending their current postseason streak to five seasons. The Lions made the postseason in 2011. The last time two 11-win teams met this late in the season to determine a division winner was 1993.
This year is Lions’ head coach Jim Cladwell’s 2nd postseason appearance. He won 14 games and went to the Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2009-10.
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