The Detroit Lions lost a heartbreaker to the Green Bay Packers Thursday night by the score of 27-23. It was a game that no one expected from beginning to end. It was also a game much like others the Lions have had recently. Losing Thursday night pretty much sealed the fate of this team for the year since they would have needed help to make the playoffs if they won every game in the second half of the season. Going 8-8 simply will not cut it this season.
Detroit started the game off driving the field before settling for a field goal. With a 3-0 lead, Green Bay’s offense was set to show what it had. Except that Green Bay’s offense was shut down. They could not move the ball and gave it back to Detroit. Detroit moved the ball down the field again and this time scored on a short touchdown pass to Eric Ebron. Detroit was up 10-0. Green Bay continued to struggle on offense, with Aaron Rodgers throwing an interception to Glover Quin in Green Bay territory. Matthew Stafford made Rodgers pay with a touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson to go up 17-0. Green Bay struggled for the rest of the half and were shut out of the first half for the first time since 2012.
Detroit began struggling on offense and ultimately needed to make halftime adjustments just to move the ball. They ended up driving and getting a field goal in the third quarter to go up 20-0 on Green Bay, but then the Packers offense came alive. They drove the field and scored on a crazy fumble touchdown when James Starks lost the ball, and Randall Cobb recovered it in the end zone for Green Bay. That bit of dumb luck turned the tide in the game. On the very next drive, Detroit left tackle Riley Reiff whiffed bad on Julius Peppers and Peppers stripped the ball from Stafford. Green Bay recovered to start another drive, this one in the red zone. Aaron Rodgers tossed a touchdown pass to Davante Adams to cap off the short drive and cut the lead to 20-14. Detroit drove the field one more time, kicking the field goal to put them up 23-14 late in the 4th. Aaron Rodgers worked his magic and they drove the field on the Lions capping the drive off with a Rodgers touchdown run. Green Bay was now down 23-21.
Detroit milked almost all of the clock on the next drive, hitting a key third down pass to TJ Jones to get to mid field. They left about 30 seconds on the clock when they punted back to Green Bay, and that was 30 seconds too much. Rodgers tried to move the ball but Detroit’s Quandre Diggs had great coverage on the pass, leaving the Packers deep in their own territory, with no time outs and only 16 seconds. Rodgers heaved another deep ball that fell incomplete when Nevin Lawson had great position and looked back for the ball. Rodgers wanted pass interference but he did not get it. On replays it actually looked like offensive pass interference but it was not called either way.
With 6 seconds left, it should have been game over. Enough time for one play, a lateral play. Rodgers passed it deep, it was lateraled twice, and then he ended back up with it. Detroit’s Devin Taylor tackled Rodgers for what should have been the game ending tackle. The referee’s threw a flag and called a facemask. The replays showed that Taylor’s thumb grazed Rodgers face mask but he never grabbed it. He tackled Rodgers by grabbing his shoulder. Rodgers though, like he always does, twisted his head to give the appearance of a facemask and lobbied for a flag. He got a late one from the side judge who had a poor view of the play. Nevertheless, Rodgers had one more shot, with no time on the clock and the ball on his 39. Detroit played one of the weirdest defensive formations ever seen, with their defensive end playing a corner position and rushing three linemen. Rodgers escaped the grips of a Lion defender, ran to the line of scrimmage, set his feet and heaved a deep ball to the end zone. Detroit’s defenders stood all out of position behind every Green Bay receiver and they watched as Richard Rogers, a tight end, caught the game winning hail mary pass. Just like that, a sure win turned to a loss and the Lions season essentially ended.