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Detroit Lions’ strong effort to play spoiler comes up short, lose 9th straight

The Lions gave it their all, but another fourth-quarter letdown prevented them from playing spoiler.

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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions put up a hell of an effort in their season finale, giving the Green Bay Packers all they could handle. But in the end, the Lions’ faults all emerged at the end of the game, and the Packers overcame a 7-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Detroit and clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Here’s how it happened.

First quarter

The Detroit Lions offense took the field first, and immediately got some help from a roughing the passer call on the very first play. A good run by Kerryon Johnson got the Lions to midfield, but Detroit couldn’t advance any further and decided to punt on a fourth-and-4 from the Packers’ 44-yard line. But thanks to a Jimmy Graham drop and an Aaron Rodgers overthrow, the Lions got the ball back after just three Packers plays.

The Lions would take advantage. First, they were able to get into Packers territory with a successful rushing attack, but the real highlight was how the Lions finished the drive: with their patented Week 17 trick play. This time: Danny Amendola threw the ball to David Blough for the score.

7-0 Lions.

The Packers quickly worked their way into Lions territory, but penalties pushed them back, and they were forced to punt on a fourth-and-21 instead of getting on the board early.

Backed up inside their own 10-yard line, the Lions offense would go three-and-out after Blough missed J.D. McKissic on what would have been a pretty easy third-down conversion. As a result, the Packers got solid field position to try and tie the game up.

Second quarter

Again, it looked like the Packers were threatening to score, but the Lions timed up a perfect blitz and rookie safety Will Harris took down Rodgers for a 11-yard loss on third-and-8.

Detroit would quickly go three-and-out, though, giving Rodgers the opportunity to finally heat up. But the Lions defense would continue to stand tall, as Darius Slay knocked away another Rodgers third-down attempt, forcing Green Bay to punt for the fourth time in just 21 minutes of game play.

The Lions would add to their lead after Blough found Kenny Golladay deep for 42 yards. A third-down conversion and a suplex penalty later, and the Lions were suddenly faced with a fourth-and-goal from inside the 1-yard line. From there, Kerryon Johnson—running behind linebacker Jason Cabinda as a makeshift fullback—punched it in to make it 14-0 Lions.

Green Bay would finally get on the board just before the half. A big 33-yard completion to Davante Adams put the Packers in field goal position, but Rodgers just missed Aaron Jones on a wheel route that would have resulted in a touchdown. Instead, Green Bay settled for a chip-shot field goal. 14-3 Lions.

With only 20 seconds left, you’d figure the Lions would just run the clock, but the first play of a the drive—a Ty Johnson draw play—ended up going for 40 yards. Johnson added 11 yards on a second rush, and the Lions were able to kick a 42-yard field goal as time expired. 17-3 Lions.

Third quarter

The Packers offense got off to a quick start, but Rodgers, once again, overthrew his receiver on a would-be touchdown. Instead, the Packers had to settle for a 51-yard field goal attempt. Mason Crosby continued his nightmarish run at Ford Field by missing it, keeping it a 14-point game.

The Lions couldn’t do anything with the advantageous field position, but Sam Martin did manage to pin the Packers at their own 5-yard line with a solid punt.

Rodgers finally started to heat up, though. With Darius Slay sidelined due to an injury, Rodgers picked apart the Lions secondary, going 8-for-10 for 85 yards and a touchdown. He topped the drive with an easy pass to a wide open Davante Adams, who cleanly beat rookie Amani Oruwariye by several steps. 17-10 Lions.

With no Kenny Golladay in the game, as he was knocked out with a concussion in the first half, the Lions offense couldn’t regain their footing. Blough nearly threw an interception as Detroit went three-and-out quickly. The Lions would have to try and hold yet another fourth-quarter lead.

Fourth quarter

Though a hobbled Darius Slay re-entered the game, Rodgers’ dissection of the Lions secondary continued. However, Tracy Walker batted away a third down pass from Rodgers (Walker’s second PBU of the game). The Packers had to settle for three, and the Lions clung to a 17-13 lead with just over 12 minutes remaining.

Detroit wouldn’t go quietly into the night. A pass interference penalty on Green Bay gave the Lions 30 free yards, and that would be all they needed for Matt Prater to nail a 56-yard field goal to push the lead back to seven. 20-13 Lions.

Detroit’s defense rebounded with a three-and-out, although Rodgers still struggled with accuracy on that drive.

But then the Lions started to implode. David Blough threw an inexcusable pass that was easily picked off by Packers linebacker Blake Martinez. To make matters worse, Danny Amendola received a personal foul penalty on the play, giving Green Bay the ball at the Lions’ 40-yard line.

The Lions defense held up all they could, but a very hobbled Darius Slay was just a half-step behind Allen Lazard and Rodgers found him for a 28-yard touchdown on third down. 20-20.

Detroit’s offense couldn’t get anything going, as their second half woes continued. After a 20-yard run from Kerryon Johnson, the Lions could only manage three more yards before punting the ball away. The Packers would have their chance to take their first lead of the game with under four minutes remaining.

But on a desperation third-and-20 heave, Amani Oruwariye stepped in front of Jake Kumerow for an interception. The Lions would have 1:40 to win the game.

And they would not. Blough managed just five yards before the Lions had to punt the ball back, burning just 20 seconds off the clock.

A questionable personal foul penalty on the Lions after Tavon Wilson hit a sliding Aaron Rodgers gave the Packers offense some life, and a few plays later an inside screen to Aaron Jones went for 31 yards and put the Packers in prime field goal position.

Mason Crosby nailed 34-yard field goal as time expired to give the Packers the win. 23-20 Packers.

The loss drops the Lions to 3-12-1 as their final record. They will pick no worse than third in the 2020 NFL Draft, pending any trades.


Buy tickets to Lions vs. Packers from StubHub HERE.

The season is nearing its final conclusion, and the Lions are taking one more swing before heading into the cold of the offseason. With draft position on the line for the Detroit Lions and playoff seeding for teams not named Detroit, the game has plenty of importance to it, even if you’ll find much of it lacking in a Lions victory.

For the Lions, it’s a meager end to a season that held so much promise. But when this team lost starting quarterback Matthew Stafford, it ended up in the most logical result, cratering into the mountainside without much fanfare.

But for the Packers, a win is necessary to help keep them looking for a top seed in the NFC playoffs. Green Bay would love for the road to the Super Bowl to run through Lambeau Field, but to make it so they need to take care of business in Detroit against the Lions. On the other hand, a loss could put all of that in jeopardy, and the Lions are eager to offer such a reality.

It’s one more shot round the moon, one last chance to watch Lions football until August, so if you’re looking to tune in, be sure to find out how down below.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to make it to Ford Field to see the Lions and 2019 off, check out StubHub to find available tickets, using our promo code at Pride of Detroit for additional savings. To use the code just use the link and select your ticket.

How to watch Lions-Packers

Date: Sunday, December 29, 2019
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Ford Field — Detroit, MI
Week 17 TV Map: Courtesy of 506 Sports here
Announcers: Kevin Burkhart, Charles Davis
Online streaming: Yahoo Sports app
Local radio: WJR-AM NEWS TALK 760
Radio announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown
Odds: Packers by 12.5

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