The Detroit Lions held with the Green Bay Packers for all four quarters, but it just wasn't’ enough. The defense didn’t get enough stops, and the offense sputtered at all the wrong times.
Most notable of all, Matthew Stafford suffered a rib injury late in the fourth quarter and was not able to return. Chase Daniel had a couple opportunities to make a miracle comeback but it fell short.
With playoffs now out of the question, the focus turns to the future, and with a general manager search, a coaching search, and a big decision to make at quarterback, the next three months of this franchise will be critical.
But for now, here’s how the Lions lost 31-24 to the Packers.
The Detroit Lions got the ball first, and they came out swinging like the shootout everyone was predicting was on. Matthew Stafford found Mohamed Sanu for an early third-and-9 conversion, and it was easy going from there. A 15-yard catch from Danny Amendola got Detroit down to the 1-yard line, and a nifty shovel pass to T.J. Hockenson put the Lions up early. 7-0 Lions.
Stafford to Hockenson 6️⃣@Lions strike first. #OnePride— NFL (@NFL) December 13, 2020
: #GBvsDET on FOX
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But it didn’t take long for Aaron Rodgers to respond. Davante Adams jumped in front of Amani Oruwariye for a pass and burned Duron Harmon for a 56-yard scamper. And just like that, it was tied. 7-7
DAVANTE! #GoPackGo #NFLBrasil pic.twitter.com/GG3a5mpCVz— NFL Brasil (@NFLBrasil) December 13, 2020
Detroit’s offense responded with a three-and-out, giving the Packers a chance to take an early lead. Green Bay was driving again down into the Lions’ red zone before the quarter came to a quick end.
Just two plays into the second quarter, the Packers indeed took the lead. Rodgers found Marquez Valdez-Scantling with Oruwariye all over him, but MVS was able to hold on for a 14-yard touchdown. 14-7 Packers.
Rodgers -> MVS. TOUCHDOWN @PACKERS! #GoPackGo #NFLBrasil pic.twitter.com/lkZubWv84Y— NFL Brasil (@NFLBrasil) December 13, 2020
Detroit was able to move to midfield to potentially tie things up. However, Stafford took-back-to-back sacks, forcing the Lions to punt back to Green Bay and give them a chance to extend their lead.
However, just as the Packers looked like they were about to get things moving again, Lions cornerback Darryl Roberts came in with a beautiful pass breakup on a third-and-10 to force Rodgers’ first completion and the Packers’ first punt of the game.
Great PBU by Darryl Roberts for the Lions! This was Rodgers first incompletion of the game #OnePride pic.twitter.com/jDCM8rMwbh— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) December 13, 2020
Detroit responded with a picture-perfect drive. A 11-play, 80 yards drive ate up 4:14 of the clock and capped with a D’Andre Swift 3-yard run to tie up the game. 14-14.
Welcome back to the end zone @DAndreSwift❗️ #GBvsDET | FOX | #OnePride pic.twitter.com/9gFI7fboiu— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 13, 2020
The Lions also were able to eat up all three of the Packers timeouts of the half, leaving Rodgers just 1:27 left to take the lead into the half. And while he was able to get to midfield, he couldn’t connect on a third-and-3, giving the Lions the ball back with 35 seconds left.
With three timeouts, the Lions attempted to score, and were able to work it to midfield. But two Hail Mary attempts failed—one incomplete, one sack—and the game was tied at the half.
The Packers led off the second half with a long, arduous drive. Green Bay faced four third downs on that drive and converted all four of them on their way to a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ate up 8:49 of clock. Rodgers couldn’t find anyone on third down and goal, so he scrambled and found a rushing lane with no one in it for the easy touchdown. 21-14 Packers.
.@AaronRodgers12 takes it himself— Green Bay Packers (@packers) December 13, 2020
#ProBowlVote#GBvsDET | #GoPackGo
Detroit followed this drive with a three-and-out, exactly what they couldn’t afford at the time.
Green Bay continued to drive and hold onto the ball—as they did for 13:39 of the third quarter—and drive into Lions territory as the game turned over to the final quarter.
After burning another three minutes off the clock, Rodgers capped the drive with his third passing touchdown of the day. This time, he found Robert Tonyan who had thoroughly beaten Jahlani Tavai in coverage. 28-14 Packers.
Aaron Rodgers. Surgical. #GoPackGo— NFL (@NFL) December 13, 2020
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The Lions had to score, and they had to score quick. It looked like they connected with Marvin Jones Jr. for a huge play. Unfortunately, this was called incomplete and was not overturned upon replay:
Dear god he caught it. pic.twitter.com/aMLMktPSL9— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) December 13, 2020
The Lions were able to recover and eventually drive down the field and score. Kerryon Johnson punched it in for a 3-yard touchdown, but the drive burned 5:31 off the clock, leaving just 6:30 on the clock for Detroit to get a stop and subsequent score. 28-21 Packers
.@AyeyoKEJO punches it in for the score❗️#GBvsDET | FOX | #OnePride pic.twitter.com/T1r7dptKBk— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 14, 2020
However, on the play before the Johnson touchdown run, Matthew Stafford took a big hit on a scramble and after the drive, he went into the locker room holding his left side.
The Lions were able to get a defensive stop, but not before the Packers got into field goal range. Mason Crosby got a little bit of revenge from his past Ford Field struggles, and nailed a 58-yard field goal to push it to two-score game. 31-21 Packers.
A big kickoff return gave Chase Daniel a short field to work with and 3:30 left to somehow conjure up 10 points. Daniel connected with Marvin Jones Jr. on a beautiful third-and-9 conversion. However, a holding penalty on Matt Nelson erased a Daniel scrambling touchdown. The Lions settled for a field goal hoping for an onside kick. 31-24 Packers.
The Lions nearly recovered the onside kick, but it was ruled out of bounds. Replay was inconclusive, as it looked like MIles Killebrew was inbounds, but the ball may have barely bounced off the sideline.
Either way, the Lions drop to 5-8, and while they may still be “in the hunt” for the playoffs, given their schedule, that seems highly unlikely.