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Lions vs Packers: What Just Happened?

A collection of thoughts on the Lions Week 18 win.

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

I’m sad to see the season end, but man that was a fun way to end it. The Detroit Lions went out and handled the number one seed in the NFC, beating the Green Bay Packers 37-30.

What a day!

As always, I have thoughts on this game. These are those thoughts:

Forget the pick, go win

I’m sure there will be a contingent of Lions fans that are upset that the Lions decided to forgo a chance to secure the first pick in the draft and shoot for the win in a “meaningless” game. Here’s the thing, there are no meaningless games. While it would appear that the Lions had nothing to play for, they did. Wins mean something to young and developing players. Especially wins over playoff teams.

The Lions will walk away with the second pick in the draft and that’s ok. The talent doesn’t immediately go away after the first pick. By the way, we don’t even know who the first pick is since everyone seems so split on who the top player is. The guy you wanted has a good chance of still being there for the Lions.

At the end of the day, the Lions won a big game against a rival that’s on its way to do some damage in the playoffs. You can take that momentum with you into the offseason and build on it. Most of the country saw that game too since it was sort of a nationally broadcasted game. This is a big win for the coaching staff too. That’s two highly seeded playoff teams that the Lions have beaten this season. That’s a big deal for a team that’s long struggled to beat winning teams.

Creativity

Excuse me, where did this come from?

The Lions have a boat full of trick plays and they’re running all of them. A lot of them in this game. They would run a reverse into a modified flea-flicker not long after this play that got Brock Wright in the end zone. I know the Lions will officially be a team without an offensive coordinator here pretty soon, but I’m not sure they really even need one when I see Campbell drawing up stuff like this. More creativity, please.

The Sun God is a star

Let’s be super honest here Lions fans. I kept waiting for Amon-Ra St. Brown to come back down to earth because I just wasn’t sure if he had just had a good game or two and it meant nothing. Now, I realize that he’s not coming down. He’s going to fly through space and conquer other planets like he’s Omni Man. St. Brown is a flat-out star. Lions fans should go ahead a buy his jersey and put his rookie card into protective cases. He’s a star.

St. Brown had another star performance on Sunday when he put up a franchise-record sixth straight-eight reception game and set the Lions record for most receiving yards as a rookie. I am in no way comparing him to Calvin Johnson, but look, he’s doing things that even Johnson didn’t do. That’s a big deal.

All told, St. Brown finished the day with eight catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. He ran for 12 yards too. I say it one more time: he’s a star.

Jared Goff isn’t going anywhere and he shouldn’t

How the tides turn right? Before the bye week, it looked like Jared Goff was the worst quarterback in the NFL and that the Lions would surely be going with a quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft. Goff had gone 181-274 for 1,773 yards, eight touchdowns, and six interceptions. Not great. He had a quarterback rating of 84.7. Also not great.

Since the bye week and since Dan Campbell took over as quarterback coach, Goff has gone 126-186 for 1,250 yards, 11 touchdowns, and two interceptions. That’s much better. What was also much better is that his rating went from 84.7 to 102.7. That’s pretty good.

It’s clear at this point that the Lions might be all set at quarterback for 2022. Jared Goff has shown that he can be good with the right play calling and some weapons. If the Lions continue to build their offensive line, get Hockenson back, another starting-caliber receiver, they could have their guy at quarterback. Don’t be shocked if the Lions don't pick up a quarterback this offseason.

Defense

The Lions' defense looked rough early on in the game when Aaron Rodgers was in. I hate the guy with every fiber of my being and I don’t respect him either. That’s it. I’m sure you were waiting for a “but he’s a good quarterback,” but I’m good.

Anyways... the Lions' defense figured it out as the game went along. They allowed the Packers to claw back into the game, and even take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but boy did they get it done when it needed to. The Lions picked off Jordan Love twice late in the game to seal their third win of the season—and I couldn't be happier for this group.

The Lions' defense took every bump and bruise that they could possibly take in 2021. Between injuries and illnesses, they lost so many key players, and none of that ever got to them. They never quit and they never looked horrible despite it all. These guys deserved that moment at the end of the game when they stood triumphantly in front of their fans.

Thank You Lions Fans

Before we get out of here, I just want to thank Lions fans for another fun season. I truly love covering this team and talking Lions with all of you. Thank you for reading my work all season and I look forward to going through the offseason will all of you. Free Agency is just 66 days away!