Rodgers, Packers lose 20-16 to Lions, miss playoffs
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers was intercepted by Kerby Joseph on the final pass of what might be his last game, and the Green Bay Packers lost 20-16 to the Detroit Lions on Sunday night to miss the playoffs.
After winning four straight games and receiving plenty of help from other teams, the Packers had control of their postseason fate heading into the final game of the NFL regular season. But they fell short against the Lions, who had been eliminated from the playoffs earlier Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks beat the Los Angeles Rams 19-16 in overtime.
Seattle (9-8) instead earned the NFC’s last playoff spot and will play at San Francisco (13-4) in the opening round. The Packers (8-9) missed the playoffs for the first time in Matt LaFleur’s four seasons as coach.
Rodgers went 17 of 27 for 205 yards with one touchdown in what may be the final appearance at Lambeau Field for the four-time MVP. Although he is under contract for next season, the 39-year-old Rodgers has said he doesn’t know whether he will continue playing.
During the game, Rodgers became the eighth NFL player to have at least 5,000 career completions.
Jamaal Williams’ second 1-yard touchdown run of the night against his former team put the Lions (9-8) ahead with 5:55 remaining. Williams had 17 touchdown runs to break the Lions’ single-season record that Barry Sanders had set in 1991.
Green Bay only got as far as its own 33 on its next series before Joseph picked off Rodgers’ deep throw on third-and-10 with 3 1/2 minutes left.
Detroit held onto the ball for the remainder of the game. Facing fourth-and-1 from the Green Bay 15, the Lions passed up a field-goal attempt and got a clinching first down on Jared Goff’s 9-yard pass to D.J. Chark. Goff also had connected with Chark for a first down on fourth-and-2 during the Lions’ go-ahead drive.
Playing to extend their season, the Packers frequently lost their composure.
Linebacker Quay Walker was ejected during the Lions’ go-ahead drive after pushing a Lions staffer who was attending to an injured Detroit player. That was the second ejection of the season for the rookie first-round pick.
Detroit’s Michael Badgley made a field goal to close the first half after a personal foul on Green Bay’s Rasul Douglas turned what would have been a 48-yard attempt into a 33-yarder.
Green Bay led 9-6 after a first half that featured five field goals and numerous wasted chances. Then, on the Packers’ first possession of the second half, Mason Crosby’s 53-yard field-goal attempt hit the crossbar and bounced backward.
The Lions took over and moved ahead for the first time in the game. Goff threw a 43-yard pass to Khalif Raymond to set up Williams’ TD from 1 yard out.
The Packers answered on their next series. Rodgers connected with Christian Watson for a 45-yard completion that set up his 13-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard.
On the Packers’ final series, Rodgers threw two incompletions before Joseph intercepted him for the third time this season. Joseph had two of the Lions’ three picks in a 15-9 victory on Nov. 6 and had another potential interception on Sunday that was nullified by a penalty.
Crosby made field goals of 22, 48 and 49 yards in the first half.
The Lions played without cornerback Jeff Okudah (elbow) and defensive tackle Michael Brockers (ankle). Packers CB/KR Keisean Nixon left in the fourth quarter to get evaluated for a concussion.
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