The Green Bay Packers wrapped up the regular season with a 37-30 loss to the Detroit Lions. The game meant little to nothing for the Packers, who had the No. 1 seed wrapped up before kickoff. Still, there were some alarming takeaways from this one despite the backups getting heavy rotation on offense in the second half.
Here are five numbers that tell the story of the Packers’ loss to the Lions.
The Lions emptied their bank of trick plays in the finale, and they were as good as it gets on two of the three.
Green Bay was able to stop the Lions on a fake punt early in the game, but Dan Campbell‘s trickery didn’t stop there.
Detroit got on the board in the first quarter on a play where Amon-Ra St. Brown came over in motion right to left and got the handoff before pitching back to wide receiver Tom Kennedy. Then Kennedy found a wide-open Kalif Raymond for a 75-yard touchdown.
Campbell had so much fun calling that trick play, he dialed up another later on that also went for a touchdown. On this look, quarterback Jared Goff turned and handed the ball off to D’Andre Swift, who then pitched to St. Brown, who flipped it back to Goff. It all concluded with another Detroit touchdown. This one went to Brock Wright.
For the Packers, these will definitely be going on the film. One would imagine that potential opponents throw in a wrinkle or two against Green Bay given how atrocious the coverage was on both of those touchdowns.
Green Bay has feasted all year long getting a consistent pass rush off the edge from Rashan Gary and Preston Smith. Both have wreaked havoc on opposing offenses. On Sunday, the Packers mustered only one sack, and it came from Dean Lowry. The Green Bay defense’s overall performance paled in comparison to what they’ve done for most of the season.
Smith and Gary were given a heavy workload even with Green Bay having the NFC wrapped up. Both were relatively quiet for most of the afternoon.
Smith lost out on a bonus incentive in his contract when he failed to reach 10 sacks on the season. He finished with nine, which is nothing to hang his head about after a really solid bounce-back season. Still, it was Detroit who got the last laugh on Sunday, and a lot of that was due to the Packers not being able to get all the way home on Goff.
8 for 109
The focus for Joe Barry’s defense coming into this one had to be the rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown. The fourth-round pick out of USC has been torching defenses for weeks now. On Sunday he posted eight receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Brown has been so good that his eight receptions today made it six consecutive games that he’s had at least eight catches. It broke Calvin Johnson‘s franchise record, set back in 2012. Any time you’re breaking one of Megatron’s records, you’re doing something right.
Despite the Packers knowing how the bread was buttered for this offense, they had all sorts of trouble trying to slow down St. Brown. A tip of the cap to the rookie for running circles around the Packers’ secondary.
For one of the rare times this year, the Packers lost the turnover battle on Sunday. It wasn’t even close. Jordan Love had two interceptions in relief of Aaron Rodgers (one he can thank Amari Rodgers for), and Juwann Winfree chipped in with a fumble as well. Conversely, Detroit had zero turnovers.
The Packers have been an opportunistic defense all year, but the takeaways have dipped in recent weeks. What this team has been able to rely on is their offense not coughing it up to the other side. Yes, all three turnovers occurred with the backups in, but coughing it up three times is still inexcusable, regardless.
You won’t win many games losing the turnover battle 3-0. Green Bay learned that the hard way in the finale.
On Sunday, Davante Adams passed Jordy Nelson for the most receiving yards in a single season in Green Bay Packers history. Adams passed Nelson in the first quarter to eclipse his 1,519-yard mark, the previous franchise high. No. 17 would go on to finish with 1,553.
Adams was a demon all season long. He’ll be leaned on heavily in the postseason as the Packers look to march their way to a championship.
The regular-season finale was far from a polished product for the Packers, but Adams setting a new franchise record was pretty damn sweet.