Embarrassing, shameful, undisciplined, perplexing, exasperating. Pick an adjective, any adjective.
The storybook ending Packer fans were dreaming about after the team’s unlikely late-season surge turned into a horror story that would have made Stephen King proud.
Where do I start? Well, let’s begin with the undisciplined part and Quay Walker. What he did is unfathomable and may warrant a suspension to start the 2023 season. Less than a week after we saw a team’s training staff perform heroically, Walker pushed a Detroit Lions trainer as he tended to his former college teammate D’Andre Swift. Another former Bulldog, Devonte Wyatt, could have gotten himself ejected too.
I don’t care how young your players are, championship teams and good leadership at the top don’t allow things like that to happen. Rasul Douglas’ bizarre move of grabbing the ball from the center before a field goal try was only slightly less egregious. Okay, the Green Bay Packers were going to call timeout, and he didn’t want to give them a practice kick. Guess what, Sul, that’s not a call you get to make.
As for the actual game itself, it was a microcosm of the Pack’s season. Once again, the offense repeatedly failed to convert. Settling for field goals will always get you beat in this league. The Packers played two games against the Lions, owners of one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and scored one touchdown. One. Are you kidding me?
That leads us to Aaron Rodgers, whose gaudy fourth-quarter stats, with the game on the line, look like this: 2 of 6 for 12 yards. It was reported that he hurt his wrist and may have re-injured his thumb during the game, which may very well be true. But Rodgers demonstrated throughout the season that he can no longer carry a team on his shoulders. No shame in that when you turn 39. But after back to back MVPs, the team expected more from him.
As I said early on Sunday, I thought the Lions would be more dangerous if they had no shot at the playoffs. We have no way of knowing how they would have performed if a playoff berth was at stake. But we saw Dan Campbell empty the playbook with flea flickers, laterals, and fourth-down gambles, and his team repeatedly delivered.
The Lions looked like the hungrier, more disciplined, and, quite frankly, the better team. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it is what it is. Now we wait and see what Rodgers wants to do. After promising Lions rookie Jameson Williams his jersey after the first meeting, he changed his mind and told him he wanted to hang on to this one. I think we can all guess why.
I believe we just watched Aaron Rodgers’ last game as a Packer, ending ironically with an interception, just like Brett Favre. It’s been an amazing 15-year run, and we’ve been beyond fortunate to watch him year after year as he plied his craft, but it’s time for the organization to move on.
It’s Rodgers’ call; my guess is he decides to ride into the sunset. And we’ll all turn the page and begin to wonder if Love will find a way.