The Green Bay Packers held destiny in their hands, as a win would clinch the seventh, and final, NFC playoff seed.
But the Detroit Lions, despite being eliminated from playoff contention with the Seattle Seahawks defeating the Los Angeles Rams earlier Sunday, played spoiler.
The Lions defeated the Packers at Lambeau Field, 20-16, behind Jamaal Williams’ two rushing touchdowns in the second half. With the upset, the Seahawks are now the final playoff team in the NFC.
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Williams’ second touchdown was the decisive one, as a 13-play Detroit drive that killed eight minutes of clock in the fourth quarter, gave the Lions the lead.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense had a chance to take the lead once more, but the Lions’ defense was just too much.
On the sixth play of the drive, the Lions sent the kitchen sink at the Packers’ offensive line and Rodgers heaved on downfield amidst the pressure. While the pass was intended for Christian Watson, it was Lions safety Kerby Joseph, which he returned to the Packers’ 45-yard line and the Lambeau crowd went hush.
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There was still 3:27 left on the clock when Jared Goff took the Lions’ offense back on the field, knowing they needed to run down some clock to secure the victory. And Goff got the job done, finding Amon-Ra St. Brown for 11 yards to start the drive, then Williams rushed for nine more yards to land on Green Bay’s 25.
Slowly but surely, the Lions found themselves in a 4th-and-1 situation with 1:14 left to play. Instead of kicking a field goal, head coach Dan Campbell elected to win the game on the next play – a first down iced it.
Instead of going to trusty Williams for the one yard, the Lions went hurry-up and Goff threw a strike to D.J. Chark for nine yards. Game over.
It was a shock to see the Packers lose in a must-win scenario with Rodgers under center at home. After the game, Rodgers was a bit slow to walk off the field, and it will surely add more fuel to the speculation and rumors that Rodgers might want to leave Green Bay.
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He finished the game with 205 yards on 17 of 27 with one touchdown and one interception. The rookie Watson was his top target, hauling in five receptions for 104 yards.
For the Lions, Williams finished with 72 rushing yards on 16 carries, while Goff went 23 of 34 for 224 yards.
D’Andre Swift also had some crucial touches, picking up first downs in the receiving game with seven catches for 61 yards, while rushing for 25 yards as well.
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Neither of these teams will have any football left this season. The Seahawks, certainly rejoicing out west, will take on the San Francisco 49ers this upcoming wild card weekend.