3 Big Things from Packers season defining loss to Detroit

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) walks off the field after a pass was intercepted by the Detroit Lions during the first half at Ford Field, Nov. 6, 2022.Nfl Green Bay Packers At Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) walks off the field after a pass was intercepted by the Detroit Lions during the first half at Ford Field, Nov. 6, 2022.Nfl Green Bay Packers At Detroit Lions /

It was a must-win game for the Green Bay Packers, who were facing the NFL’s worst defense and a Detroit Lions team with only one win.

However, a littany of mistakes and poor plays led to Green Bay scoring only nine points, as the Packers lost their fifth straight game–essentially dashing any remaining playoff hopes.

Despite another ugly performance, I managed to make my through a rewatch of Sunday’s game. As always, here are my three big things from what took place.

A bad Lions dare Aaron Rodgers to throw; Packers can’t capitalize

In one of my write-ups prior to this game, I wrote that this game had the makings of a potential get-right game for the Packers offense as they were facing not only the worst defense in the NFL statistically but one that has been historically bad. I also wrote that if the Packers failed to capitalize on this opportunity, then there’s really no hope for a turnaround moving forward.

Unfortunately, it was the latter that took place.

The Lions were daring Green Bay to throw the ball, which meant extra defenders in the box and made moving the ball on the ground difficult, as Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon totaled just 59 yards on 20 carries. The Packers were still unable to take full advantage through the air, however.

Rodgers would total 291 passing yards, but his pedestrian 6.4 yards per attempt tells a more accurate story of what took place. Green Bay hit on a few big passing plays, but really this game will be remembered for the missed opportunities. Rodgers would throw three interceptions, two of which came in the Detroit end zone with another on the cusp, and he also underthrew a wide-open Samori Toure for what would have been a touchdown.

While there have been plenty of times this season where the Green Bay receivers have ran the wrong routes, dropped passes, or not made the right adjustment, today’s loss falls heavily on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers. This also isn’t to say that Rodgers hasn’t played a role in the previous week’s miscues, but the blunders in this game were by far the most egregious.

What we saw from the Green Bay Packers is what bad football teams do–fail to capitalize on advantageous matchups. And the scary thing is, it fell on the arm of the $50 million quarterback.

What in the heck were those final four plays?

Despite all of the issues on offense, the Green Bay Packers had the chance to win the game in the final seconds. However, some apparent hero ball took over, which resulted in four incompletions, none of which were particularly close to being caught.

With first and 10 from the Detroit 17 and two timeouts still remaining with 55 seconds on the clock, Rodgers’ first pass attempt sailed out of the back of the end zone. On second down, he threw it out of bounds along the sidelines, and it wasn’t anywhere near being caught. Then on third down, a pass over the middle and into the end zone was deflected. Finally, on fourth down, a backfoot heave landed in open grass in the corner of the end zone.

Four plays, and four passes, all of which felt like desperation throws.

Where was the run game? Or at the very least, some underneath throws? Why was Rodgers trying to pick up 40 yards when they only needed 17, and with time on the clock and timeouts in hand, 5 to 10 yards would have done the trick?

This brings us to a larger problem which is that the Packers seem to be straying further away from the Matt LaFleur offense. There were a lot of five-wide sets against the Lions, which doesn’t seem like a viable path to success given the Packers’ issues at receiver, not to mention Rodgers’ struggles at quarterback.

Where is the motion? The bunch sets? Playing under center with regularity? This Packers offense feels an awful lot like the Mike McCarthy offense from 2018 when each player lined up and was supposed to beat the man across from them. Green Bay simply doesn’t have the personnel to play that style of football, nor the quarterback at this point.

Injuries, injuries, and more injuries

How does the old saying go? To add injury to insult? Well, close enough.

On top of everything that went wrong for the Green Bay Packers from an execution standpoint on Sunday, they suffered a plethora of injuries after entering the game at the healthiest that they had been in several weeks at both the receiver and offensive line positions.

At one point or another, throughout the course of the game, the Packers would lose Jon Runyan, David Bakhtiari, Eric Stokes, Rashan Gary, Krys Barnes, Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, and Aaron Jones to injuries.

Runyan and Bakhtiari would each return, but after the game, Stokes, Gary, Doubs, and Jones were all seen in either a walking boot or on crutches.

At this time, we do not know the extent of any of the injuries, but for a team that is already struggling mightily, that is quite a few key players that they could potentially be without moving forward.