The Detroit Lions lost to the Green Bay Packers, 31-24, in the de facto NFC North title game on Sunday, but still advance to the playoffs.
The Detroit Lions (9-7) came up short in their bid to win their first division title since 1993, losing to the Green Bay Packers in their regular season finale, 31-24. The Lions clinched a playoff spot earlier in the day when Washington (8-7-1) lost to the New York Giants (11-5).
The Packers scored first on a seven-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to Aaron Ripkowski, driving 71 yards in eight plays after a missed Matt Prater field goal attempt to take a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Lions responded with a touchdown drive of their own, a one-yard run by Zach Zenner capping off an 11-play, 80-yard drive to tie the game.
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After Green Bay punted, the Lions launched another drive as the first half wound down, going 69 yards in 11 plays, finishing with a three-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate and taking their first lead of the game, 14-7, with 23 seconds left in the half. That was enough time for Rodgers and the Packers’ offense, however, as Rodgers hit Geronimo Allison for a deep pass into Detroit territory and Mason Crosby hit a 53-yard field goal as time expired to cut the lead to 14-10 at halftime.
Green Bay received the second-half kickoff and drove the length of the field, driving 75 yards in ten plays and taking the lead on a three-yard pass from Rodgers to Davante Adams.The teams traded punts until early in the fourth
The teams traded punts until Rodgers led the Packers on a ten-play, 81-yard drive early in the fourth quarter. Facing third and nine at Detroit’s ten-yard-line, Rodgers eluded the Lions’ pass rush for several seconds before finally finding Allen in the endzone to increase the lead to 23-14.
Detroit answered with a 54-yard field goal from Prater on the next drive to trim the deficit to six with 7:47 left, but Green Bay ran nearly five minutes off the clock on their next drive, driving 75 yards in 11 plays and scoring on a second touchdown pass from Rodgers to Adams to put the Packers up 31-17. Stafford threw a 35-yard touchdown to Anquan Boldin in the final seconds, but the ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Packers, who ran out the clock on a 31-24 win and the NFC North title.
With Sunday’s loss as well as Washington’s loss to the Giants earlier in the day, the Lions ended up as the six-seed in the NFC playoffs and will face the NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1) on the road on Saturday.
The Dallas Cowboys (13-3) earned the number-one seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Atlanta Falcons (11-5) won the NFC South and will be the number-two seed.