It was hard work, but the Green Bay Packers ultimately earned a playoff bye by beating the Detroit Lions in Week 17 of the 2019 NFL season.
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This was not the performance the Packers were hoping to leave on tape to close out the season. For a vast majority of this game, Aaron Rodgers’ accuracy left a lot to be desired. While he was able to connect on a few deep shots late in the third quarter, his touchdown pass to Davante Adams came with Darius Slay on the sidelines. Rodgers also connected with Allen Lazard on a crosser for his second scoring strike to tie the game, but he also underthrew Jake Kumerow later in the fourth quarter with a pass that was picked by Amani Oruwariye.
Aaron Rodgers will get the press for a 13-win season, and Davante Adams will go down as his go-to target. However, this team will live and die in the playoffs on the legs of the other Aaron (Jones). The former fifth-rounder out of UTEP assembled a standout season on the ground, and this game only highlighted that significance. In addition to topping 100-yards on the ground, Jones took a screen pass on the final drive and forced a pair of missed tackles for a 33-yard gain to set up the game-winning field goal.
Whether it was a pass or run, Za'Darius Smith was a frequent visitor to Detroit's backfield. It didn't matter if he lined up on the edge or as an inside linebacker, Smith found a way to burst his way through the Lions' offensive line.
The Packers' secondary struggled to stick with the Lions' receivers. Fortunately for the unit, David Blough was unable to accurately feed the ball to his pass-catchers.
The Lions gashed the Packers on the ground throughout the game. Kerryon Johnson, Ty Johnson and Bo Scarbrough all benefited from wide-open rushing lanes, as the Packers continually failed to account for every gap.
Early on, it seemed as if David Blough could do enough to lead the Lions to victory. All of that changed once Kenny Golladay left with an injury. Blough was consistently inaccurate and failed to hit open receivers on multiple occasions.
The finest performance on defense for Detroit came from star defensive back Darius Slay. He remained in phase with Davante Adams throughout the game, and he limited the stud wideout to 60 receiving yards.
The Lions' linebacking corps was a liability today. They struggled in coverage, failed to seal the ends in the running game and they also missed several tackles.