Detroit- The Lions (9-7) took down the Packers (9-7) 35-11, in a otherwise meaningless game. With a loss last week to the Bengals, the Lions were eliminated from any possible playoff consideration. Today’s game was simply for pride. The game could also signal a changing of the guard at head coach, as rumors continue to fly about the fate of Head Coach Jim Caldwell.
The Lions set the tone on this New Year’s Eve, giving the fans something to cheer and be happy about before ringing in the new year tonight. The Packers opened up the score on a Mason Crosby 41-yard field goal late in the 1st qtr 3-0, but Detroit tied it on the ensuing possession and ceased control of the game. Detroit exploded for 17 points in the 2nd qtr. Matthew Stafford connected with Kenny Golladay on a 54-yard pass. The Lions got a break on a 34-yard Sam Martin punt when return man Donatello Brown mishandled the punt. The muff was recovered by Paul Worrilow on the Green Bay 14-yard line. The Lions cashed in the turnover two plays later, when Stafford connected with Marvin Jones on a 3-yard touchdown pass 14-3.
The Lions offensive run game was absent today, but Stafford and the pass catchers didn’t showed up and out. Tion Green led the woeful run game with a jaw dropping 21-yards on 9 carries. The Lions run game came up with only 51-yards on 23 carries which was pretty much par for the season. If the Lions ever want to become a serious contenders in the NFL, they will have to resurrect the run game to a respectable level to compliment Stafford’s passing. As of Sunday the Lions have not had a 100-yard rusher in 69 games which is mind boggling. On the day Stafford threw for 323-yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Golden Tate led all receivers with seven receptions for 104 yards and one touchdown of 71- yards in the 3rd qtr to put the Lions up 27-3.
The Lions defense held the Packers in check all game, never allowing them to get into any kind of rhythm. Packers quarterback Brett Hundley was hounded consistently, being sacked four times and intercepted twice. Darius Slay who was selected as a Pro Bowl starter, recorded his 8th of the season, and rookie Jarrad Davis got his career first. The packers run game was able to produce as they ran for 103-yards on 27 carries. The packers scored their lone touchdown on a Hundley to Randall Cobb 17-yard pass . Cobb then converted the two point conversion on a 2-yard pass from Hundley 11-27. The Lions closed out the scoring in the game and on their 2017 season in grand fashion. Ameer Abdullah scored on a 7-yard run 11-33. On the two point conversion the Lions went into their bag of tricks. On the Play Stafford walked to the left of the center barking out signals, the snap went to Abdullah who started right and pitched it to Tate on the reverse, who then threw to Stafford wide open in the end zone for the 2-yard conversion reception 35-11.
The Lions go into the off seasons with a huge question hanging out there. Will Caldwell be back to lead them next year? The answer to that question will be forth coming as Lions GM Bob Quinn evaluates the matter. Many in the media have an opinion on the matter, but one thing is certain, the Lions came up short in 2017.