It was hard to watch, but if you look at the bigger picture, it’s the result the Green Bay Packers needed. The Packers — well, the Packers’ junior varsity — dropped the season finale 35-11 to the Detroit Lions. In turn, they finished 7-9 and improved their draft spot.
The game can be boiled down four things.
- big plays
- lack of offense
First, we knew the Packers would be playing without four starters, not counting Aaron Rodgers. They added cornerback Damarious Randall to that list on game day. Although Mike McCarthy said they would be playing to win, we knew the Packers would be severely overmatched from the beginning. We also had a pretty good feeling they would get killed. They did.
Second, the Packers couldn’t limit the Lions’ big plays on offense. Matthew Stafford threw for three touchdowns and all three of those came on passes of more than 50 yards. Everyone got in on the act. Golden Tate (71), Marvin Jones (56) and Kenny Golladay (54) each made a different member of the Packers’ secondary look like a fool.
Golladay beat Davon House, but it was safety Josh Jones who was supposed to provide support on the play that was the real fool. Jones made a lackadaisical Ha Ha Clinton-Dix look the same on his touchdown. Tate got behind Morgan Burnett and Blake Martinez on his TD and took it to the house.
Jones has some work to do in coverage. Clinton-Dix is just plain bad.
In the final embarrassment, the Lions had Tate hit a wide-open Matthew Stafford for a two-point conversion after their final touchdown.
Third, the Packers committed four turnovers — two interceptions by Brett Hundley, a Hundley fumble and a punt return gone wrong.
The first pick wasn’t Hundley’s fault, as it bounced off running back Jamaal Williams’ hands. The punt debacle happened when returner Trevor Davis and cornerback Donatello Brown got too close to each other. Brown wasn’t looking for the ball and it bounced right off his helmet.
Hey, what can go wrong will for this version of the Packers.
Lastly, the Packers couldn’t generate any offense. Brett Hundley will never again be confused with an NFL-caliber starting quarterback. Hundley finished with 172 yards, one touchdown and two picks. The Packers mercifully brought in Joe Callahan with just over two minutes left in the game.
Hundley was sacked four times, losing 40 yards. Three of the sacks came from Ziggy Ansah, who abused the right side of the Packers’ patchwork line, which featured Justin McCray and Lucas Patrick.
And while Jamaal Williams made some nice runs — he finished with 82 yards — he also averaged just 3.7 per carry.
The Packers had eight drives that lasted five plays or less, not counting the one-play drive before the half. So with the offense doing nothing, a tired and beat-up defense really had little chance of providing much resistance to the Lions.