GB-DET grades: Aaron Rodgers makes final case for MVP
Green Bay Packers 31, Detroit Lions 24
Here are the top-graded players and biggest storylines from Green Bay’s NFC North title-clinching win over Detroit.
Quarterback grade: Aaron Rodgers, 83.1
Aaron Rodgers makes final case for MVP
Through the first three quarters, Rodgers threw nearly all of his passes under 20 yards downfield and let his receivers do the work after the catch. However, in the fourth quarter, he started to make plays downfield and outside the pocket. On passes over 10 yards in the air, Rodgers completed 66.6 percent of his attempts. His ability to make plays happen in the intermediate and deep downfield ranges was boosted by the lack of pressure the Lions were able to get on him. Rodgers was not pressured on 73.9 percent of his dropbacks and had a passer rating of 121.4 on those attempts.
Top offensive grades:
LG Lane Taylor, 84.1
C Corey Linsley, 79.1
TE Jared Cook, 77.7
WR Geronimo Allison, 76.5
LT David Bakhtiari, 76.5
Packers produce more rushing yardage from another non-HB
Over the past few weeks, the talk has been about Ty Montgomery and his success in moving to running back. In Week 17, however, it was a different player who impressed as a runner—FB Aaron Ripkowski. The fullback earned a rushing grade of 77.5. as he was able to average 4.8 yards after contact. If the Packers get another non-running back who is able to be an effective runner, they become an even more dangerous offense heading into the playoffs.
Top defensive grades:
CB Micah Hyde, 83.5
S Morgan Burnett, 81.0
OLB Datone Jones, 80.9
CB Ladarius Gunter, 80.7
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, 60.4
Health a major concern for Green Bay secondary
The Packers’ secondary has dealt with injuries throughout the season, and cornerbacks Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins both left the game on Sunday night. At some point, it may be too much for the defense to overcome. Micah Hyde played very well, even as he moved to outside corner, a position he rarely plays. Kentrell Brice saw the field for more than half the game for the second straight week, and gave up three catches for 53 yards, with each going for a first down. They also were not helped out very much by the defense’s pass-rush. The Packers pressured Stafford on just 16 percent of his dropbacks. Clay Matthews failed to register a single pressure for just the fifth time in his career, while Mike Daniels and Julius Peppers had one hurry each.
Quarterback grade: Matthew Stafford, 52.2
Stafford posts below-average grade
In the Lions’ most important game to-date, Matthew Stafford made a couple of poor decisions. The first was a bad misread of the coverage, throwing right into the hands of Clay Matthews, whom Stafford never saw. Fortunately for Detroit, Matthews dropped the easy interception and it didn’t harm the team. The second poor pass was when he forced the ball into tight coverage on a back-shoulder throw to Golden Tate that should never have been attempted based on the coverage, resulting in an interception by Micah Hyde and effectively sealing the game. Still, it wasn’t really that bad for Stafford beyond those two throws. He was inaccurate at times, but he had some really nice deep passes, as he completed four passes targeted 20-plus yards downfield for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Top offensive grades:
LT Taylor Decker, 84.3
C Graham Glasgow, 79.4
RG Larry Warford, 79.4
TE Eric Ebron, 76.8
WR Anquan Boldin, 75.5
Offense racks up yards, but can’t convert into points
The Lions’ passing offense racked up 347 yards on the night, and Zach Zenner added 69 rushing yards on the ground. All six players that caught a pass had a reception for at least 16 yards, including three players (Marvin Jones, T.J. Jones, and Anquan Boldin) that had receptions of 30-plus yards. But the Packers were able to come up with stops when they needed to, and allowed just 17 points before a Hail Mary touchdown in the final minute. Zenner performed well for a player who was not among their top two running backs at the beginning of the season. He earned 45 of his 69 rushing yards after contact and added another 41 yards as a receiver.
Top defensive grades:
CB Nevin Lawson, 84.3
DE Kerry Hyder, 77.9
DT Tyrunn Walker, 77.5
S Glover Quin, 75.5
LB Josh Bynes, 71.2
Detroit allowed over 30 points for the second-consecutive week
Third-year cornerback Nevin Lawson was the standout performer for the Lions’ defense, continuing his solid improvement this year. While Lawson did allow a touchdown to Davante Adams on a fade route, he was able to keep everything else in front of him. In the end, he allowed five receptions, but receivers gained an average of just 4.4 yards per catch, and Lawson also broke up a pass. With both Slay and Lawson playing well, it gives the Lions a solid pairing at corner as they try to contain the Seahawks’ passing attack in next week’s wild card playoff game.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
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