GB-DET grades: Aaron Rodgers makes final case for MVP

Highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Packers' division-clinching win over the Lions.

| 5 months ago
Aaron Rodgers

(Leon Halip/Getty Images)

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. 

Green Bay Packers

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.

Aaron Rodgers vs pressure

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.

Detroit Lions

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.

Matthew Stafford vs pressure

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

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| Analyst

Matt has been an analyst for PFF since 2013. He is also a contributor to 120 Sports and a former NCAA Division-III football player.

  • Anthony Schroeder

    I think it pretty much says everything that needs to be said about the GB defense that even in this game, where they basically held the opponent under 20 points in all the time that mattered, the 5th best score was down to 60.

    • james barklow

      This was true vs Seattle and Chicago too. Capers knows what he’s doing.

  • Nelson Cobb

    As disappointing as Randall and Rollins have been, Gunter has been every bit as impressive. Being a young, UDFA last year, he’s only going to get better. He does lack great top end speed and recovery speed, but if he continues to refine his technique, it won’t be an issue cause he has great size and length. He had consistency issues, but he seems to be getting beyond those, so he at least gives us 1 positive going forward at the position. Hopefully Randall and Rollins have great offseasons, and come back looking like the 2 young promising players they looked like as rookies, and help us get our pass D back in order. No matter what though, with Shields likely being done, they need to take that 9 mil he’s clearing this year plus an extra few mil, and go after a legit #1 CB with experience to replace him, like Trumaine Johnson from LA, or maybe Stephone Gilmore from the Bills, that AJ Bouye kid from Houston if they don’t get him locked up. One way or another though, Packers gotta look to address that position in free agency with some experience.

    • Brian Dugan

      This is an excellent point. Gunter has really impressed at times this year. He only struggles vs. quick-twitch WRs (unfortunately both Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard fall into this category).

      I think you’re right that the Packers need to dip into FA for a CB this offseason. We can’t count on Randall and Rollins to make Davante Adams jumps for next year. What we’re really lacking is what Shields gave us, a speed CB.

      How fitting is it to say on a PFF comments section that losing Casey Hayward may end up being the downfall of our season?

      • james barklow

        They should turn Davis around and make him a CB. That’s what Lombardi did with Jeter.

    • GBPFan12

      They’re both battling various injuries…
      Still, Wouldn’t mind if the team went and drafted a corner with a ton of speed in case Shields has to retire.

  • pobodysnerfect

    Are we still complaining about the refs LOLoins fans???? If anything, that game was skewed by the zebras in DET’s favor. And you still lost – it wasn’t close in the 2nd half.

    Green Bay is simply a better TEAM. They always were. We tried to tell you.

    • Danonald Trump

      I didn’t see anyone complaining.

      • pobodysnerfect

        You weren’t reading football sites comments then. It was rampant. It always is with Lions and Vikings fans.

  • Gabriel

    Aaron Rodgers MVP hands down!!

  • james barklow

    Since when is a fullback not a running back? And what other FB in the league runs for over six a carry in a game with a TD catch and 4.4/carry on the year? They ran Rip on a 3rd and 4 and he gained 7! His longest run was for 15 yards and he still averaged nearly 7 a carry! That’s the guy you should give a high grade to: he’s a good power runner in the Jim Taylor tradition, as some of us have been trying to say for months now.