ReFo: Lions @ Packers, Week 17

The NFC North title was decided and despite pulling up with an injury, Aaron Rodgers was able to come back and seal it for the Packers. Michael Renner breaks down ...

| 2 years ago

ReFo: Lions @ Packers, Week 17

2014-REFO-WK17-DET@GBWith a first round bye in the playoffs on the line, the battle for the NFC North title lived up to expectations. The first time these two teams met in Detroit it was a defensive struggle with a final score of 19-7. This time around figured to be more of the same with the weather a factor at Lambeau Field.

The Packers opened up the scoring with a 55 yard punt return from Micah Hyde and followed it up with a Randall Cobb four yard touchdown before the half. That pass would prove to be the story line of the game though as Aaron Rodgers would reinjure his calf on the play and be taken to the locker room. The Lions seized the opening and came roaring back, scoring on back-to-back drives before and after half time to even up the score at 14-14.

After missing two series’ Rodgers would return and showed no signs of the injury affecting his play. The quarterback led three straight long drives ending in a touchdown, a blocked field goal, and a touchdown. The 28-14 lead late in the fourth and despite a crazy recovery of an onside free kick by Detroit, Green Bay came away with the 30-20 victory. The Lions will travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys next Sunday in the late game while the Packers await the Wild Card results to find out who they’ll play in two weeks.

Detroit Lions- Performances of Note

Matthew Stafford, QB: -3.3

Breakdown: A completion percentage under 50% is usually an indicator of poor performance and Stafford’s grade reflects his generally inaccuracy throughout. Stafford just missed too many throws, with two possible game changing throws that stood out about the rest. The first was a deep post route that would have likely been a touchdown from Calvin Johnson which was overthrown midway through the second quarter. The second throw came later in that same drive when on foruth down he threw a wildly off-target throw over Golden Tate’s head.

Signature Stat: Stafford completed just 8-of-17 passes for 78 yards on throws targeted within 0-10 yards of the line of scrimmage.

Glover Quin, S: -2.6

Breakdown: The PFF Pro Bowl starter picked a bad time for his lowest graded game of the season. After two straight games without a catch allowed, Quin yielded three for 34 yards to go along with a holding penalty on Sunday. His real struggles arose when he was wrapping up ball carriers though as he missed a career high four tackles, matching his total for the season heading into the game.

Signature Stat: Before Sunday, Quin hadn’t missed more than one tackle in a game since 2011

Eric Ebron, TE: -3.2

Breakdown: A very quiet rookie season for the 10th overall pick finishes on a particularly sour note. Ebron got beat up as a run blocker and was little factor in the passing game despite tying his career high with 38 receiving yards. The Lions ran a few counters and designed bounce outs that went nowhere because of his poor blocking on the edge. He also dropped a ball and was only able to haul in two of his six targets.

Signature Stat: On the very first play from scrimmage, Ebron pulled to the back side on a split zone run. The rookie was supposed to kick out right to block outside linebacker Nick Perry and open up a cutback lane, but instead he whiffed and allowed tackle for short gain.

Green Bay Packers – Performances of Note

Mike Daniels, DE: +3.0

Breakdown: After a few down games, Daniels was back to form on Sunday. The defensive end created havoc on the Lions front with routine penetration into the backfield. He collected a sack and a hit to go along with two stops in the running game. The stats don’t quite do him justice though as he beat multiple blocks against both the run and the pass, but didn’t finish them with pressures or stops.

Signature Play: On a handoff to the left with 2:16 left in the second quarter, Daniels stacked right guard Garrett Reynolds at the snap, sending him two yards deep in the backfield and almost tripping up the pulling tight end. Daniels then worked his way down the line, closing off the intended point of attack and forcing Reggie Bush to reverse fields into the waiting arms of Morgan Burnett

Aaron Rodgers, QB: +3.4

Breakdown: This one looked like it was heading to a much different outcome after Rodgers pulled up holding his leg on a touchdown pass late in the second quarter. Nothing about the injury looked minor, but the quarterback was able to return and play near perfect football with just a single incomplete targeted pass (Q4-11:32) in the second half. The defense dictated short throws and Rodgers was happy to continue taking them. He didn’t attempt a single target over 20 yards downfield and had just five (all completed) over 10 yards down field.

Signature Stat: Rodgers worked the middle of the field all day long, completing 15-of-16 passes there for 213 yards and a +3.9 grade.

Casey Hayward, CB: +2.2

Breakdown: Not a bad day for the Hayward who capped off a solid bounce back season in style on Sunday. The Packers’ dime back allowed three catches for 21 yards, broke up two passes and had two stops. Hayward ended the season as the most infrequently targeted cornerback in the NFL, with a target every 10.6 coverage snaps.

Signature Play: Hayward is one of the elite underneath zone defenders in the game and he showed why on a critical third-and-10 with 3:16 left in the third quarter. Matthew Stafford was staring down Reggie Bush on a slant five yard slant and Hayward broke to the inside for the ball before Bush even broke on his route. The result was a near interception that got pulled away by Bush at the last second.

PFF Game Ball

Aaron Rodgers was the difference in the game for the Packers and gave a lights out performance on Sunday.


Follow Mike on Twitter: @PFF_MikeRenner

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • MinnesotaMiking

    -10.1 grade for the Biased Refs…Unbalieveable!

    • geoblank

      You are obviously referring to that nonsensical head slap call.

    • Brian Dugan

      Yami Sen is making more sense than you. This “blame the refs” angle is beyond idiotic.

    • Kozak

      Enjoy watching other teams in the playoffs. Again.

  • Jason Williams

    That was Willis Reed-esque by Rodgers. Serious props for killing the Lions with one leg.

  • Football

    PFF Game Ball: Refs, for helping Green Bay pull out an easy victory

    • Yonatan Bogale

      I dont remember any calls that were pro Green Bay, so what u talking about?

      • Dohkay

        Not that I blame the refs for a loss when the Lions played poorly to begin with (or agree with Football on anything he posts… shudder) but there were a few…

        Rodgers QB sneak called (and confirmed) a TD despite questionable video evidence while Joique Bell’s 2-pt conversion called a TD yet somehow overturned with no viable replay footage (unless Fox just didn’t feel like showing it).

        Rodgers no-call on Intentional Grounding when he throws 10 yards left of Jordy Nelson (who was running the opposite direction to make matters worse) yet Stafford gets called for it in the endzone despite two Lions in the direction of the throw but 10 yards downfield. Either they’re both grounding or they’re both not.

        Lastly, on the Lacy non-fumble, it was the correct ruling as apparently even touching only the ball when a runner is on the ground immediately ends the play (doesn’t make sense to me but it’s in the rulebook), however, Caldwell said after the game that the referee told him he could challenge it and if Levy hit the ball before touching the player it would be a fumble. Cost the Lions a challenge and a timeout when it shouldn’t have happened since he wouldn’t have challenged had he been told the correct interpretation.

        • Bob

          Really? All I have seen from Lion fans is crap about the officiating. Sneak was confirmed easily from the video… he isnt touched as he crawls backwards into the end zone. The two pointer was close and I was a bit surprised by the overrule but I assume they had stop actions of each angle with the timing the same and could make that call.
          Rodgers is throwing to a spot he thinks Jordy is going to, and is not in the grasp at the time. Stafford is throwing the ball away while in the grasp. Much different although I do see the ref’s giving that call to the QB sometimes but this one wasnt that close. Lastly, if a coach wants to waste a challenge that is on him. The ref’s spent a long time explaining the rule to Caldwell and he went for it anyway. Inexperience or just a bad decision. I notice you didnt mention the almost non-existent head slap on Stafford that lead to a TD, or the face mask by Bush, or the failure to allow a fair catch on the pooch kid after the safety, or several obvious holds on Clay when he busted through the Lions line. I thought it was evenly called. Misses each way.

          • Dohkay

            There was zero video evidence shown on Bell’s 2 pt overturn so either there wasn’t any or Fox decided not to show it despite it being a game-ending play for the Lions. Intentional grounding doesn’t take into account option routes so by the letter of the law, it was grounding. That being said, I thought both should have been no-calls and Aikman/Buck said the same thing.

            Caldwell discussed with the official who advised him that it was challengeable when it wasn’t. I’m not sure how you fault a coach for listening to the advice of a ref…

            The head-slap is a foul. You can complain about how weak it was but they protect QBs like no other position. Stafford was driven into the ground on a hit in third quarter that went uncalled so I consider those a wash. The facemask by Bush was offset by the facemask on Levy in which he ever so slightly touched your TE’s facemask and released while his head barely moved from the contact. Again, I consider those a wash.

            As for Jordy, he called fair catch despite not even being the closest Packer to the ball. Unless he’s the obvious return man (which he wasn’t), I’m not sure how you treat that. His own players were getting in his way…

          • geoblank

            Using Aikman and Buck as guides only weakens your point.

          • Dohkay

            Appreciate the thoughtful counterargument.

          • geoblank

            The conversion was not that close Video shows clearly the ball never broke the plane. Nor would it have mattered as the Packers recovered the onside kick.I thought Rodgers knee was down but replay showed he wasn’t touched. In short boo-hoo.

          • Dohkay

            Do you have video? Fox never showed a conclusive replay…

        • Yonatan Bogale

          First: as Bob said, the sneak is an easy call because no Lions-Player touched him even when he had contact with the ground.

          Second: I cant remember any situation just by the distance. Tell me the minute/quarter. But I would say the reason why they didnt call IG on him would be the fact that Rodgers wasnt under pressure at that very moment.

          Third: Why saying the refs are biased just because you dont like the rule itself? If this situation would happen on the Lions side no one from the Lions would complain….

          • Dohkay

            You completely missed my points. Let me try again.

            First: I have no issue with the Rodgers call so long as they do the same on Joique’s (i.e. no indisuputable evidence to overturn).

            Second: He absoluely was under pressure. I don’t have the gameplay on my phone right now so I can’t confirm the time it occurred.

            Third: Where did I say bias? I just mentioned how the ref incorrectly told Caldwell he could challenge it which shouldn’t happen. Unless Caldwell is lying, the ref didn’t even know the rule and it cost the Lions a TO because he advised him it was challengeable.

          • Phillip

            Where have you see anything about Caldwell claiming the ref told him wrong??? Here’s a quote from Caldwell. “I know you probably listened to the broadcast but if you look at the rule, the official explained it to me in detail,” Caldwell said. “If he would have hit the ball first when the ball came out, we had a chance at it but they ruled otherwise.” Obviously he was hoping video evidence showed that Levy hit the ball before actually making contact with Lacy, which truly would have been almost impossible seeing as how Levy came flying in with his entire body and Lacy had his forearm on the outside of the ball. Makes it almost entirely impossible to clearly see if the defender hit the ball 1st. And video evidence clearly showed Joique down before crossing the goal line on the 2 point attempt. There was clear evidence for that, i watched it like 8 times when they were reviewing and the sideline view shows it clearly, you can see the moment his ass hits the ground and ball is straight up and down in Joiques hand just short of the goal line. Had he had the ball in a horizontal position, it likely would have been across.

          • Dohkay

            That is the wrong interpretation of the rule, just FYI. Mike Pereira explained it on air and on twitter. It didn’t matter if the defender hit the ball and ONLY the ball. Contact with either the body or ball downs the runner. You cannot fumble while on the ground. Now re-read Caldwell’s comment. See how he was misled? The ref didn’t know the rule!

        • VinceR

          you didn’t mention the numerous, late hit/spearing plays by DET defenders not called I see. Like when a guy is clearly tackled and someone tries to spear him into the ground, that happened a bunch, with no calls.

          • Dohkay

            Numerous you say? Surely you have several examples you can provide of these blatant spearing and late hit plays?

        • Phillip

          You need to go back and watch the Bell 2 or attempt again. If I can pause my TV and see it clearly, you should too. The sideline angle that shows him from the left side, if you pause it as soon as his ass hits the ground, you can clearly see not any part of the ball was over the line. Its clear as day and I knew for sure it wasn’t going to stand.

          As for Rodgers TD, it’s tough to see anything. They ruled TD so it had to stay TD. From the back angle it looks as if when his knee his he wasn’t at all touched by a defender and then pushed into the backs of his OL n fell forward. There’s just absolutely no evidence either way. Had they called short, it would have had to stay short. Intitial look looked like Rodgers got in.

          • Dohkay

            It does not look CLEAR to me. It looks 50/50 in which case the call should stand. Unless there was another angle on your broadcast then I don’t see how you can call it conclusive. I already said I have no issue with the Rodgers TD. I brought it up to contrast to the Bell call in which there was not a conclusive view of the ball breaking or not breaking the plane prior to being down, hence both plays should stand as called.

    • Kevin

      It’s funny because I thought the calls were going for the Lions for much of the game. The worst call in the game was two no calls that favored the Lions. Hayward was ripped out of bounds and drug 10 yards by Bush until he was slammed into the heater(while doing a front flip because being drug down by his facemask). The 2nd was obviously Suh stepping on Rodgers.

      • California dreaming

        hahaha.,…..the suh stepping call should been a penalty? for what? your kididng right? I’m trying to think if ever in my life I’ve seen that called in a football game before. No I’m sure I havent and I can promise you it happens all the time. So sad Fox broadcasting has such influence on people and their opinions. It’s like subliminal messaging.
        Was it disrespectful? maybe……….was it a little rude? sure I guess……….was it a penalty? your have to be kidding. Now were going to call penalites on guys who happen to be watching the ball and in the process who step on another guy. Thank god most don’t know what goes on in the bottom of a pile. This is football you know where guys are litterally trying to rip each others heads off.

        Do me a favor and watch the play again and try and imagine a 15 year old boy or eveb girl for that matter lying on the ground and Suh using the exact force he used and tell me if that would even make a teenager cry? Please NFL leave this alone. If you start calling stuff like this than they could seriously call 15 worse things a game if they looked for it and I don’t want to watch games officiated like that.

        What happened to the day we all laughed at stuff like this. We wonder why were turning into a nation of wussies. People crying about this should be ashamed of themselves. As for the refs………’s green bay at home, they been getting favorable calls in Lambeau back when the games most overrated qb of all time (favre) played for them. this wasn’t anything we haven’t seen in years.

        • Kevin

          You’re telling me a 300 lb person with cleats putting all his weight and force on someone wouldn’t hurt him? That is a enough pressure to break bones in a teenager.

          Fox had nothing to do with my opinion. If you intentionally do something like that, it deserves a penalty. There is no place in this game for that. You’re telling me that wasn’t as bad as a tap on a QB’s helmet that is routinely called?

          I understand you’re a Lions fan but try not to be so biased.

        • Kevin

          Now I read the rest of your comment. I see you’re completely delusional and even showing some signs of jealousy and hate. This is completely pointless for me to even go on. You’re obviously clearly biased and I don’t want to get in a conversation with someone that isn’t willing to even consider the possibility that it was a pretty bad play on Suh’s part and obviously intentional.

          I’ve seen VERY few people that aren’t Lions fans even try claiming it wasn’t intentional which should tell you something. There is no place in the NFL for a 300 lb player cleating a player(no matter who it is) who just returned to the game because of a pulled calf(which just happened to be right where Suh stepped. Imagine that from a player that has been proven dirty and showed numerous signs that what he did yesterday was also intentional and dirty.

        • john doe

          I agree with Kevin, you’re delusional. And since the NFL has decided to suspend sue for a playoff game they disagree with you too. I’ll bet you’re a 49whiners fan. Enjoy your stay at home team. As for the de-toilet’s in big D not a snowballs chance and good riddance to rubbish.

        • Phillip

          It’s called unsportsmanlike conduct dude. Players accidentally step on players all the time. What players don’t accidentally do is use that foot on top of the player to push off of him, completely raising his right foot off the ground shifting all his weight onto the players leg. Players step on other players they’ll do everything they can to avoid putting pressure down cause that can easily cause injury, but instead Suh decided he would put all his weight down on Rodgers. Yes, that should have been a personal foul. It’s obvious from your comments your just a hating troll that don’t like the Packers, but if it had happened to the QB of your favorite team, you’d have the same reaction and i’d still feel the same way about it, that it was totally wrong, no matter what QB it was he did it too. It’s not hard to not have a completely biased, hatred POV towards other teams and players just because they aren’t your favorite team.

  • Jacob Basson

    how is that 5 out of 5 Packer offensive lineman are graded at or below 0 for run blocking in a game where they blocked for the 1st 100 yard rusher the Detroit defense has allowed all season (while Lacy himself got just +0.2 for rushing)?

    • Mike Renner

      The stat you quoted is a total. It took Lacy 26 carries to get 100 yards. That’s 3.8 yards per carry, almost a full yard short of his season average and below the league average. While it was a good performance considering the opponent it still produced below average results on per play basis and it shouldn’t then be too surprising that the blocking was below average.

      • VinceR

        That is misleading, he was averaging well over 5 and 6 yards most of the game, his yards per attempt went down when GB was clearly ahead and trying to kill clock, but he was dominant thru first 3 quarters running the ball.

        • Dohkay

          He was averaging 4.4 YPC as of GB going up by 14. Once they had the the 14 point lead you are correct that his YPC dropped but he wasn’t quite gashing the Lions nor was the team as a whole. Lacy/Kuhn/Cobb/Starks averaged 4.1 YPC up to that point as well. Above average against the Lions though, no doubt.

  • citizen x

    A sign that Quin didn’t like the cold or didn’t have enough grip on his gloves??

  • Jonathan Bennett

    Stafford missed several throws early on (I think the 4th down throw to Tate might have been a miscommunication), but his overall play improved after the end of half TD. Even with all of the mistakes by Detroit, the game was a close one until the Bell fumble.

    • Dohkay

      Agreed on that 4th down throw. The announcers (and PFF apparently) thought it was an overthrow but to me it looked like a miscommunication with Tate sitting down on his route whereas Stafford was expecting him to keep running.

  • Brian Dugan

    Aaron was phenomenal, but for me the game ball goes to the entire offensive line. Most rushing yards vs. the Lions all season and no sacks or much pressure on Rodgers in a game where that kind of protection was paramount (note: I know Flynn got sacked once, but that was because he clearly had no intention of ever throwing that football).

    • VinceR

      I was just happy Flynn didn’t fumble :) I had that vision coming.

      • Phillip

        Haha, I had that same vision. Once I seen him drop back, I was thinking here comes a sack fumble, and once dude got his hand on him, I thought for sure I was about to see the ball rolling around. I can’t at all understand why he’s still coming in over Tolzien. Its clear in the little mop up duty he’s gotten, he cannot leas this offense. I’m just completely dumbfounded as to why he’s still the #2.

  • VinceR

    GB’s O line gets no credit, if GB fed Lacy the ball like Dallas does Demarco Murray he would be up over 2000 yards and 20tds, GB almost uses Lacy like a 3rd option with Rodgers at QB and the guy still put up over 1500 yards from scrimmage and 13 tds, so much for a soph. slump. He even raised his yards per carry in his 2nd year.

    • Phillip

      Yeah, there’s no doubt. Lacy is a straight beast and if he was in a run 1st offense there’s no doubt he’d be a 1,500+ yard rusher getting 320-330 carries. Unfortunately with Rodgers though, Packers are pass 1st. But at least over the last 8-10 games or so they started to use Lacy as more of a pass catcher, and he showed to have excellent receiving ability. There’s no doubt Lacys numbers would benefit from a SF or Seattle type offense, but Green Bay will never be that as long as they have Rodgers, Nelson and Cobb, which they will for at least the next 5 years. I just hope Lacy gets more back to a complete feature role next year, averages about 20-22 touches a game, say 1,300 rushing and 600 receiving.

      • Fallschirmjager

        Less touches will promote longevity too. Especially with his running style. We don’t really need a 1500 yard back. Lacy had a great year. Especially after the o-line gelled.