x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Lions win division game, while Rodgers' run in jeopardy

The Green Bay Packers could not find the end zone without the arm of Aaron Rodgers to carry them as their play-off hopes took a dent.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, bottom, had a tough encounter against Detroit, culminating in a concussion. Paul Sancya / AP Photo
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, bottom, had a tough encounter against Detroit, culminating in a concussion. Paul Sancya / AP Photo

The Green Bay Packers could not find the end zone without the arm of Aaron Rodgers to carry them as their play-off hopes took a dent on Sunday.

The Detroit Lions knocked Rodgers out of the game and ended a trio of dubious streaks in a 7-3 win. Drew Stanton threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Will Heller, the tight end, midway through the fourth quarter and Detroit held on.

Rodgers started his 45th consecutive game in the regular season since replacing Brett Favre in 2008, but that streak might be in jeopardy because of his second concussion this season.

The Lions (3-10) broke a five-game losing streak overall, a 10-game slide against Green Bay and a 19-game run of losses against teams in the NFC North in what was the NFL's worst slump within a division since the merger four decades ago.

Detroit's last division win was on October 28, 2007, at Chicago.

"Was it 20 games ago? Wow," Dominic Raiola, the centre, said. "There were a lot of streaks."

Rodgers was hit hard by Amari Spievey and Landon Johnson in the second quarter.

Green Bay took a timeout after the quarterback got up slowly, perhaps to give him time to recover, then he was sacked on the next play. He finished the drive, but did not come back into the game.

Rodgers also had a concussion in an overtime loss at Washington in October and played the following week.

"I can't really measure the level of a concussion at this point," Mike McCarthy, the Packers coach, said. "He'll go through the normal protocol this week. I was just told that his head is clear and he has a headache."

When Rodgers was in the game, Detroit's pass rush, Green Bay's lack of a running game and a dropped pass led to his lacklustre performance.

Rodgers was seven of 11 for 46 yards with an interception that was not his fault as Greg Jennings allowed a pass to pop out of his hands, which Spievey picked off.

That was just one of many missed opportunities for the Packers (8-5) in a game they desperately needed to win for play-off positioning.

Green Bay got better news later in the day, when the Chicago Bears were routed by the New England Patriots to keep their NFC North lead at one game.

As poorly as the Packers played in Detroit, they still had a shot to win in the final minute, despite only having a field goal from Mason Crosby to show for their endeavours.

Matt Flynn, the seldom-used back-up quarterback, got them to the Detroit 31-yard line before turning the ball over with an incomplete pass into the end zone just past a diving Jennings.

Instead of trying to simply pick up the first down, Green Bay opted for a high-risk, high-reward call.

"That was the play called in the huddle," Jennings said.

McCarthy took the blame. "I probably shouldn't have put Matt in that position," he said.

At a glance

American Conference

East    W    L    T    PF    PA

New England    11    2    0     415    276

NY Jets    9    4    0    273    242

Miami    7    6    0    225    244

Buffalo    3    10    0    256    339

South

Jacksonville    8    5    0    295    331

Indianapolis    7    6    0    347    318

Houston    5    7    0    288    321

Tennessee    5    8    0    291    265

North

Pittsburgh    10    3    0    290    198

Baltimore    8    4    0    260    201

Cleveland    5    8    0    235    252

Cincinnati    2    11    0    262    345

West

Kansas City    8    5    0    295    268

San Diego    7    6    0    354    253

Oakland    6    7    0    314    307

Denver    3    10    0    269    376

National Conference

East    W    L    T    PF    PA

Philadelphia    9    4    0    374    308

NY Giants    8    4    0    308    247

Washington    5    8    0    238    310

Dallas    4    9    0    321    366

South

Atlanta    11    2    0    335    243

New Orleans    10    3    0    330    240

Tampa    8    5    0    260    267

Carolina    1    12    0    164    338

North

Chicago    9    4    0    253    228

Green Bay    8    5    0     306    189

Minnesota    5    7    0    227    253

Detroit    3    10    0    285    309

West

St Louis    6    7    0    245    268

Seattle    6    7    0    261    329

San Francisco    5    8    0    243    280

Arizona    4    9    0    243    351

This week’s results

Tennessee 28, Indianapolis 30

Buffalo 13, Cleveland 6

Carolina 10, Atlanta 31

Detroit 7, Green Bay 3

Jacksonville 38, Oakland 31

Pittsburgh 23, Cincinnati 7

Washington 16, Tampa Bay 17

New Orleans 31, St Louis 13

San Francisco 40, Seattle 21

Arizona 43, Denver 13

Chicago 7, New England 36

NY Jets 6, Miami 10

San Diego 31, Kansas 0

Dallas 27, Philadelphia 30

Top performances

• Tom Brady, Patriots: 27-for-40 passing, 369 yards, two TDs

• Jason Campbell, Raiders:  21-for 30 passing, 324 yards, two TDS

• Ryan Torain, Redskins: 24 carries for 172 yards

• LeSean McCoy, Eagles:  16 carries for 149 yards

• Tim Hightower, Cardinals: 18 carries for 148 yards, two TDs