x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

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