Green Bay Packers (10-6) 31, Detroit Lions (9-7) 24
Sunday January 1st 2017 (at Detroit)
GAME RECAP (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
(DETROIT) - Aaron Rodgers threw three of his four touchdown passes in the second half, lifting the Green Bay Packers to an NFC North-winning 31-24 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday night. Detroit's Matthew Stafford connected with Anquan Boldin for a 35-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds left, but the Packers recovered the onside kick and Rodgers had only to kneel once to seal the victory. The Packers (10-6) closed the regular season with six straight wins, running the table as Rodgers said they could after losing four straight games midway through the season, to win the division for the fifth time in six years. Like his team, Rodgers has been perfect during the streak with 15 TD passes and no interceptions. He will lead fourth-seeded Green Bay at home Sunday against the fifth-seeded New York Giants in an NFC wild-card game. Detroit (9-7) dropped its last three games after it had a two-game lead in the NFC North, spoiling its shot at winning a division title for the first time since 1993. The Lions, though, will be in the playoffs for the second time in three years with coach Jim Caldwell because the Giants beat the Washington Redskins earlier in the day. The sixth-seeded Lions will play at third-seeded Seattle on Saturday night in a wild-card game. Rodgers , who was 27 of 39 for 300 yards, threw a go-ahead, 3-yard TD pass to Davante Adams with 9:23 left in the third quarter. Rodgers connected with Geronimo Allison and Adams in the end zone in the fourth quarter to give Green Bay a 14-point lead in a game it trailed 14-7 at halftime. Stafford put Detroit ahead by a touchdown with a 3-yard pass to Golden Tate with 23 seconds left in the second quarter after Zach Zenner tied it with a 1-yard run. Stafford was 26 of 41 for 347 yards with two TDs and an interception. He made some fantastic passes and some he sailed over wide-open receivers.
RODGERS RUNS: Rodgers ran for 42 yards, his third-highest total of the season, on 10 carries. By design, he converted a third-and-1 from the Green Bay 34 with a 13-yard run a bootleg. Rodgers also used his feet to escape sacks and to give his receivers time to get open.
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: Stafford failed to connect with Tate when he was all by himself midway through the first quarter, wasting a chance to make a big play to possibly score on Detroit's second drive. Early in the scoreless second period, Matt Prater missed a 39-yard field goal. Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews also missed an opportunity, dropping one of Stafford's passes that he could've possibly returned for a score.
MATTHEW'S MILESTONE: Stafford surpassed 30,000 yards passing for his career, becoming the fastest quarterback to reach the mark. He did it in his 109th game Sunday night against Green Bay. The previous record was held by Dan Marino and Kurt Warner, who did it in 114 games. With a chance to lead the Lions to a signature win, however, Stafford came up short to add to his legacy that he beats bad teams and loses against winning teams.
INJURIES: Packers: Two cornerbacks — Quinten Rollins (neck) and Makinton Dorleant (knee) — were carted off the field minutes apart late in the third quarter and another cornerback — Damarious Randall (knee) — left the game with an injury in the second half. Rollins, who was conscious and able to move, was taken to a hospital. Receiver Randall Cobb (ankle), running back James Starks (concussion) and center JC Tretter (knee) were inactive with injuries. Lions: Receiver Marin Jones was evaluated late in the game for a concussion, but returned to play. Cornerback Darius Slay returned from a one-game absence with a hamstring injury. Right tackle Riley Reiff was out with a hip injury and was missed, especially when Nick Perry got past his replacement, Corey Robinson, for a possession-ending sack in the third quarter. Robinson left the game with an apparent injury in the second half.
                         GREEN BAY       DETROIT
First downs                     28            24
Rushes-yards                31-153         21-76
Net Passing yards              295           332
Passing (Att-Comp-Int)     39-27-0       41-26-1
Sacked-Yards Lost              1-5          2-15
Punts-Average               5-37.2        4-50.0
Fumbles                        0-0           0-0
Penalties-Yards              10-75          5-30
Time of Possession           34:09         25:51
GREEN BAY -  0  10   7  14 - 31
DETROIT   -  0  14   0  10 - 24
2nd - GB - Aaron Ripowski, 7-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
2nd - DET - Zach Zenner, 1-yard run (Matt Prater kick) TIED 7-7
2nd - DET - Golden Tate, 3-yard pass from Matthew Stafford (Prater kick) DETROIT 14-7
2nd - GB - Crosby, 53-yard field goal DETROIT 14-10
3rd - GB - Davante Adams, 3-yard pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 17-14
4th - GB - Geronimo Allison, 10-yard pass from Rodgers (Kick failed) GREEN BAY 23-14
4th - DET - Prater, 54-yard field goal GREEN BAY 23-17
4th - GB - Adams, 9-yard pass from Rodgers (Rodgers pass to Adams) GREEN BAY 31-17
4th - DET - Anquan Boldin, 35-yard pass from Stafford (Prater kick) GREEN BAY 31-24
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING
GREEN BAY - Aaron Ripowski 9-61, Ty Montgomery 8-44, Aaron Rodgers 10-42, Christine Michael 3-6, Joe Kerridge 1-0
DETROIT - Zach Zenner 20-69 1 TD, Golden Tate 1-7
PASSING
GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers 39-27-300 4 TD
DETROIT - Matthew Stafford 41-26-347 2 TD 1 INT
RECEIVING
GREEN BAY - Jordy Nelson 6-66, Davante Adams 6-31 2 TD, Geronimo Allison 4-91 1 TD, Jared Cook 4-56, Ty Montgomery 3-17, Aaron Ripowski 2-15 1 TD, Richard Rodgers 1-14, Christine Michael 1-10
DETROIT - Golden Tate 6-77 1 TD, Eric Ebron 6-61, Marvin Jones, Jr. 5-76, Anquan Boldin 4-57 1 TD, Zach Zenner 4-41, T.J. Jones 1-35
AROUND THE NFC NORTH - WEEK 17
SUNDAY JANUARY 1st
MINNESOTA 38, Chicago 10 - Sam Bradford wrapped up his first season with Minnesota with three first-half touchdown passes and an NFL record, leading the Vikings to a 38-10 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday to finish on a winning note after tumbling out of contention over the last two months. Bradford went 25 for 33 for 250 yards and one interception, posting a 71.6 percent completion rate to set the single-season record. Drew Brees (71.2 for New Orleans) last set the league mark in 2011. "I would
trade that for wins any day, but the fact that we were able to go out there and accomplish that as a group, everyone contributes to that, it's pretty cool," said Bradford. He also established career bests for yards ​(3,877), interception percentage (0.9) and passer rating (99.3) after arriving in an emergency trade following the serious injury to original quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's left knee. Kyle Rudolph caught 11 passes for 117 yards and a score for the Vikings (8-8), who started 5-0 before stumbling out of their bye week and never recovering. "It's a good win, but it's tough that that's the end of it," coach Mike Zimmer said. "We did things today like we did early in the year." The Bears (3-13) wound up with their most losses since 1969, looking as if they were more than ready for winter vacations while turning the ball over five times and allowing the Vikings to rush for a season-high 124 yards. Everson Griffen returned one of their three lost fumbles for a touchdown, and Matt Barkley was picked off twice to total 10 interceptions over the past three games. Bradford was picked off just five times in 15 games. Coach John Fox fell to 9-23 in two years with the Bears. He said he hasn't asked for, or received any, assurance from the front office that he'll return. "I've been doing this for a long time," Fox said. "I've never worried about job security, and I'm not going to start now." Jordan Howard, the lone bright spot for the Bears, rushed for 135 yards on 23 carries to break Matt Forte's franchise rookie record and finish with 1,313 yards for the season. Howard's 202 yards from scrimmage in Chicago in the first meeting with Minnesota on Oct. 31 served as a breakout for the fifth-round draft pick and a bad omen for the Vikings in defeat. "That's the point of the game, to win the game," Howard said. "If you're not winning, there's no point in celebrating."
Green Bay Packers fullback Aaron Ripkowski (22) flips over Detroit Lions strong safety Tavon Wilson (32) (Photo: Paul Sancya, AP)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) stiff arms Detroit Lions defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson (91) during the second half (Photo: Paul Sancya, AP)
The Detroit Lions defensive line attempts to block the field goal by Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (2) during the first half (Photo: Paul Sancya, AP)