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Lions spoil Packers' playoff hopes as defense shines: Was that ...

The Lions defeated the Packers on Sunday night to eliminate Green Bay from the playoffs.

The Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers 20-16 on Sunday night to dash the Packers’ playoff hopes. Here’s what you need to know:

  • With Green Bay’s loss, the Seahawks will advance to the postseason after their win over the Rams earlier Sunday. The Lions, who were eliminated with that Seattle win, played the role of spoiler, and finish their season 9-8.
  • Detroit took its fourth-quarter lead on Jamaal Williams’ second rushing touchdown of the night. Lions safety Kerby Joseph intercepted Aaron Rodgers on the next possession.
  • Lions rookie defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson tallied two sacks to up his season total to 9.5.
  • Packers linebacker Quay Walker was ejected in the fourth quarter for pushing a Detroit trainer who was checking on Lions running back D’Andre Swift..

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

Was that Rodgers’ final game?

In what may be the last game of his career, Rodgers went out with a dud. There were brief moments of brilliance from Rodgers, but he missed too many throws for the Packers to reach the playoffs. The 39-year-old completed 17-of-27 passes for 205 yards, a touchdown and an interception on a third-and-10 deep ball in the fourth quarter with the Packers trailing by four. — Schneidman

Green Bay’s screeching halt

The Packers’ miraculous turnaround reached a screeching halt on Sunday night at Lambeau Field. A win would’ve secured the No. 7 seed in the NFC for the Packers, who had won four consecutive games since leaving Philadelphia six weeks ago with a 4-8 record. Instead, Green Bay’s season is over after a loss to a team that didn’t have a chance to make the playoffs entering the game. — Schneidman

Walker’s costly blunder

Rookie inside linebacker Walker, who Green Bay drafted No. 22 overall with one of the picks they acquired for wide receiver Davante Adams, was ejected in the fourth quarter after shoving a Lions staff member who was checking on an injured player. The Packers led at the time, 16-13, with the Lions facing a second and 8 from the Packers’ 9-yard line with 7:24 left in the game.

The penalty resulted in Walker’s second disqualification of the season — his first came against the Bills in Week 8 for shoving a practice-squad player on the sideline — and the Lions were gifted a first and goal from the 4-yard line. They scored three plays later via Williams’ second touchdown of the night and took a 20-16 lead they wouldn’t give back with 5:55 left. — Schneidman

The Lions treated this like a playoff game

The Lions said all week, no matter what happened with the Seahawks-Rams game, they were going to go to Lambeau and treat this like a playoff game. They did just that, preventing Rodgers and the Packers from a playoff run. The Lions regained the lead in the fourth quarter with one of their best drives of the season to go up 20-16. They would not relinquish it.

The nail in the coffin was a fourth-and-1 conversion that sealed the victory, allowing the Lions to line up in victory formation. The Lions will finish the year 9-8 — 5-1 against NFC North rivals. — Pouncy

Detroit’s bright future

Though the Lions fell short of the playoffs, Detroit’s future remains bright. They tripled their 2021 win total, going from three wins to nine. They’ve got two first-round picks and five among the first three rounds. This will be a big offseason. Dan Campbell expects his team to compete for the NFC North. After a season like this, they’re one step closer. — Pouncy

Highlights of the game

A record-setting score for @jswaggdaddy!#DETvsGB | ???? NBC

— Detroit Lions (@Lions) January 9, 2023


????: #DETvsGB on NBC????: Stream on NFL+

— NFL (@NFL) January 9, 2023


????: #DETvsGB on NBC????: Stream on NFL+

— NFL (@NFL) January 9, 2023

Key stat

Williams surpassed Barry Sanders’ single-season franchise record for rushing touchdowns with his two second-half scores, finishing the regular season with 17 total.

What they’re saying

Kerby Joseph on Aaron Rodgers:

"If that's his last pass, I'm saving that ball and I'm sending it to him so he can sign it. If he don't sign it, I'll understand. But I doubt he's gonna retire. He's probably gonna try to come back, and if he comes back, more plays for me."

— Colton Pouncy (@colton_pouncy) January 9, 2023

“It was so much fun for everybody (watching the Lions win). I was hoping it could be a party tonight,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after the game. “It’s really been a fun year, and that’s why I’m so happy we get rewarded with an opportunity to do something with it. … Now let’s go cash in on it.”

Required reading

(Photo: Jeff Hanisch / USA Today)

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