Packers throw away chances, drop fifth straight game

Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field

DETROIT, Mich. — The Packers had more than enough opportunities to win on Sunday. They squandered all of them.

Aaron Rodgers threw a career-high three interceptions, all on would-be touchdown passes, as the Packers fell to the Lions, 15-9. Green Bay has now lost five straight games.

Rodgers’ first interception came on the Packers’ first drive. Green Bay drove 88 yards to the Detroit 5-yard line, but just as they looked primed to take the lead, Rodgers’ pass bounced off of a helmet and fell into the hands of Kerby Joseph.

Disaster struck again on the Packers’ very next drive. Green Bay drove 47 yards, all the way to the goal line. Once again, the Packers were poised to take the lead. Once again, Rodgers’ pass fell into the hands of a Lion, this time Aidan Hutchinson. It was Hutchinson’s first career interception.

The Packers’ defense stood tall for nearly the entire first half, but the Lions finally found the endzone with 15 seconds left in the second quarter. Jared Goff was able to find a wide-open Shane Zylstra for the game’s first touchdown. The Lions added to their lead with a successful two-point conversion.

Green Bay got a spark of life early in the third quarter when cornerback Jaire Alexander intercepted Goff. That spark was summarily snuffed out just two plays later when Rodgers’ pass to Robert Tonyan was intercepted on the goalline by Joseph.

Green Bay was able to keep the Lions quiet on the ensuing drive and got another spark of life when Rodgers found Allen Lazard in the endzone to cap off a 7-play drive.

The Lions responded on the next drive, chewing up five minutes of the game clock on a 13-play trek that ended with a touchdown. The Packers answered with their own score, a 25-yard field goal by Mason Crosby to bring the score to 15-9 and set up an exhilarating conclusion.

Detroit opted to be aggressive on the next drive, going 34 yards on eight plays and burning four-and-a-half minutes of the clock, but the drive stalled out on the ninth play and gave the Packers two minutes to go 57 yards to win.

And they almost did.

Rodgers was able to find AJ Dillon, then Samori Toure, who fumbled but had a lucky roll that brought the Packers to the Detroit 17-yard line. But that’s all they could manage as Rodgers threw four straight incompletions to seal Green Bay’s fate.

The Packers are drowning, and there is no sign of land. Sunday’s loss brings their record to 3-6, tied for second in the NFC North with the Bears. Meanwhile, the Vikings stretched the gap at the top of the division, beating Washington to move to 7-1. Halfway through the season, Green Bay looks set to miss the Playoffs for the first time since 2018.

Compounding Green Bay’s misery is the sheer amount of injuries the team suffered Sunday. Eric Stokes, Romeo Doubs, David Bakhtiari, Christian Watson, Rashan Gary, Aaron Jones and Krys Barnes all left the game. Watson and Barnes were both evaluated for concussions. De’Vondre Campbell missed the game due to a knee injury and Shemar Jean-Charles sat out with an ankle injury.

The Packers return to Lambeau Field next week and so does a familiar face. Mike McCarthy, who the Packers fired during the 2018 season, makes his first trip back to Green Bay as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas did not play this week but won their last game on October 30 against the Bears.

The Packers-Cowboys rivalry is a historic one, with Green Bay leading the all-time series 20-17. The two last locked horns in 2019 with the Packers winning 34-24. Dallas won the last matchup at Lambeau, a 30-16 win in 2016.

Kickoff next Sunday is scheduled for 3:25 p.m. CT.