With Sunday’s game, the Packers 2017 season went out with a whimper. After a 35-11 loss to the hated Detroit Lions, the most recent NFL campaign came to a close, without a playoff berth.
This game really summed up all the key issues that the Packers have had this year. The Packers finish the season with a losing record of 7-9, a less than desirable result. This was the first time since 1991 that the Detroit Lions had swept the Packers in a season.
Four turnovers and several dropped passes cost the Packers this game, most notable was a deflected interception off the hands of Jamaal Williams. Brett Hundley threw for 2 interceptions (one of which, as mentioned, was not his fault), 172 yards and 1 touchdown with a passer rating of 59.7 against Detroit which is slightly better than last week’s performance. The offense wasn’t just lacking the zip it has with Aaron Rodgers, it didn’t even have enough to compete.
Despite the dropped pass that resulted in an interception, Jamaal Williams had a solid game finishing with 22 attempts for 82 yards. With performances like this, Williams is making the case that he should be seeing a bulk of the carries next year.
Trevor Davis surprisingly seemed to be a very popular target with Hundley as he had a 56 yard game on three receptions. Emanuel Byrd, who was making his NFL debut, recorded 2 receptions for 31 yards. One positive that may be taken from the game is seeing these young players become productive even in limited roles. Games like these provide extra time for the staff (whomever that might be in the future) to evaluate their talent in real game situations.
The defensive side of the ball didn’t fare much better. Stafford carved up the Packers secondary as many feared he would.
Stafford finished with 323 yards, 3 touchdowns and a passer rating of 140.4 in the game. The Packers defense gave up 374 yards to the Lions in a forgettable performance. This almost seemed an appropriate last game for Dom Capers. The Packers have since announced that Capers has been relieved of his duties as defensive coordinator. In subsequent news, Ted Thompson has also been removed from his role as general manager and will stay on with the team in another capacity.
Even though the game meant nothing for the Packers or Lions (except draft position), it was still disturbing to see the lack of effort at time. With so many starters out, it was not surprising to lose to the Lions, but fans expected to see more fight in the players who were on the field. Many had the sense that the Packers quit before week 17 was over. As one Twitter user put it succinctly:
Yo the packers quit.
— Key-Air. (@kierre262) December 31, 2017
https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThis game highlighted once again the issues the Packers have without Rodgers. Fans have been clamoring for a change in the front office. They will finally get it.
What is next is to see if this team can draft a way to build the defense back for the future defensive coordinator. Without Capers, and without Ted Thompson, there are no more excuses. Fans will expect change, and they will expect it fast. As Rodgers ages, many fear the chances to get him back to the Super Bowl are diminishing. The upcoming offseason is certainly the most critical in recent Packers history.