It’s been nearly a decade since a Packers team finished a season with a losing record. It’s been even longer since Green Bay was swept in a single season by the Detroit Lions. Both ended on Sunday in the Motor City.
With the Packers eliminated from playoff contention two weeks ago, the final two games felt more like preseason games. Even if Mike McCarthy may not want his team to take that mentality onto the field, with some big names watching from the sidelines it was hard not to see it that way.
Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Jahri Evans, Damarious Randall, Richard Rodgers, and Aaron Jones were all inactive for Sunday’s season finale. Thus creating opportunities for other players deeper down the depth chart to stake their claim to a roster spot before the offseason even starts.
Second year wide receiver Trevor Davis took advantage of his opportunity on a day that quarterback Brett Hundley will likely want to forget. Davis accounted for 56 of Hundley’s 172 yards passing against Detroit.
The Packers backup quarterback was able to put a touchdown on the board in the second half with a 17 yard strike to Randall Cobb, but was under pressure all day. The Lions were able to get to Hundley four times, as well as creating a pair of interceptions.
Meanwhile on the defensive side of the ball, much of the talk after Sunday will no doubt be about defensive coordinator Dom Capers. With reports saying it would be the final game in his nine year run with Green Bay.
Big plays will no doubt be what jumps off the page for the Packers defense. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 323 yards, much of which came on three plays. A 54 yard touchdown pass to rookie Kenny Golladay put the Lions in front in the first half. In the third quarter Stafford connected with Golden Tate for a 71 yard touchdown, his longest of the season.
“Obviously disappointed. Your pride takes a hit because you feel like you’re better than that you know. You’re better than what you put on display week in and week out but the reality is that’s who you are. That’s who you are after what you put out there for 60 minutes so it’s frustrating in that regard,” said linebacker Clay Matthews.
As a result the Packers not only locked up their first losing season since 2008, but also were swept by Detroit for the first time since 1991. A few more firsts in a season that no doubt didn’t live up to expectations, and started with hopes of making another deep run in the postseason.
“We had some bad football plays, had some bad mental mistakes especially by some young guys. Disappointed by our overall performance today. Wanted to finish the season in a positive manner with a victory. Obviously that was not the case,” said head coach Mike McCarthy.
“Obviously it didn’t end the way we wanted it to. We didn’t make the playoffs, we didn’t finish strong, we didn’t win our last 2, we finished 7-9. That’s not what you want and that’s not what we wanted so from here we just got to regroup and figure some stuff out and go from there,” said quarterback Brett Hundley.
Now it’s on to the draft and the offseason as a new group looks to bounce back in 2018.