NFC North CHAMPIONS! In dramatic game, Packers defeat rival Lions, 30-20

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GREEN BAY (WITI) — The Green Bay Packers defeated the Detroit Lions Sunday, December 28th to become NFC North CHAMPIONS (for the fourth consecutive time)! The Packers have also claimed the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. The Packers have earned a “bye” in the first week of the playoffs. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was carted to the locker room in the second quarter, following a touchdown pass to Randall Cobb. Rodgers was seen on the field, clutching his left leg. The Packers initially said his return was questionable, but he was able to return to the field and finish the game.

The game began with the Packers winning the coin toss and electing to defer their choice. The Packers defense forced a Lions three-and-out when Clay Matthews sacked Matt Stafford on third down. The Packers took possession at their 37-yard line, with Aaron Rodgers under center amid reports his calf injury of a week ago was still an issue.

Eddie Lacy plowed for 22 yards on the Packers’ first play. Against the same six-in-the-box scheme the Lions used to beat the Packers in Week 3, Lacy gained 35 yards on three carries and the Packers had a first down at the Lions 28. James Starks replaced Lacy on the fourth play of the game and Starks ran for 21 yards to the 7.

Starks gained 2 to the 5, and then Lacy gained 3 to the 2. The Lions were flagged for pass interference on third down and the Packers were first and goal at the 1. That’s where the drive ended, as the Lions defense stuffed Lacy on fourth-and-goal from the 1.

Micah Hyde erased the Packers’ goal-line failure with a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown with 4:49 to play, and the Packers led, 7-0.

The quarter ended with the Lions at the Packers 36-yard line, first down.

The Packers defense began the second quarter with a strong stop. The Lions had driven to the Green Bay 36-yard line, on the edge of field-goal range, but went no further. Packers S Morgan Burnett broke up a deep pass for TE Eric Ebron on first down, the run defense stopped RB Joique Bell for a 1-yard loss on second down, and LB Julius Peppers and DT Mike Daniels pressured Lions QB Matthew Stafford into an incompletion on third down, forcing a punt.

Taking over on their own 6, the Packers responded with a promising drive but turned the ball over. Two completions apiece to TE Richard Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson moved the Packers to the Detroit 26, but at the end of an 8-yard run, RB Eddie Lacy had the ball poked out by S James Ihedigbo. Lions DE George Johnson recovered with 10:00 left in the half.

The Lions answered with a strong running game. A 14-yard run by RB Reggie Bush started the drive, and then Bell carried four times for 38 yards to get the ball to the Green Bay 31. On fourth-and-10, the Lions passed on a 49-yard FG try and went for it, but Stafford’s pass wasn’t close to an intended receiver, and the Packers took over on downs.

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The offense got moving again, with Lacy carrying three times for 18 yards and QB Aaron Rodgers scrambling for 13 to convert a third-and-8. The rushing yards put the Packers over 100 on the ground for the game, making them just the second team all season to rush for more than 100 yards against the Lions. Rodgers then hit WR Randall Cobb over the middle for a 34-yard catch-and-run, making it first-and-goal on the 9. After a defensive penalty put the ball on the 4, Rodgers hit Cobb for a TD, but just before throwing the ball, Rodgers pulled up lame. He went down to the ground, holding his injured calf, and he was helped off the field to chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” from the Lambeau faithful.

The score put the Packers ahead 14-0 with 2:24 left in the half.

On the Lions final drive of the half, a 10-yard pass to Bush converted a third-and-10, and then consecutive completions to Ebron and WR Golden Tate picked up 16 and 19 yards, respectively. A tackle for loss by CB Casey Hayward on a swing pass to RB Theo Riddick made it third-and-13 from the Green Bay 35, and Packers LB Brad Jones was called for roughing the passer for hitting Stafford in the helmet with his hand. That made it first down on the Green Bay 20 instead of fourth down, and on the very next play, Stafford hit WR Calvin Johnson for a TD to make it 14-7 with 24 seconds left in the half.

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Aaron Rodgers returned to the game in the third quarter, pitched a touchdown pass to Randall Cobb and left the Packers with a 21-14 lead over the Lions heading into the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field.

Matt Flynn was at quarterback to start the second half; Rodgers remained in the locker room, attempting to recover from the calf injury that forced him out of the game following a second-quarter touchdown pass to Cobb. Flynn was sacked on third down to end the Packers’ first possession of the second half, as Rodgers walked out of the tunnel toward the Packers sideline to cheers. Rodgers began throwing along the sideline.

Meanwhile, the Lions began a drive at their 49-yard line. Matt Stafford converted a key third-down play with a pass to Golden Tate, and then Stafford closed the drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson with 7:34 to play in the third quarter, tying the game at 14-14.

Rodgers returned to the game following the Lions touchdown.

The Packers turned to three consecutive runs to gain a first down across midfield. Rodgers pitched a first-down toss to Randall Cobb for 29 yards to the Detroit 19.

On third-and-4, Rodgers hit Cobb over the middle for 13 yards and a go-ahead touchdown with 3:33 to play in the third quarter, 21-14.

The Packers defense forced a three-and-out and the Packers regained possession at their 25-yard line. The Packers were on the Lions’ 36 when the third quarter ended.

As the fourth quarter began, the Lions blocked Packers K Mason Crosby’s 52-yard field goal attempt.

Following a Detroit fumble the Packers recovered at the Lions 42-yard line, Rodgers converted a key third-and-4 play with a pass to tight end Richard Rodgers. A quick pass to Jordy Nelson gained to the Lions 10, and the Packers were on the doorstep of a two-touchdown lead. A facemask penalty against the Lions moved the ball to the 4, first down.

Eddie Lacy carried to the 1, and then Rodgers scored on a sneak with 8:45 to play. Lacy rushed for 100 yards.

Rodgers completed 17 of 22 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. The drama he provided will likely go a long way toward giving Rodgers his second league MVP.

The Detroit Lions took over on their own 42-yard-line.

Lions running back Joique Bell fumbled the ball, and the Packers recovered. Bell lost the ball on the exchange with Lions QB Matthew Stafford, and Packers safety Morgan Burnett recovered.

Packers Jordy Nelson made a 15-yard catch. He then became the first Packers wide receiver to go over 1,500 yards in a single season.

The Packers scored a touchdown via a one-yard sneak by Aaron Rodgers which triggered a scoring review. The Packers touchdown was confirmed.

The Packers were up 28-14 over the Lions.

A fourth down pass for the Lions was incomplete, and the Packers took over with 7:21 left in the fourth quarter.

Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was seen stepping on Rodgers’ left leg. He’s the same player whom, during the third quarter of the Lions’ Thanksgiving game against the Green Bay Packers on November 24, 2011, pushed Packers’ offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith’s head into the ground three times, then stomped on his arm. All of this took place after the whistle was blown. Suh was penalized for unnecessary roughness and ejected from the game.

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He was later suspended from the NFL for two games, without pay.

Suh has been criticized in the media and by other players for his aggressive style of play and has been fined a total of $216,875 by the NFL for four violations thus far in his career.

The Packers took a delay of game on fourth down with 2:46 left. They lined up to punt.

Intentional grounding was called on Stafford in the end zone, and the Packers got a safety.

The Lions recovered a free kick.

At the two-minute warning, the Packers led the Lions 30-14.

The Lions scored a touchdown with a six-yard pass to Theo Riddick.

A two-point run by Lions Joique Bell brought the score to 30-22. The two-point play went under review, and the call was reversed. Bell was found to have been short of the goal line.

The score was 30-20 Packers with 1:45 left to play.

The Packers recovered the onsite kick — Tramon Williams picking it up after Morgan Burnett missed it.

The Lions called a final timeout with 1:29 left in the game.

The Packers were third and six on Detroit’s 43-yard-line. The Packers punt was a touchback, and the Lions had 36 seconds to make a play.

Lions QB Matthew Stafford was sacked by Mike Daniels.

The final score, 30-20 Packers. The Packers are now NFC North CHAMPIONS!

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