Quick takes: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers suffers concussion in 31-0 loss to Lions
GREEN BAY - Mercifully, it is over.
The Green Bay Packers saw their disappointing 2018 season end on a dreary, gray Sunday at Lambeau Field. The Detroit Lions beat the Packers 31-0, though that will be forgotten soon enough with a search for their next head coach officially in full swing.
It marked the first time the Packers were been shut out inside Lambeau Field since Week 16 against the Minnesota Vikings last season. The last time the Packers lost by 30 points to the Lions inside Lambeau Field was Sept. 20, 1970. The Lions won 40-0 that day.
Across the division, the Vikings will host the Chicago Bears in what amounts as a win-and-you're-in game for Minnesota. In Green Bay, the stakes were considerably less. Both teams were locked into their respective positions in the NFC North standings. The Packers finish third for the second straight season, the Lions fourth. There were draft-slot implications, but that was pretty much it.
Here are five takeaways:
» Aaron Rodgers' season ends early: Early in the second quarter, Aaron Rodgers’ injury-plagued 2018 season ended with another injury. Rodgers walked through the tunnel, back to the locker room, where it was confirmed he suffered a concussion. He finished 3-for-5 for 26 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions and a 73.8 rating. His season ended just shy of 4,500 yards (4,442) with 25 touchdowns and two interceptions.
»Davante Adams’ season ends even earlier: In what was the biggest surprise Sunday, receiver Davante Adams did not get a chance to take his shot at a couple of single-season team records. Adams entered with 111 catches, one shy of Sterling Sharpe’s record of 112 catches set in 1993. He was only 134 yards shy of Jordy Nelson’s record of 1,519 set in 2014, and considering Adams reached 130 yards in four games this season, that mark was certainly in his sights. Instead, a knee injury that prevented him from practicing last week also kept him inactive Sunday. Adams injured his knee last week at the New York Jets, but he stayed in the game and caught the winning touchdown in overtime. Fittingly, perhaps, it was the final catch of his Pro Bowl season.
» Big hole in Packers' offense: Speaking of Adams, if ever there is any doubt Adams belonged with the NFL’s elite receivers this season, his absence Sunday served as Exhibit A. Despite their struggles, the Packers mostly moved the football this season (they were ranked ninth in total offense entering Sunday). That changed with Adams on the sideline. The Packers finished with 175 yards in an offensive showing that looked even more anemic. Without Rodgers, backup quarterback DeShone Kizer remained a chuck-it-up-and-pray quarterback, flinging one interception for Lions cornerback Quandre Diggs. Kizer finished 16-of-35 with 132 yards, no touchdowns and the one pick, a passer rating of 44. But this wasn’t just on Kizer. Adams has openly discussed how playing with Rodgers is both a blessing and a curse, that any production he has can easily be attributed to the quarterback. Without Adams, the Packers had just 13 yards in the first quarter with Rodgers on the field. So here’s the best thing the Packers offense has going for itself entering 2019: Adams will be just 26 years old.
» Tanking season: The Packers would never admit to tanking intentionally, and just last week showed a surprising amount of fight. Yet their season-ending loss came with some April-wrapped benefits. At worst, a Packers loss meant they would pick 14th in this spring’s draft. With Carolina thumping a New Orleans team that did not play Drew Brees today, that slid the Packers up to 13th. Atlanta was attempting to mount a comeback against Tampa Bay, which would slide the Packers up to 12th. If Denver beats the Los Angeles Chargers or Cincinnati beats Pittsburgh — neither outcomes are expected — the Packers would slide as high as the 10th overall pick.
» Holy Fackrell: In the holiday spirit, here’s a little optimism for Sunday. In the third quarter, Kyler Fackrell sacked Matthew Stafford, giving the third-year Packers outside linebacker 10.5 this season. That’s rather remarkable, considering 1) Fackrell had five sacks combined his first two seasons and 2) he’s hardly a finished product. If Fackrell can build off this season, perhaps he’ll be the consistent, disruptive edge rusher former general manager Ted Thompson thought he was drafting in the 2016 third round. Certainly, it wouldn’t hurt to put more pass rushers around him. Fackrell has shown this season he has the potential to be part of a quality edge-rush rotation. For a defense that sorely lacks edge rushers, that’s no small thing.