Packers' Aaron Rodgers celebrates a touchdown pass to Randall
Cobb during the second half.
GREEN BAY, Wis. —
A heating pad wrapped around his sore left calf, Aaron Rodgers could
only watch helplessly on television monitors in the locker room as
the Detroit Lions surged closer to his Green Bay Packers.
There was only one place that he wanted to be — back on the turf
with the rest of the Packers while they tried to secure a fourth
straight NFC North title.
Green Bay's franchise quarterback is limping into the playoffs with
a smile. Rodgers threw two touchdown passes to Randall Cobb, Eddie
Lacy gashed Detroit's defense for 100 yards, and the Packers
celebrated another division championship with a 30-20 victory
Rodgers will appreciate a week off after the win, as the Packers
(12-4) earned a bye. Detroit (11-5) starts the postseason at Dallas
"It's clearly an MVP performance — another MVP performance — by
Aaron Rodgers," coach Mike McCarthy said. Rodgers won the award in
Rodgers was carted to the locker room after tossing his first score
to Cobb late in the second quarter. He tweaked the calf during last
week's win at Tampa Bay.
This injury came in a different spot in the calf, Rodgers said. He
came up limping again.
In the locker room while getting treatment, Rodgers said he was
thinking about "if I could finagle myself to go back in the game."
He hobbled back on to the field in the third quarter with the game
tied at 14.
"I just felt like if I got in there, it might give us a little
jolt," Rodgers said.
Packers' Aaron Rodgers is attended to after injuring his leg
during the first half.
The jolt soon followed. A seven-play,
60-yard drive ended with a 13-yard score to Cobb for a 21-14 lead.
The Packers didn't look back.
Rodgers plunged across the goal line from 1 yard with 8:45 left to
help Green Bay regain a two-touchdown lead. "MVP! MVP" chanted
adoring fans while light snow dusted Lambeau Field.
Rodgers finished 17 of 22 for 226 yards. He was out of the game for
about a seven-minute stretch between the second and third quarters.
In between, Calvin Johnson had touchdown catches of 4 and 20 yards
on consecutive drives to help the Lions roar back from a 14-0
Packers' Aaron Rodgers acknowledges the crowd.
Detroit hasn't won a division title
since 1993. It hasn't won a road game against the Packers since
1991. For a few moments while Rodgers was out, it looked like both
those streaks might end.
Instead the Packers were victorious again at Lambeau and finished
the regular season 8-0 at home.
The Lions drew within 30-20 with 1:45 left after Matthew Stafford
connected with Theo Riddick for a 6-yard touchdown. But Riddick's
2-point conversion run failed, Tramon Williams recovered the ensuing
onside kick and Green Bay ran out the clock.
Stafford finished 20 of 41 for 217 yards.
Packers' Micah Hyde runs back a punt 55 yards for a touchdown
during the first half.
The Lions head home at least with the
comfort that they had clinched a playoff berth regardless of
Sunday's outcome — just the second playoff appearance since 2000.
"We're 11-5, and it's a new season," coach Jim Caldwell said. "None
that stuff matters. We've got to look forward."
They could have accomplished so much more if not for some painful
After blocking Mason Crosby's 52-yard field goal attempt, the Lions
lost the ball when Stafford fumbled on what looked like an aborted
handoff to Joique Bell. The Packers cashed in with Rodgers' 1-yard
"It was just on our part, self-inflicted wounds, and we know that,"
cornerback Rashean Mathis said. "But kudos to them, they did make
plays — enough plays to win this ballgame."
Rodgers felt more pain after Detroit's 305-pound defensive tackle,
Ndamukong Suh, stumbled back and stepped on Rodgers' lower left leg
while the quarterback was on the ground at the end of a play. There
was no penalty, and Rodgers tried to shove Suh back as the defender
Packers' Aaron Rodgers speaks after an NFL football game against
the Detroit Lions.
Suh had cleared out of the locker room
by the time reporters were allowed in after the game. Caldwell said
he didn't think it was an intentional act.
Rodgers said referee Walt Anderson told him he thought Suh was
blocked into the quarterback. McCarthy didn't see the play, but
heard enough from others to be unhappy with Suh.
"There's no place for that," McCarthy said. "I don't understand it,
NOTES: Rodgers finished the season with a 112.2 passer rating
and is the only player in NFL history to register a 100-plus rating
in six consecutive seasons. ... WR Jordy Nelson had six catches for
86 yards, and set a franchise record with 1,519 yards for the
season. ... Bell finished with 60 yards on 13 carries. ... The Lions
allowed a season-worst 152 yards on the ground.