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NOTEBOOK: Stafford injures ribs in loss to Packers

It was eerily similar to the hit quarterback Matthew Stafford took last year in Oakland that knocked him out of the last eight games of the season.

Trying to make a play near the goal line in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 31-24 loss to Green Bay, Stafford took a big hit by Packers defensive lineman Kenny Clark that kind of bent the 12-year veteran backwards and sideways at the Green Bay 2-yard line.

Stafford got up slow and immediately grabbed his left side. Stafford stayed in for another play, a 2-yard touchdown run by Kerryon Johnson, but when he got to the sideline, he was immediately surrounded by doctors and trainers. Stafford tried to walk it off and threw a couple passes, but shook his head and went to the locker room to get evaluated.

Stafford emerged from the locker room a little bit later and again tried to throw passes on the sideline, but it was clear he was in discomfort. After a few throws he threw the ball down at the bench, and backup Chase Daniel put on his helmet and began warming up.

Stafford took a similar hit in Oakland Week 10 last year that injured his back and cost him the last eight games of the season. The Lions listed Stafford's injury Sunday as a rib injury.

View photos from Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers Week 14 game at Ford Field on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020 in Detroit

Lions interim head coach Darrell Bevell didn't have any updates after the game. He said Stafford was still getting x-rays and the team would update his status on Monday.

Stafford finished the game 24-of-34 passing for 244 yards with a touchdown, no interceptions and a 100.6 passer rating.

It will be something to monitor the last three games as the Lions' playoff hopes took a hit Sunday with the loss to the Packers. Detroit fell to 5-8 on the season and at least two games back of the final spot with three games to play.

"Matthew Stafford is as tough as they come," Bevell said after the game. "He's a huge competitor. I know he's going to want to be out there with his team, so it's going to have to be pretty drastic for him not to be in there."


Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. looked to make a crucial 35-yard catch down the left sideline at the left pylon of the Green Bay end zone on a play where he adjusted to the ball and extended for the catch while looking to get two feet down with a double toe tap. The play was called incomplete on the field, and Bevell challenged it. After a long look, the officials called it incomplete. The replay looked like Jones got two feet in.

Detroit still scored on the drive, but the Jones play came with over nine minutes left on the clock in the fourth quarter. Detroit scored six plays later with about six minutes and 30 seconds left. That's two and a half minutes lost off the clock in what turned out to be a one-possession game.

"It was a play worth challenging," Bevell said after the game. "Give us an opportunity to be down there at the one or two or in the end zone. Big play there."


What makes Green Bay's offense so good is their ability to avoid bad plays and keep themselves in manageable third downs for most of the game. Green Bay came into Sunday fourth in the NFL in third-down percentage, converting at a nearly 48 percent clip. The Packers were 8-of-11 converting third down Sunday in Detroit.

Green Bay was successful converting on all six of their third downs (one via Lions penalty) on their two long scoring drives to begin the second half that gave Green Bay a 28-14 lead.


  • With Green Bay's win Sunday in Detroit, coupled with a Minnesota Vikings loss in Tampa Bay, Green Bay clinched their second consecutive NFC North title.

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