DETROIT — Brett Hundley uttered a familiar refrain Sunday after the Green Bay Packers closed their season with a whimper.
“We had a lot of opportunities,” the quarterback said. “We just stopped ourselves.”
Hundley was one of the major culprits, throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble as the Detroit Lions throttled the Packers 35-11 at Ford Field.
“The way we took care of the football today was unacceptable, and obviously had a big impact on the game,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said as Green Bay (7-9) ended its season prior to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 — also the last time the franchise finished with a losing record.
The Packers’ chances this season were hampered greatly by quarterback Aaron Rodgers missing nine games with a collarbone injury,
Green Bay, without several other injured players, gave away its chances to close with a win by turning it over three times in the first half to help the Lions lead 20-3 at halftime.
The Packers surprised Detroit by opening with an onside kick they recovered, but didn’t take advantage because Jamaal Williams bobbled a pass that was picked off by Jarrad Davis. They did take a 3-0 lead on Mason Crosby’s 41-yard field goal late in the first quarter, but Detroit tied it on the ensuing possession and took control in the second quarter.
The Lions’ Matthew Stafford threw a go-ahead, 54-yard pass to Kenny Golladay. After Green Bay’s Donatello Brown allowed a punt to hit him, the Lions recovered to set up Stafford’s 3-yard pass to Marvin Jones to put Detroit up 17-3.
Stafford threw a 71-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate late in the third quarter, giving the Lions a 27-3 lead.
Hundley threw 17-yard TD pass and 2-point conversion to Randall Cobb to pull the Packers within 16 early in the fourth period. Hundley was 14 of 24 for 172 yards with two interceptions and a fumble. He was replaced by Joe Callahan late in the game.
Stafford was 20 of 29 for 323 yards without a turnover. He caught a 2-point conversion pass after Ameer Abdullah, who had just run for a TD, took a direct snap and pitched it to Tate, who easily connected with Stafford in the end zone to put Detroit up 35-11 midway through the fourth quarter.
Jim Caldwell’s cool and calm demeanor was on display in what might’ve been his last game as Lions coach.
The Beloit native chatted with each of his players as they stretched before the game, as he always does. And after it, he didn’t seem to give anyone an indication his future with the franchise was in doubt.
The Lions (9-7) finished with a winning record in consecutive seasons for the first time since doing it three years in a row from 1993-95. That relative feat, along with a 36-28 record and two postseason appearances over four seasons in Detroit, may not be enough for Caldwell to keep his job.
“I’m not done yet,” Caldwell said with a slight grin.
From the infirmary
Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison left in the first quarter with a finger injury and returned to play for a team minus receivers Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson because of injuries.
Cornerback Davon House had a shoulder injury and Williams was evaluated for a concussion late in the game.
Cornerback Damarious Randall, tight end Richard Rodgers, guard Jahri Evans and running back Aaron Jones were also inactive.
Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, in the last year of his contract, had three sacks for the second straight week to give him 12 this season. ... Detroit cornerback Darius Slay, who started Week 17 leading the NFL in interceptions, picked off his eighth pass of the season.
Green Bay 3 0 0 8 — 11
Detroit 3 17 7 8 — 35
GB — FG Crosby 41, 4:59.
Det — FG Prater 28, 3:02.
Det — Golladay 54 pass from Stafford (Prater kick), 7:27.
Det — M.Jones 3 pass from Stafford (Prater kick), 2:20.
Det — FG Prater 30, :31.
Det — Tate 71 pass from Stafford (Prater kick), 1:38.
GB — Cobb 17 pass from Hundley (Cobb pass from Hundley), 11:27.
Det — Abdullah 7 run (Stafford pass from Tate), 7:16.
Att. — 62,501.
First downs 17 18
Total Net Yards 256 356
Rushes-yards 27-103 23-51
Passing 153 305
Punt Returns 3-46 3-31
Kickoff Returns 3-36 2-26
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 2-12
Comp-Att-Int 20-32-2 20-29-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 4-40 2-18
Punts 6-44.8 6-44.3
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-0
Penalties-Yards 8-68 5-62
Time of Possession 31:47 28:13
RUSHING — Green Bay, Williams 22-82, Hundley 3-15, Cobb 1-4, Mays 1-2. Detroit, Green 9-21, Abdullah 8-18, Riddick 4-10, Stafford 2-2.
PASSING — Green Bay, Hundley 14-24-2-172, Cobb 1-1-0-10, Callahan 5-7-0-11. Detroit, Stafford 20-29-0-323.
RECEIVING — Green Bay, Cobb 4-45, T.Davis 3-56, Williams 3-31, Mays 3-0, Byrd 2-31, Allison 2-15, Hundley 1-10, M.Clark 1-5, Janis 1-0. Detroit, Tate 7-104, M.Jones 4-81, Golladay 2-80, Green 2-14, Riddick 2-12, Fells 1-12, Abdullah 1-11, Ebron 1-9.