Packers-Lions - Antonio Morrison

Green Bay inside linebacker Antonio Morrison tackles Detroit running back LeGarrette Blount in the second quarter of the Packers' 31-0 loss to the Lions on Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. 

Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Green Bay Packers' performance in their 31-0 loss to the Detroit Lions in their final game of the season on Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. 

Offense: F

A makeshift line and a second-string receiving corps made throwing the ball difficult. Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion and played only a quarter. Backup DeShone Kizer couldn't get much done. Then again, neither could Rodgers. David Bakhtiari tried hard, but he shouldn't have been playing in the first place.

Defense: F-plus

Detroit had touchdown drives of 11, 12 and 13 plays in the first half as Green Bay couldn't make a play to get off the field. The defense officially surrendered when Zach Zenner was barely touched on a 13-yard touchdown run up the middle late in the first half. Antonio Morrison was one of the few who tackled well.

Special teams: F

The Packers were completely fooled on a fake field goal when kicker Matt Prater threw a touchdown pass to an uncovered Levine Toilolo, who somehow slipped onto the field undetected. If it hadn't been the last game, Ron Zook might have been fired at halftime. Special teams blunders plagued the Packers in every game.

Coaching: F

After taking over, Joe Philbin relied heavily on a short-passing game to get Rodgers into a rhythm. For some reason, Philbin abandoned that approach Sunday. Mike Pettine's blitzes weren't effective. Philbin had the difficult job of trying to motivate a team with nothing to play for and he couldn't get it done.

Overall: F

Talk about worst-case scenarios, the Packers lacked motivation, looked inept on the field, got Rodgers hurt and bowed meekly to the Lions, who came in with a worse record than they did. The need to quickly flush this season and move on with a new coach, a new offense and new players was never more apparent.

Contact Tom Oates at


Tom Oates has been part of the Wisconsin State Journal sports department since 1980 and became its editorial voice in 1996, traversing the state and country to bring readers a Madison perspective on the biggest sports stories of the day.