The Ugly History of the Detroit Lions vs Aaron Rodgers
If there’s one team Detroit sports fans hate, it’s the Green Bay Packers, if there’s one player that Detroit Lions fans hate, it’s Aaron Rodgers.
Instead of discussing the complete history of the Packers vs. Lions rivalry, let’s keep it more relevant. Number 12 has dominated the Lions since his first start against them in 2008.
In 2005 he was drafted by Green Bay at the number 24 spot. Expecting to go number one overall, Rodgers came into the league with a chip on his shoulder. Unfortunately, there was already an all-time great in Packers-land, Brett Farve.
Rodgers would have to wait, making his first career start three years later. His second start in the NFL was against Detroit. In that game, Rodgers would lead his team to victory with 328 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions on 24/38 passing.
From that moment on, Detroit fans were subjected to the rise of a star. His first five starts against Detroit all resulted in victory.
It wasn’t until their second matchup of the 2010 season that Rodgers would fall to the Lions. A dismal 7-3 victory for Detroit, where Rodgers left the game in the second quarter due to a concussion. Who was the first Lions quarterback to beat Rodgers? None other than the Okemos native and former Michigan State Spartan, Drew Stanton.
Unfortunately for Detroit, as soon as they took a slice of cheese from Green Bay, they followed up with four more consecutive losses from 2011-13.
In the 2014 and 2015 seasons, the Lions split the series against the Packers.
A (then) newly experienced Matthew Stafford lead the way with pro-bowlers on offense and defense. At this point, in time, the Lions had never swept their season series against Rodgers and the Packers.
In 2014 Detroit had the best lineup in nearly a decade. They took down the Packers in their first matchup in the regular season, 19-7. Their second matchup in 2014 was a disaster.
A 20-30 loss where Rodgers threw for 226 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions on a solid 17-22 passing. The most egregious storyline of that game, was it was the final game of the season. Detroit finished with 11 wins and five losses, Green Bay finished 12-6.
If Detroit could’ve won that game, they would’ve won the division and had a first-round bye week heading into the playoffs (would’ve been the first time since 1991 they made that accomplishment). Instead, they lost to Dallas (with some controversy) in the wildcard game.
In 2015 the Lions had another opportunity to sweep the season series against the Packers. They won their first matchup 18-16, the first time in 24 years (at the time) the Lions beat the Packers at Lambeau Field. Their second matchup, lives in infamy for sports fans across the globe.
Detroit was up 23-21 on the last play of the game. The Lions stopped Rodgers and the Packers. Thankfully for Green Bay, they were saved by a (controversial) facemask call that gave number 12 one more shot at the end zone. Now coined as “The Miracle in Motown,” a Rodgers 61-yard Hail Mary completion lead the Packers to a 27-23 victory.
While many Detroiter’s already had a dislike for Rodgers, that one play turned dislike into hatred. Rodgers would then sweep the Lions in the 2016 season.
2018 was a different story. While both teams were below average, at-best, the Lions were finally able to beat Rodgers in both regular season matchups. In the first game, Rodgers did everything he could, completing 32-52 passes for 442 yards, three touchdowns and no picks, but he lost. Their second matchup was also the last game of the regular season. With both teams out of contention for the playoffs, the Lions slayed it all on the line, winning 31-0. Rodgers suffered another concussion in that game and was taken out early on.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Rodgers came back with a vengeance. He swept the season series against Detroit in 2019 and 2020 and the first matchup of 2021. The most consecutive victories against the Lions since his first start in the league.
The final game of last season was the first time in three years that the Lions took down the Rodgers and the Packers. It was the final game of the season, Detroit was one of the worst teams in football and Green Bay was atop the division. Rodgers would leave the game at halftime to let his young backup Jordan Love attempt to finish out the game.
All in all, Rodgers is 18-6 against the Lions. He’s thrown for a combined 6,055 yards, 52 touchdowns and only eight interceptions on a 65.7% completion rate against Detroit. For context, there’s only 13 Lions quarterbacks that’ve thrown more than 6,055 in their career with the team and only nine that’ve thrown for more than 52 touchdowns.
Rodgers has beaten nine different Detroit Lions quarterbacks in his career, John Kitna (0-1), Dan Orlovsky (0-2), Stanton (1-1), Daunte Culpepper (0-1), Stafford (4-11), Shaun Hill (0-1), David Blough (0-1), Chase Daniel (0-1), Jared Goff (1-1).
While Stafford makes up for a large majority of those games, not including him, theirs only two other Lions quarterbacks that’ve beaten number 12. Goff is one of them.
With the first matchup between Green Bay and Detroit in the 2022 season this Sunday, can Goff become the first Lions quarterback to start 2-1 against Rodgers?
Detroit comes in at 1-6 on the season with five straight losses. Green Bay comes int at 3-5, with four consecutive losses. Both teams are struggling, it’ll come down to who wants it more.
– Noah Wulbrecht, Lions and NFL writer – Woodward Sports