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Published: Monday, 11/19/2012

Lions' playoff hopes slipping away

Stafford again struggles; Detroit falls to 4-6

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Green Bay Packers linebacker Dezman Moses, left, strips the ball away from Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford during the second quarter Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit. Green Bay recovered. Stafford went 17 of 39 for 266 yards with two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter. Green Bay Packers linebacker Dezman Moses, left, strips the ball away from Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford during the second quarter Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit. Green Bay recovered. Stafford went 17 of 39 for 266 yards with two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter.
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DETROIT — Matthew Stafford scrambled to his right and had little choice but to heave a desperate pass down the field toward Tony Scheffler.

Like so many of the Detroit quarterback's throws on the day, this one didn't make it to its intended target.

Stafford's fourth-down throw fell incomplete, and the Lions went on to lose 24-20 to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Detroit remains in last place in the NFC North, its playoff hopes dwindling further with each setback.

The dynamic passing game that lifted the Lions to the postseason in 2011? Nowhere to be found on Sunday.

Stafford went 17 of 39 for 266 yards with two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter.

"I didn't play my best, we didn't play our best as an offense," Stafford said. "Getting too many opportunities, turning the ball over too many times."

Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes, including a 22-yarder to Randall Cobb with 1:55 left that put the Packers ahead 21-20. When Scheffler couldn't come down with Stafford's long pass, Green Bay was on the verge of its fifth straight win.

Mason Crosby added a 39-yard field goal with 19 seconds to go after missing two kicks earlier in the game.

"The season is not over, man. We've got six games left," Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson said. "I don't know what the picture looks like, you know, but that's what we're fighting for. We're fighting for our lives."

Johnson caught five passes for 143 yards and a touchdown, but nobody else emerged as a consistent receiving threat. Stafford targeted Scheffler 10 times, but their timing seemed off all day. The tight end ended up with only two catches for 22 yards.

Stafford's pass toward Scheffler in the third quarter was a bit high and behind him, deflecting off his hands before being picked off by M.D. Jennings and returned 72 yards for a touchdown and a 14-10 Green Bay lead.

Stafford threw for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns last season. He's on pace to finish with about 4,800 yards this season, but through 10 games he's only thrown for 12 TDs. Detroit settled for field goals twice after driving inside the Green Bay 10. A 27-yarder by Jason Hanson with 4:25 to play gave the Lions a 20-14 lead, but they'd wasted a chance to extend their advantage.

"It's a tough pill to swallow right now," Dominic Raiola said. 



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