The Packers and Lions met on Sunday Night Football with Detroit’s season already over thanks to the Seahawks’ comeback win over the Rams, but Green Bay could punch its ticket to the postseason with a win at home.
The two teams were locked in a defensive struggle for the first half, with some touchdowns finally starting to get put on the board in the second half of what became a back-and-forth affair, as the Lions still had plenty of motivation to end the year with a winning record (and knock a hated rival out of the playoffs in the process). Given the stakes, it was not a game for dumb penalties, but Quay Walker managed to produce one of the dumbest of the season in the fourth quarter and Detroit driving into the red zone.
After D’Andre Swift got tackled (and hit with a forearm to the head that went uncalled), he stayed down and got attention from the Detroit training staff. As one of the trainers arrived on the scene, Walker was standing over Swift still and he tried to push his way past Walker to check on him, with Walker deciding that was unacceptable and giving him a two-handed shove to the back.
That led to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and, after a brief delay where one assumes New York called down, an ejection for Walker, who is a key piece of the Packers defense. As Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth noted on the call, pushing a trainer would always be frowned upon but to do this on this week of all weeks, where the NFL world was lauding the work of Buffalo’s training staff in helping save Damar Hamlin’s life, was an especially bad look.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur was screaming at Walker to “be smart” after the flag and then after Walker was announced as ejected from the game, he was distraught over his extremely poor decision as he went into the tunnel to the locker room. The Lions would pay off the drive with a go-ahead touchdown, and if the Packers go on to lose and miss the postseason, Walker will have to sit with this all offseason.