Stafford was up for it, throwing for a career-high 520 yards with five touchdown passes. But the Lions' defense couldn't find any way to stop Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn, who threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns in the Packers' wild 45-41 victory in Sunday's season finale at Lambeau Field.
The Lions (10-6) head to the playoffs for the first time since 1999 as a wild card, but could have clinched the No. 5 seed with a win. Instead, they'll be the No. 6 seed and go to New Orleans.
"Everyone's frustrated because you want to win anytime you play," defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "But it won't put a damper on our season, and we're excited about our opportunity and we're in the playoffs."
"Maybe it makes us angry," Schwartz said.
Is that a good thing?
"We'll see," Schwartz said.
"We're going to use this as motivation," Stafford said. "We had a chance and didn't get it done, so we've got to get out there and start making it happen. We've got to get on a run here. That's what it's all about in the playoffs."
According to STATS LLC, it was the first time in NFL history opposing quarterbacks each threw for 400-plus yards and five-plus touchdowns in a game. The teams' combined 971 net yards passing broke the record of 906 set earlier this season in a Week 1 game between New England and Miami.
"Flynn played a great game," Stafford said. "Their guys were making plays all over the field and scoring points."
"You feel (if) you put up 40 anywhere, you're supposed to win," Johnson said. "It was a shootout today and both offenses were rolling."
It was an ideal afternoon for the Packers (15-1), who got to rest Rodgers and several other big-name players without losing momentum going into the playoffs.
With Rodgers bundled up on the sideline in cold and windy conditions at Lambeau, Flynn threw a touchdown to Jermichael Finley with 1:10 left to take the lead for good.
Near the end of the third quarter, Stafford threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Smith and a 2-point conversion to Tony Scheffler for a 34-31 lead.
Johnson then was called for offensive pass interference in the end zone, but Stafford threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Scheffler in the back of the end zone and the Lions took a 41-38 lead with 2:39 left.
Flynn wasn't finished, finding James Jones for a 40-yard completion to set up first-and-goal at the 6 with 1:19 left. Flynn found Finley to win it.
"Your immediate reaction is you feel like you had a good game plan, we feel like we should have stopped them and we didn't," Vanden Bosch said. "But anybody that's frustrated and anybody's that's feeling sorry for themselves right now has got to get over it quickly because we've got to move on."