Rapid Reaction: Detroit Lions

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A few thoughts on the Detroit Lions' 30-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field:

What it means: It was the biggest regular-season game for the Detroit Lions in decades, and for a little while -- especially when Aaron Rodgers left the game due to injury -- it was promising for the Lions. But then Detroit had miscues on offense and struggles on special teams and couldn't pressure a hobbled Rodgers when he returned, which led to the Lions' 24th straight loss to Green Bay in Wisconsin.

This one, though, has to sting more for Detroit, considering what was at stake. They had a shot at a first-round bye and their first divisional title since 1993. But they didn't do much right on offense or special teams. It led to a double-digit loss to an elite team on the road for the second time this season -- New England being the other game -- and questions about how this team will fare on the road in the playoffs, given that, as the No. 6 seed, they will have no home games.

Stock watch: Rising -- Travis Swanson. This was good experience for the rookie, and he didn't make any rookie nerve errors. There were no bungled snaps and no sacks allowed, and Detroit did run for 4.8 yards per carry. Plus, he had to play with a new right guard after Larry Warford went down in the first half. Not a bad first start for the Lions' center of the future.

Falling -- Joique Bell. The running back had been Detroit's most consistent rusher this season, but in his team's biggest game, he struggled holding on to the ball. Bell fumbled once and was part of a poor handoff exchange that led to a turnover and a Green Bay touchdown that gave the Packers a 14-point lead. When you are involved in two fumbles, you can't have a good game, no matter what else you do.

Falling -- Lions special teams. They were atrocious Sunday in a lot of areas. The Lions gave up a punt-return touchdown for the first time since 2012, when Micah Hyde had a 55-yard return in the first quarter. Sam Martin booted a kickoff out of bounds. Martin made up for it with a good onside punt, but the game was already out of reach by then. A rough day for a phase that has been inconsistent throughout the season.

Poor challenge by Lions: Jim Caldwell made a bizarre challenge call late in the third quarter when he threw the red flag on a fumble when Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy was already on the ground and rolling forward. In that instance, the ruling has always being down by contact, so it was a risky challenge for Caldwell to begin with but made no sense in a close game with the division title on the line. It cost Detroit a timeout, and in a one-possession game, at that point, it could have been huge.

Game ball: When teams face the Detroit Lions defense, almost all of them admit they have to have some level of scheme for defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. To understand why Detroit finished the regular season 11-5 and made the playoffs, it all starts with the Lions' defense. That all begins with Suh. That's why he was the team's most valuable player this season. He makes Detroit's defense demonstratively better every time he is on the field.

What's next: The Lions head to Dallas, where they will face the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round of the playoffs. This will be the team's first playoff appearance since 2011.