Aaron Rodgers suffers concussion in Packers' season finale

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers' season started with a knee injury and ended with a concussion.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback left Sunday's season finale against the Detroit Lions after just three series. He took a hard hit on his first dropback of the game, got sacked by linebacker Jarrad Davis and lost his helmet on the play. He stayed in for two more series before he walked to the locker room with a member of the medical staff.

The Packers lost the game 31-0.

It's at least the third known concussion of Rodgers' NFL career. He suffered two during the 2010 season, which the Packers capped with a victory in Super Bowl XLV. He did not miss a game after his first concussion, which occurred in Week 5. He missed one game later in the season after he sustained a concussion in Week 14 at Detroit.

Interim coach Joe Philbin said he wasn't sure exactly when Rodgers was concussed.

"I'll kind of have to take a closer look," Philbin said. "But I had sat down with him after each series, what'd he play three series maybe? Yeah, and I sat down, I went to the bench there and apologized for the great second-and-10 call that got him sacked. But he seemed OK.

"He and I, we spoke after that third series and he said he was getting evaluated. So, I don't know. I'm not sure exactly. I'd be lying if I told you anything else."

Rodgers finished the season with his lowest completion rate (62.3 percent) since he became a starter and his fewest touchdown passes (25) in a season in which he missed one or no games. He did surpass the 4,000-yard passing mark (with 4,442) for the seventh time in his career.

The Packers opted to play Rodgers in a meaningless game even with a banged-up offensive line. Neither of their preferred starting guards played. Instead, Lucas Patrick and Justin McCray replaced Lane Taylor (who was active but did not start) and Byron Bell (who is on injured reserve). Also, left tackle David Bakhtiari was on the injury report all week because of a hip injury from late in last week's overtime win against the Jets. He made it through Sunday's first half but did not start the second.

Rodgers, 35, also started the game without his leading receiver, Davante Adams, whose knee injury prevented him from breaking the franchise record for receptions in a season. He needed just two more catches to surpass Sterling Sharpe's team record of 112.

Rodgers insisted on playing even after the Packers (6-9-1) were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 15, citing the importance from a leadership standpoint. Philbin, team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst were all in agreement about allowing Rodgers to play.

The Packers were down 7-0 when Rodgers left the field for the final time. Shortly before he walked to the locker room, the Lions executed a fake field goal to take a 14-0 lead that grew to 21-0 by halftime.

DeShone Kizer, the former Cleveland Browns starter who came to Green Bay in an offseason trade, replaced Rodgers. It was his first significant action since Rodgers missed part of the season opener against the Bears when he hurt his left knee. Rodgers returned in that game to rally the Packers to a victory from down 20-0.

Kizer completed 16 of 35 passes Sunday for 132 yards and an interception. The Packers punted seven times, turned it over on downs twice and had the interception. They totaled just 175 net yards and managed just nine first downs in the loss.

"When arguably the greatest player in the game leaves, it's not going to affect you positively," Packers center Corey Linsley said. "First of all, I want to say that Aaron was very emotional. I'm not speaking about other QBs, but I know that for him to get emotional leaving a game that everybody, quote-unquote, says is meaningless, shows us how hard he wanted to play out there and how much he wanted to be with his boys. That was special."

Rodgers has said several times this season that he might need surgery on his injured left knee after the season. It's possible that surgery could take place as early as this week.