GREEN BAY -
A heating pad wrapped around his sore left calf, Aaron Rodgers could only watch helplessly on television monitors in the locker room as the Detroit Lions surged closer to his Green Bay Packers.
There was only one place that he wanted to be - back on the turf with the rest of the Packers while they tried to secure a fourth straight NFC North title.
Green Bay's franchise quarterback is limping into the playoffs with a smile. Rodgers threw two touchdown passes to Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy gashed Detroit's defense for 100 yards, and the Packers celebrated another division championship with a 30-20 victory yesterday.
Rodgers will appreciate a week off after the win, as the Packers (12-4) earned a bye. Detroit (11-5) starts the postseason at Dallas next week.
"It's clearly an MVP performance - another MVP performance - by Aaron Rodgers," coach Mike McCarthy said. Rodgers won the award in 2011.
Rodgers was carted to the locker room after tossing his first score to Cobb late in the second quarter. He tweaked the calf during last week's win at Tampa Bay.
This injury came in a different spot in the calf, Rodgers said. He came up limping again.
In the locker room while getting treatment, Rodgers said he was thinking about "if I could finagle myself to go back in the game." He hobbled back on to the field in the third quarter with the game tied at 14.
"I just felt like if I got in there, it might give us a little jolt," Rodgers said.
The jolt soon followed. A seven-play, 60-yard drive ended with a 13-yard score to Cobb for a 21-14 lead. The Packers didn't look back.
Rodgers plunged across the goal line from 1 yard with 8:45 left to help Green Bay regain a two-touchdown lead. "MVP! MVP" chanted adoring fans while light snow dusted Lambeau Field.
Rodgers finished 17-for-22 for 226 yards. He was out of the game for about a 7-minute stretch between the second and third quarters. In between, Calvin Johnson had touchdown catches of 4 and 20 yards on consecutive drives to help the Lions roar back from a 14-0 deficit.
Detroit hasn't won a division title since 1993. It hasn't won a road game against the Packers since 1991. For a few moments while Rodgers was out, it looked like both those streaks might end.
Instead the Packers were victorious again at Lambeau and finished the regular season 8-0 at home.
The Lions will be making just their second playoff appearance since 2000.