GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Everything seemed to be lining up just right for Matthew Stafford the Detroit Lions - until they actually had to line up and play the Green Bay Packers.
Facing a Packers team that already had clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC and was resting Aaron Rodgers and other key players for the playoffs, the Lions had a chance to improve their playoff seed and gain some momentum.
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."
Although Detroit hasn't won a road game against the Packers since 1991, Lions coach Jim Schwartz said they fully expected to win Sunday.
"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."
Calvin Johnson had 11 catches for 244 yards and a touchdown, and Titus Young had a pair of touchdowns for the Lions.
"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 NFC home-field advantage for the playoffs secured, the Packers also rested several key players with nagging injuries: cornerback Charles Woodson, linebacker Clay Matthews, wide receiver Greg Jennings, right tackle Bryan Bulaga, running back James Starks and wide receiver Randall Cobb.
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.
Then Ndamukong Suh came up with a big stop for the Lions, sacking Flynn on third down - then mocking Rodgers' trademark "title belt" celebration. Suh was suspended for two games after he stomped on Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith in Green Bay's win on Thanksgiving.
With Green Bay leading 38-34, Johnson drew a pass interference penalty on Tramon Williams to give the Lions the ball at the Green Bay 28. Tight end Tony Scheffler hauled in a one-handed catch to set up first-and-goal on the 2.
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."
Notes: Packers veteran left tackle Chad Clifton played for the first time since injuring his hamstring Oct. 9. He played the first quarter. ... Defensive tackle Corey Williams and safety Louis Delmas were inactive for Detroit.