The Packers’ next four possessions ended in a Flynn fumble, after which McCarthy threw his play-call sheet on the sideline; a Flynn interception when he appeared to think he had a free play but instead the Packers had committed an illegal-formation penalty; a safety when Flynn was sacked in the end zone on second-and-13 from the Green Bay 2; and a punt.

When Stafford threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Ogletree to make it 40-10 with 4 minutes 17 seconds to play, the numbers told the story: The Lions had rolled up 563 yards of offense, the Packers had managed 56 – meaning both sides of the ball had been utterly destroyed.

“Anytime you can’t get anything going, anytime that you know you should be, you know you should be, and things just aren’t going your way, it’s very frustrating,” Flynn said. “We kept talking about things to do, trying to game-plan what we were seeing and things like that, but it just seemed like everything we did, we didn’t execute.”

Trying to speak for the defense, inside linebacker A.J. Hawk couldn’t.

“That’s the thing. I don’t have any answers for you,” Hawk said. “I wish I did, wish I could point to something – one thing, at least.

“Obviously, it’s something that most guys – especially the young guys – definitely aren’t used to around here. I’m not, either – none of us are. Honestly, I don’t know. You can try to search and find answers but talking about it’s not going to do anything. We can sit here as a unit and do whatever and point out what the issues are and what we need to do, but if we don’t do it on Sunday, it doesn’t matter.”

Which brings us back to Rodgers, who stood on the sideline and watched it all unfold, and the little gray iMessage bubbles.

He has said multiple times that the Packers’ record and playoff odds will not influence him coming back; he has vowed to play again this season regardless. He said so again Thursday.

“We’ve got 10 days until the Atlanta game,” he wrote. “That should be long enough.”

The Packers hope it is. But even if Rodgers does return, it guarantees nothing with how awful they appear to be at the moment.

“It definitely made things a lot more difficult without Aaron. I think we all know that,” guard Josh Sitton said. “There’s no denying that. You can’t say, ‘Hey we can go and play just as good without Aaron.’ We haven’t won a game without him in five weeks. He’s the best player on this team. Yeah, we need him.

“But there’s a lot more going on than just that.”

Listen to Jason Wilde every weekday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Green & Gold Today” on 540 ESPN, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonjwilde.