Key to the Game; Noteworthy Numbers
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Key to the Game; Noteworthy Numbers

How did the Packers beat the Lions? One look at this quick-hitting story tells the tale from Sunday. The key to the game? Green Bay's defense taking away Calvin Johnson in the second half. Plus, 10 killer numbers from the game.

DETROIT – Packer Report reviews the Green Bay Packers' 24-20 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Ford Field.

Key to the game

The man with the cartoon nickname was edited out of the second-half script.

Calvin Johnson, who tore apart the Packers for 11 catches for 244 yards and one touchdown in the finale at Lambeau Field last season, looked like he was on his way to another monster game.

By halftime, Johnson had three catches for 88 yards. His 53-yard catch against Jerron McMillian on a heave by Matthew Stafford gave the Lions their first field goal, and he converted third-and-9 with a 21-yard catch and a third-and-3 for a 14-yard gain on the Lions' touchdown drive, which delivered a 10-7 lead at halftime.

Johnson, however, was almost a nonfactor in the second half. In fact, he would have been a total nonfactor had Morgan Burnett intercepted the ball that Johnson hauled in for a 25-yard touchdown with 3:01 to play in the third quarter. From that point until the final play of the game, when Johnson had a meaningless 30-yard gain, not only did Johnson not catch the ball, but he didn't have a ball thrown his way.

So, if there's such a thing as a quiet five catches for 143 yards and a touchdown, this was it.

"The stuff that he did get, it was contested," said the man whose primary job responsibility was defending Johnson, cornerback Tramon Williams. "The deep ball was contested, the touchdown was contested – could have went the other way easily. I think we did a good job. He made some plays, obviously. He's a guy who will make some plays for his team, so we can live with that. We just kept playing what was called. We didn't feel that we had done anything wrong from the plays that he did make. Guys were in the right place and I think we made some plays that changed the game."

Noteworthy numbers

-- 0: Return yards allowed on four punts by Tim Masthay.

-- 3: Green Bay's margin in turnovers, with three takeaways and one giveaway. The Packers are 31-5 when plus-3 or better in turnovers under coach Mike McCarthy.

-- 3: Completions in 16 attempts to Detroit passes to tight end Tony Scheffler and Titus Young – 2-for-10 with M.D. Jennings' pick-six to Scheffler and 1-for-6 with Casey Hayward's interception to Young.

-- 5: Sacks by a Packers defense playing without Clay Matthews.

-- 8: Victories on fourth-quarter comebacks/game-winning drives by Aaron Rodgers during his 72 career starts. He's got two this year, with the other being in Week 4 against New Orleans.

-- 9: Victories on fourth-quarter comebacks/game-winning drives by Matthew Stafford during his 39 career starts. He had four last year and has three this year.

-- 43.6: Stafford's completion percentage, the fourth-worst in his 39 career games. The three worst games on that list are all from his rookie season.

-- 54.0: Stafford's passer rating.

-- 106.4: Rodgers' passer rating. The Packers entered the game with the biggest differential in passer rating, a figure that typically defines success and failure for one game or the course of the season.

--110: Detroit's rushing yardage on 4.6 per attempt. Since Week 4, Green Bay led the league in run defense (79.7 per game) and rushing average (3.5 per carry).


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.