Key to the game
The Green Bay Packers were in deep, deep trouble.
They trailed 14-3 and their defense had shown absolutely no capability of slowing down the Detroit Lions' surprisingly run-focused offensive attack.
And then Mother Nature and an unlikely player changed the tide of the game and put the Packers in prime position to win the NFC North next week at Chicago.
On third-and-1, Matthew Stafford completed a 10-yard pass to Kris Durham to advance the ball to Green Bay's 42-yard line. To that point, the Lions had run 29 plays for 190 yards and gained 12 first downs.
On first down, Stafford set up a screen but the ball slipped out of his hand. Rookie defensive lineman Mike Daniels beat right tackle Gosder Cherilus to the ball, absorbed a shove from Cherilus, kept his footing and ran 43 yards for a touchdown. Just like that, the Packers were back in the game.
To this point, it was arguably the play of the season for the surging Packers.
"Mike Daniels' play was probably the momentum shift for us that we needed in the game. I thought that was key," coach Mike McCarthy said.
Starting with the fumble and through the next seven possessions, the Lions ran 43 plays, gained 161 yards, picked up 11 first downs and scored just three points.
"That was a big play," Stafford said. "We had all the momentum. I thought we came out in the first half and played really good football, on both sides, really. We only gave up three (points) on defense (in the first half), and to have one go their way like that is tough. Obviously, the ball was slick out there tonight but that's not an excuse."
2: Sacks in the last three games by the Packers. They had at least that many in nine of the first 10 games.
7: Career regular-season starts by Aaron Rodgers without a touchdown pass. The Packers are 3-4 in those games.
7: Consecutive field-goal attempts of 50-plus yards missed by Mason Crosby since connecting from 54 in Week 2 against Chicago.
11: Consecutive wins against division foes, which extends Green Bay's franchise record and the longest streak in the NFL. The Packers and Patriots are the only teams to post winning records against division teams in each of the last seven seasons.
18: Second-half rushing yards by the Lions, on eight attempts, after rumbling for 117 on 24 carries in the first half.
35: Consecutive home games with a touchdown by Rodgers, a streak snapped by the Lions. Dan Marino holds the record with 39 in a row.
118: Receiving yards by Calvin Johnson, a quiet total coming on 10 receptions. He's the third receiver in NFL history with back-to-back 1,500-yard seasons, following Marvin Harrison (2001 and 2002) and Andre Johnson (2008 and 2009).
146: The NFL bases its offensive and defensive rankings on yards, which is foolish. The Packers were outgained by 146 yards in sweeping the Lions.
191: Total yards by Randall Cobb (102 receiving, 76 on kickoff returns, 13 on a punt return). That gives Cobb 2,091 for the season. Ahman Green holds the franchise mark with 2,250. Cobb is on pace for 2,574 yards and has a shot at Darren Sproles' league-record 2,696.
1941: Mike Daniels became the Packers' first rookie defensive lineman to return a fumble for a touchdown since Ernie Pannell against Pittsburgh on Nov. 23, 1941.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.