Plays that shaped the Detroit Lions season: No. 8

During the next week, we are going to go through the 10 plays that shaped the 2014 season for the Detroit Lions.

The play: Safety Don Carey, who missed the first two games of the season to injury, picked up an Eddie Lacy fumble and returned it for a touchdown in the first quarter of Detroit’s 19-7 victory over Green Bay in Week 3.

The situation: On Green Bay’s second play from scrimmage, Lacy tried running to the left, right where Nick Fairley and DeAndre Levy were being blocked. Fairley shed the block and used his right arm to knock the ball out of Lacy’s hands. Carey scooped the ball up at the Green Bay 40-yard line and ran it in for a touchdown to give the Lions a 7-0 lead.

The reason it mattered: The play did a lot of things. It gave the Lions an early lead against their biggest rival and ended up helping Detroit’s defense beat the Packers’ offense 8-7 in the game. In the construct of the season, it was one of the Lions’ biggest defensive momentum plays of the year. It helped build confidence in Teryl Austin’s scheme, and the run defense that ended up being one of the best in the NFL. It was also a convincing victory against a top team – Detroit’s only one against a team with a winning record all season.

What Fairley said about the play: “It was a draw. I had the B gap. He started in the A, I picked and that’s when he kicked back out in the B. Once he kicked back out in the B, I was already too far into the A. I just put my arm out and was able to get my hands on the ball. I felt the ball, so I think I knocked it out, yeah.”