Earlier during Detroit’s 19-7 win over Green Bay on Sunday, the Packers had lined up in a different formation but had run what Jones and Levy believed to be a similar run play with Eddie Lacy. The play had gained positive yards.
After a Matthew Stafford interception left Green Bay at its own 1-yard line with 13:26 left in the first half, the Lions came onto the field in their base 4-3 defense, a rarity on Sunday against the Packers. Green Bay also lined up in a two receiver, two tight end, single back set -- something it did not do much of Sunday.
Yet what Green Bay was about to do seemed similar to Jones and Levy, especially when quarterback Aaron Rodgers turned around with 10 seconds on the play clock to talk to Lacy for a second before initiating the play.
“They ran a stretch and had successful yards on it so that play, everybody was wired in,” Jones said. “The whole defense was wired in. We were ready for the hard count and ready for that run. That’s what happened.”
It’s a little bit more complicated than that.
Levy lined up between Jones and defensive tackle C.J. Mosley. When the ball was snapped, Jones took away any chance of Lacy bouncing outside because he pushed Green Bay tight end Richard Rodgers well into the end zone. This essentially trapped Lacy into being able to run only straight ahead.
“I pulled it around, checked the defensive end,” Lang said. “Levy just kind of shot the gap on me. I try to come back and hinge on him. Might have been a little bit too wide but bottom line is good play by him.
“He blitzed right up in the gap I was pulling through.”
Lang appeared to know he was late from the get-go as he stood momentarily with no one to block as Levy moved right past him. Once Levy leveraged Jones’ demolition of the tight end, he knew he had the play open.
He had also recognized the potential for the play from earlier in the game and from Aaron Rodgers’ check at the line with Lacy. He said Green Bay tried to run a lot of counters and pulling plays early on, also helping Levy read what was about to happen. The first time the Packers ran that play, Levy said he barely missed a tackle for loss.
“This time, I was able to get through there and make the play,” Levy said. “JJ did a great job setting the edge. He moved the tight end like three yards in the backfield so he couldn’t squirt out.”
Even if Levy had missed Lacy, the play appeared doomed. Jones was there to wrap up after finishing off Richard Rodgers. Mosley had recovered from the initial block and was closing on the play. Tahir Whitehead, playing next to Levy, was also closing in.
The result was a safety and a 9-7 Detroit lead that turned into a 19-7 win.
“As a defense, when you’ve got somebody backed up like that, you're already ready to come,” Jones said. “It’s opportunity time, you get a safety and our offense get the ball back, that’s crucial.”