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O'HARA: What we learned from Week 9

One of the biggest plays in Sunday's game wasn't one that was recorded in the stats sheet.

It wasn't a tackle or a reception or even a punt, but it had a major impact on the outcome.

It was a successful challenge by head coach Dan Campbell that wiped out a long gain by the Packers and gave the ball to the Lions on a possession that gave them a lead that held up in their 15-9 victory.

As we learned, the challenge was triggered by Campbell's gameday support staff making the right call on the play. Among the other things we learned include the following: A reduced snap count does not mean reduced impact for running back D’Andre Swift, linebacker Derrick Barnes was ready when he got the opportunity for more playing time, and players have respect for the stars of previous generations.

We start with the challenge:

In a game without a lot of scoring, there were a lot of big plays. One of them was a successful challenge by the Lions that ended a scoring threat by the Packers late in the first half and put the Lions in position to score themselves and take the lead.

"It was huge," Campbell said Monday. "It was good to get one. That's one of those, we're looking at it up in the booth. There was enough movement to throw the flag. It was a good call."

The Lions already had turned back one of Green Bay's scoring threats when rookie defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson intercepted an underthrow by Rodgers in the end zone, and the Packers were driving again midway through the second quarter.

On fourth and three at the Lions' 38-yard line with less than three minutes left in a scoreless first half, Rodgers launched a pass down the right sideline to wide receiver Allen Lazard for an apparent 26-yard gain to the Lions' 12

The Packers were threatening again – but not for long. After some delay, head coach Dan Campbell threw the red challenge flag.

After a video review, referee Tra Blake announced that the call on the field had been overturned. There was no catch, and no points for the Packers.

The decision on whether to throw the challenge flag is the end result of a group effort. Campbell communicated with Jon Dykema, who was stationed upstairs in the press box and viewing the play on the television broadcast.

"I was on with him, asking him if it's catch, no catch," Campbell said. "When he came back yelling 'Throw it,' it was definitely 100 percent that we were going to get it."

The Lions took over and drove to their first touchdown – a one-yard pass to tight end Shane Zylstra for the touchdown. Jamaal Williams' run for the two-point conversion gave the Lions an 8-0 lead that they never surrendered.

It proved to be a pivotal play in the game – no points for the Packers when they were certain to get at least three on a field goal and perhaps seven for a touchdown and extra point, and eight for the Lions.

Swift's day: Swift is still working to get back to the workload he had at the start of the season when he played 31 offensive snaps in each of the first two games. He rushed for 144 yards in the opening-game loss to the Eagles and 56 yards in the win over Washington in Week 2.

That was before ankle and shoulder injuries reduced his snap count.

A low snap count doesn't mean low impact, though. We learned that Sunday. Swift played 10 snaps. He carried two times for 10 yards and had three receptions for 40 yards.

His bottom line: Five touches, 50 yards – and 10 yards per touch.

That's impact.

Next man up: Barnes played that role Sunday, and he did it at a high level.

He played 50 snaps, more than double his previous high this year of 22, which he did twice.

Barnes, a fifth-round draft pick in 2021, had a team-high 12 tackles, a sack, quarterback hit, tackle for loss and pass defended.

Tribute: Lions Pro Bowl punter Jack Fox never met Ray Guy, but he is well aware of his status. Guy, who passed away recently, is the only player drafted in the first round strictly as a punter, and the only one voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"He's the Babe Ruth of punters," Fox said.

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