GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Detroit Lions might not have had anything to play for Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, but they did run one of the more surprising plays of the season.
In the second quarter against Green Bay, the Lions ran a direct-snap fake field goal that led to an 8-yard touchdown pass from kicker Matt Prater to tight end Levine Toilolo. Prater’s extra point made it 14-0. The Lions went on to win 31-0.
“I was more concerned with just catching the ball and not throwing it just straight into the line or out of bounds or something,” Prater said. “I was just basically trying not to screw it up. Coaches saw something early in the week, I think Fitz [special teams coach Devin Fitzsimmons] saw it, and we executed it. We had the look.
.@MattPrater_5 (YES, MATT PRATER) with the touchdown pass to Levine Toilolo! #OnePride
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“Somehow we hid the 6-foot-8 tall guy on the side. [Don Muhlbach] snapped it perfect, I almost dropped it. Threw it up a little too high. Levine made a good catch.”
It was Prater’s second professional pass — and first completion. Prater said his other attempt, in 2012, came on a fake field goal rollout that went poorly. This was a much cleaner play — and the only difference in the setup was he didn’t take his steps to the side after he lined up. Instead, they quickly hiked the ball.
The Lions practiced it twice during the week, completing both passes on what Prater deemed “not very good throws.” Sunday’s toss was the best of the bunch. He said he was nervous for the call but “what the heck, let’s try it.”
“Didn’t know it was going to work,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “Really didn’t know if it was going to work with the ball in midair, either.”
He is the second kicker in Lions history to throw a touchdown pass and first in the modern era. The other was Bill Dudley in 1947, but he also played running back for Detroit.
Prater is the second kicker to throw a touchdown pass this season, joining Chris Boswell. He is also the third non-quarterback to complete a pass against Green Bay this year, joining Rams punter Johnny Hekker and New England wide receiver (and former Kent State quarterback) Julian Edelman.