Furthermore, when they did play together, Gibbs appeared to still be learning the offense, so the Lions counted more on Montgomery.
But now in the second half of the season, the Lions have their duel threat in the backfield. Against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10, Montgomery and Gibbs combined for 193 rushing yards.
Yet, according to Montgomery, he’s just simply following the leader.
“It took Jah [Gibbs] a little bit to come along, but as everybody can see, the world can see, he’s come along, and I told him when I got back (from injury), I’m following his lead,” Montgomery said on November 15, via The Detroit Free Press’ David Birkett.
“It’s a beautiful thing to have two guys being able to perform at a high level.”
Entering Week 11, the Lions are fourth in the NFL in rushing yards and seventh in yards per carry.
Lions’ David Montgomery & Jahmyr Gibbs ‘Work Really Well Together’
When healthy, Montgomery was Detroit’s lead back early in the season.
He’s missed three games, so he’s not among the leaders in carries. However, Montgomery has recorded 20-plus carries twice and has had two other contests with more than 15 rushing attempts.
Against the Chargers, Montgomery split the attempts with Gibbs, but both backs were extremely efficient. Montgomery ran for a 75-yard touchdown, which helped him average 9.7 yards per carry.
Gibbs, who was more of a pass-catching back early in the season, posted 5.5 yards per attempt.
The expectation going forward is Montgomery and Gibbs will continue to split carries. That’s just fine with the veteran.
“It’ll be beneficial,” Montgomery said on November 15 when discussing sharing the backfield workload. “I believe that you need two good backs to go the full distance. We have that. We really have three with Craig too.
“Just being able to be in a position, in a situation where we’ve got a bunch of guys in our room. But ultimately, we’ve got a bunch of guys on offense that can make any time plays. It’s a good problem to have.”
Montgomery added that he and Gibbs “compliment” and “work really well together.”
Gibbs joked with the media that he hoped that going forward the backfield would go exactly how it did for the Lions in Week 10. He was a lot more serious when discussing the impact Montgomery has had on him early in his career.
“He’s like my big brother, really. As soon as I came in, he was guiding me every step of the way,” Gibbs told the media on November 15. “Anything I needed help with, he was there.”
Montgomery Set to Face Former Team
Every division matchup is obviously a big one in the NFL. It gets even a little bigger when that division foe is one’s former team.
However, Montgomery argued that’s not going to cause him to change his approach.
“I’m just going to be me, man,” he told reporters. “I’m not going to try to play out of the lines of myself, I’m just going to be me. I think me being who I am is enough. So I’ll just go out, play the way that I play, play the way that I know how and hope that we execute properly and walk out of there with a dub.”
In four seasons, Montgomery rushed for 3,609 yards and 26 touchdowns with the Bears. His best statistical season in Chicago came during 2020 when he gained 1,070 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns.