Scoring a touchdown for the first time in a regular season game is a thrill for any player, but it was extra special for Detroit Lions running back Godwin Igwebuike.
After being signed to the roster initially as a safety and then being converted to running back by Dan Campbell, Anthony Lynn and Detroit’s staff, Igwebuike showed flashes of brilliance in the preseason which allowed him to stick on Detroit’s roster. With a pair of injuries on Sunday, suddenly, his name was called against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he made the most of his chance.
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Speaking after the game on Sunday, November 14 in an interview posted to DetroitLions.com, Igwebuike was asked to describe the play. As he said, the run was a blur.
“I low-key blacked out,” Igwebuike admitted with a smile. “It was outside zone. I think the safety came (up), offensive line did a great job forcing him out. Turned a crack into a hole, that’s what Duce (Staley) tells us to do all the time. Turn cracks into holes when big opportunities come. Got through the crack, saw green grass, I was like ‘OK, let’s do something now.’ Minkah (Fitzpatrick), great safety of course, jabbed him inside, was about to go out. I had a plan to go out but I saw he had great leverage. Stuck my foot in the ground, was able to make a great play, break an arm tackle, two or three, and there was green grass.”
The run was ons of the more impressive plays of the day and the season for the Detroit ground game, and it was a moment which was a long time coming for the runner, who isn’t taking for granted where he is right now on the Detroit roster.
“Just the possibility and gratitude I have for the coaches, to be here, playing running back, seeing something inside of me. So every day for me, I don’t really try to think too much about what’s going on behind the scenes,” he said. “I just try to come out and make the best of my opportunities, doing the things right in practice leading into hames. Super inspired by Jamaal (Williams) and (D’Andre) Swift how they carry the rock every Sunday, put their heart on their sleeve. It really inspires me and inspires the young boys Jermar (Jefferson) as well. Even Craig (Reynolds) on the practice squad. Super hungry. He comes to practice working. The standard is so high. For me, I say getting better every day. Continuing to work, continuing to grind and continuing to allow them to know they can trust me when they need me and I can make plays.”
That grind which led to the opportunity to make such a play is a big hallmark of this Detroit team as Igwebuike sees it.
Igwebuike: Lions’ Grind Sets Team up for Something Special
While the Lions don’t have any wins to this point, what they do have is a roster full of hungry young players who are all working toward a common goal just like Igwebuike is. To that end, the running back is very encouraged by his team in spite of all the losing and perceived negativity from the outside.
“I’m really inspired by this team. Y’all know my story, this time last year I was working out in my back yard doing defensive back drills. To be here playing running back, just that grind to get somewhere, that grind is the character of this team,” Igwebuike said. “Maybe not seeing all the fruit we want to see yet, maybe not seeing it on the win-loss chart. But seeing how they come to work every week. Seeing how the coaches continue to set us up for wins and to be successful. They’re not panicking, they’re not pointing fingers. I think that says a lot about this team, a lot about these coaches.”
As he said, when the Lions do turn things around, it’s going to be a special moment since the team’s culture is already very good.
“I truly believe when the tide turns, it’s going to turn big. God willing, I truly believe that. I’m inspired every day being a part of this team and I think people are going to be in for a treat when this tide turns,” Igwebuike said.
That would be music to the ears of hungry Lions fans who want to see the team compete hard and win games in the future.
Igwebuike’s Touchdowns vs. Steelers
The depth runners did have a big day for the Lions and Igwebuike was included. It started with Jefferson, who made a powerful run in the first half where where he split up the middle of the hole and took the ball to the house for a score to tie the game 7-7. Unfortunately, Jefferson injured his ankle on the play and did not return, but the score figured in huge for the Detroit offense as the day went on.
After he went out, Igwebuike came in and ran just as hard for the Lions, picking up 56 yards and 1 touchdown on the game. The touchdown was a thing of beauty and grit as he described:
Perhaps this is the moment that Igwebuike will use to boost himself forward to make an even bigger impact for the Lions. Regardless of that, if and when the team does start to win, he could be a player who has helped make it happen.