While the Detroit Lions didn’t put away a win in Week 1, the team may have found a way to learn a much more valuable lesson in defeat than they could have hoped to in victory.
Though Detroit fell apart and ended up losing 41-33, the team battled back impressively from a 31-10 halftime deficit and a 38-10 second half deficit. It’s safe to say a lesser team that had given up wouldn’t be able to accomplish such a mission, but the Lions proved they have plenty of fight in them for a brand new season, which is something quarterback Jared Goff was quick to point out this week.
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Speaking to the media on Thursday, September 16, Goff explained that while Detroit lost, the lesson that the team is never going to give in and can dig deep even in the worst circumstances provided a valuable teaching tool for the rest of the year.
“I think you learned how we can be down in a game and come back and make it a ballgame. You don’t ever want to be there, but we have that ability to throw the ball and make it a game,” Goff said.
In the contest, Goff himself was a big reason the team was able to come back. Though he fired the ball 57 times, he finished with 3 touchdowns and was able to put a first-half interception behind him in order to rally the team. That kind of leadership is important for the Lions, who are depending on Goff to be the kind of leader that can bring them back in games.
Another advantage for Goff was having a pair of elite runners in the backfield in D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Not only can the duo get things down on the ground, but through the air as well. That provides Goff with a solid safety net, and a pair of players he can use to his advantage.
“(It’s) huge, you see (D’Andre) Swift the other day catch that screen pass and take it to the house. Having a guy like him who can hit home runs like that and Jamaal (Williams) just the same, it’s a good little combo for us,” Goff said.
In Week 2, Goff knows the Lions have to dig in and get back to the basics in order to find a much-needed win.
“You just go back to the fundamentals. Be it first or second down, take care of the football, move it down the field and watch our defense fly around out there and hope good results will come,” he said.
If the good results don’t immediately come, Goff and the Lions can at least be buoyed by the fact that the team already knows they have it in them to come back. That lesson, while it didn’t pay off with a win in the first week, could find a way to matter a great deal as the season presses on.
T.J. Hockenson Credits Lions for Fighting Back
Speaking with the media on September 12 in an interview posted to DetroitLions.com, Hockenson said he believed it spoke to the character of the team to see them rally in such a way with their backs against the wall and not give in on the field.
“I think you kind of found out who our team is, and that we’re not willing to back down in certain situations,” Hockenson explained. “I think we got to come out a lot faster, we got to be better as an offense, better as a defense, better as a team at first, in the first half. But I was really pleased with the guys and how we came out in that second half. It just wasn’t enough. That’s how the game of football is.”
While the effort wasn’t enough this week, it might be during other games in the future. If that is to be the case, it will only be due to the culture that the Lions have built and established. With that in mind, this Week 1 effort could be important, and a potential turning point for the franchise in due time. Goff would likely agree with Hockenson’s assessment.
Jared Goff Puts Together Solid Opener for Lions
Goff did everything he could to help rally the troops in the game, throwing for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns in the game. He was also able to lead the team confidently, move around in the pocket and make big plays. While Goff did throw an interception for a touchdown, he atoned for that nicely in the second half, and Lions fans should be encouraged by what he was able to do in his first game. As Goff gets into the offense, he should be able to find his footing and do even more big things on the field in the future with the team.
As Goff knows, the team has to take it one week at a time and keep fighting. Having the ability to showcase that fight is huge at this stage of a young season for Detroit.