Detroit started the day hot and never really cooled off amid their dominating performance. At one point, the Lions had scored on six straight drives, which was a major record for the team dating back to 1993. As it stood, the Lions didn’t punt on the day at all, scoring every time they touched the ball.
Why were the Lions able to look so good? Not only did the team get standout work from their running backs, but wideout DJ Chark was able to have a major game and set the tone from the start in terms of big plays and big catches.
As many including Justin Rogers of the Detroit News pointed out, this was likely what the Lions envisioned when they signed Chark this offseason.
“This is the DJ Chark impact the Lions anticipated when they signed him. He’s having an impact at all levels of the field, racking up 78 receiving yards in the first half,” Rogers tweeted.
Chark would finish with 98 yards on the game, and achieve a measure of revenge against his former team the Jacksonville Jaguars. All day long, he was a dependable receiver for the Lions, and made the kind of plays the Lions had been hoping for with the deep ball.
Detroit’s offense has explosive potential when Chark is going good. He was only signed to a one-year deal last offseason, but with this game right after appearing on Thanksgiving with a score, the pass catcher could be coming alive at the right time to earn himself another look in Detroit in 2023.
“DJ Chark brought the deep game back for us. He made some big catches,” Dan Campbell admitted after the game, crediting the wideout.
With Chark doing his thing, Detroit’s offense looked very tough to stop. That was very good news, and an important development in 2022.
Now, the wideout will have to prove this performance was not a one-time aberration against his former team. If he can, that might be to his and the team’s benefit.
What else was learned in another successful hunt? Here’s some of the top takeaways for the Lions after a big win.
Amon-Ra St. Brown Is an NFL Star
Whether or not St. Brown gets his flowers as a top talent under 25, it’s clear the Lions love having him and wouldn’t have it any other way for the future.
St. Brown delivered another big day for Detroit, putting up 114 yards and two touchdowns. Perhaps the most impressive score on the day happened late, when St. Brown was able to shake free and put a dagger in the Jaguars:
There should be nothing more that St. Brown has to prove. He has arrived as a star, as folks who cover the league closely seem to know. At this point, the bigger question seems to be how dangerous can St. Brown get?
Production-wise, he is showing off in a big way, and is passing every single smell test in terms of looking like a future revelation.
‘Same Old Lions’ May Have Lost to Jacksonville
Detroit had a big day winning the game, putting up points and managing to hold off a team that had just scored a huge Week 12 win. To some, it may not mean much beating a 4-7 team. To Detroit, this was everything.
The ‘Same old Lions’ may have found a way to lose this game after being able to compete hard against a great Buffalo team on Thanksgiving. Instead, they responded with a major beatdown in a game they have certainly lost in the past.
There’s a long way to go before proclaiming the SOL mantra dead and buried forever, but days like this go a long way to proving that could be the case with a new team and new regime that doesn’t much care for the sins of the past.
Don’t Fret About Jameson Williams’ Limited Day
The Lions didn’t turn Jameson Williams loose at all in this game, throwing him only in a few times and throwing at him once. That prompted the crowd to let loose with a “we want Jamo” chant.
Still, the Lions are handling Williams’ recovery about as smartly as possible. They eased him back into the plan this year, and now that he is playing, they aren’t going to just turn him loose at all blindly. Credit the Lions for that.
“This was just a primer for him. Get his legs under him, get him some feel. We’ll get him more work next week,” Campbell said after the game.
Williams will indeed get more work in the games ahead, but in the first game, there was no reason for frustration with what he was able to do.
Lions’ MVP: Michael Badgley, Kicker
On Thanksgiving Day, Michael Badgley had a short miss which may have cost Detroit by the time the game ended. This week, he wasn’t going to let that be the case again at all.
Badgley had a great day booting the ball for the Detroit offense. While the team struggled to get in the end zone every time they touched the ball, Badgley brought it from a kicking perspective. He nailed four field goals on the day with a long of 47 yards, and made every extra point he attempted.
In a season where kicking looked like it may hold the Lions back, this game proved that Badgley has it in him to respond and lock down the position. That is huge news for the future.
Lions’ Stat of the Game
Zero, that was the number of punts the Lions had on the day. It was a refreshing thing to see Jack Fox sitting on the sidelines with his hat on all afternoon, which can be a rarity in today’s fast-moving NFL.
Detroit’s offense has been great in 2022, and were great on this day with 40 points to their credit. The fact they never had to punt once is notable, considering the punter has often been referred to as Detroit’s MVP in the past. No longer.
Lions’ Quote to Note
“Our quarterback played as good as you could play. I thought he was on fire. -Dan Campbell. The coach knew that the Lions were going to have to be able to get big plays in the passing game, and to him, it started with Jared Goff. After a solid 340 yard, two touchdown day, Campbell gave his quarterback the love for what he did. The Lions could go as far as Goff does down the stretch, and clearly, he is trending in a good direction.