After all, the Lions had lost multiple one-score games. They had lost on long field goals and inexplicable meltdowns. It seemed as if the Lions were going to invent another new way to lose, blowing a two point lead by going on fourth down deep within their own territory.
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After a clutch drive, everything came down to fourth and two from just outside the Vikings goal line. While fourth and two might not mean much any other time, on this day, it meant everything. Not only did the Lions have one last play, but Tate Myre, the local slain football star, wore number 42. The Lions had four seconds on the clock. They had been leading by two. Everything was coming up 42.
Then, Jared Goff stood in the pocket and delivered a strike to Amon-Ra St. Brown, delivering the Lions a two point 29-27 win, breaking the seal on the win column at long last. There would be no winless season in Detroit again, and no reason to sweat it out until the bitter end of the season. It was a special moment for the team and the fans in a season that has been frustrating to this point.
Was it divine intervention? Perhaps. After all, team that finds themselves on the short end of the stick as much as the Lions will take all the help they can get. Even still, after a tumultuous week, it was special to see the Lions deliver some happiness to their fans and their state after so much sorrow. The team deserves credit for starting fast and finishing strong, giving everyone a smile.
What else was learned on this day? Here’s a look:
Detroit’s Defense Played Winning Football
It might be easy to slam Detroit’s defense for some being that the team allowed 27 points on the day and buckled at times in the second half. Even though the Vikings managed 427 yards on the day and moved the ball at will at times, Detroit’s defense remained plucky. They collected 3 sacks on the day, and managed to even get a key turnover early in the game forcing a Kirk Cousins fumble. Here’s a look at the play:
Detroit’s defense forced three field goals on drives where they could have allowed touchdowns. In a close game, that was a major difference. This week, give the Lions defense credit again, even though the score might have been more than a bit lopsided than in past weeks.
Jared Goff Is Playing Effective Football for Detroit
Goff isn’t going to collect many fans for his play in Detroit, but quietly, he’s been a good option for the team lately, throwing 3 touchdowns on the day to just 1 interception. Over the past two weeks, Goff has fired 5 total touchdowns and been a big reason the Lions are 1-1 over that stretch. Better than that, Goff is finally showing some of the arm talent that folks knew he had when he came to Detroit, throwing the ball into some tight windows as on this touchdown:
Goff is the Detroit quarterback for right now, and the rest of the season, he can make a pitch to continue to stay for the future. As many mistakes he has made, he is also making winning plays which are hard to ignore like he did on Sunday.
Dan Campbell’s Coaching Remains Erratic
Give the Lions’ boss full marks for finding a way to dial up the win, but it’s impossible to talk about the game without mentioning what nearly became a big reason the Lions lost again. On fourth down and short deep in his own territory, Campbell elected to throw the ball instead of either using a quarterback sneak or punting the ball away. The results were disastrous for the Lions:
Campbell has been erratic and unpredictable at times with his play calling this season. For the 1-10-1 Lions, that isn’t likely to matter. Still, it’s hard not to see how Campbell could cost the team a victory if coaching like that continues in the future. It remains a variable to watch in Detroit.
Lion? Amon-Ra St. Brown, Wide Receiver
Coming into the game, it was figured the Lions would have to try and unlock St. Brown given he put up 65 yards in the first game against Minnesota. That happened in a big way in this game, as St. Brown caught 10 passes for 86 yards and a score. That touchdown ended up being the game winner for Detroit.
It was a big day for St. Brown, and for the Lions, a hopeful beginning for the young wideout.
Lions’ Stat of the Game: 3
That’s the number of penalties the Lions had on the afternoon for a total of 11 yards. In recent weeks, the Lions hadn’t shown much discipline at all, which helped in the team struggling to find wins on the field. It’s wasn’t a surprise, then, to see that Detroit managed to keep their composure and not have silly penalties most of the afternoon. Winning football involves discipline in more ways than one, and the Lions were finally able to show a measure of it in this game.
Lions’ Quote to Note
“First NFL touchdown, first NFL win. I’m going to remember this day for a long time.” -Amon-Ra St. Brown. The Lions’ wideout was happy to deliver for the Lions in the clutch, and confirmed to the media afterward that it was going to be a special day.
All the way around, it was a big day for the Lions and a special moment that will go down in history for the team.