Lions’ Dan Campbell Sounds Off on Jahmyr Gibbs’ Breakout Performance

Jahmyr Gibbs

Getty Detroit Lions rookie running back Jahmyr recorded his first 100-yard rushing game of his NFL career.

Head coach Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions challenged rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs shortly after losing fellow running back David Montgomery to a rib injury.

Gibbs answered the challenge in his Monday Night Football debut.

The rookie running back broke out with 152 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during Week 8. It was his first 100-yard rushing game of his young career.

Gibbs also had 5 catches for 37 yards. He was the first Lions rookie running back with at least 100 rushing yards and 30 receiving yards since Barry Sanders in 1989.

For that performance, Gibbs earned praise from Campbell during the coach’s postgame press conference.

“You could tell he was feeling it. Every week, he’s just gotten a little bit better, a little bit better,” Campbell told reporters. “And I thought last week was his best game, and this week certainly surpassed that.”

The Lions have now played three games without Montgomery this season. In those contests, Gibbs has averaged 100 rushing yards and 5.6 yards per carry.

Just the Beginning of Greatness from Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs?

As the No. 12 overall pick from the 2023 NFL draft, Gibbs entered the league with a lot of hype. As is the case with a lot of young players with tremendous hype, those expectations can be a little unrealistic. Then as a result, fans and analysts feel underwhelmed from the player initially.

One could argue that was the case with Gibbs through the first quarter of this season. In his first four games, he only surpassed the 60-yards from scrimmage mark once.

But now without Montgomery available, Gibbs has posted back-to-back performances with at least 125 yards from scrimmage. He’s also scored in each of the last two games.

After Week 8, Campbell told the media that the rookie running back is only scratching the surface of what he can do in the NFL.

“I think the more he gains his own confidence in his own abilities in this league, he’s just going to continue to grow, and I think this was kind of the tip of the iceberg, if you will, of what he is able to do,” said Campbell.

Gibbs’s breakout performance came just in time. Quarterback Jared Goff was solid but not spectacular, as he had 272 passing yards, a touchdown and a pick-six against the Raiders. The interception was one of three giveaways for the Lions, and the team scored a touchdown on just 1 of 5 red zone possessions.

Those missed opportunities had the Raiders within two points in the third quarter. But Gibbs’ 27-yard touchdown with 3:13 left in the third gave the Lions a two-score lead for the rest of the night.

What’s Next for the Lions Backfield?

After Gibbs’ breakout performance in primetime, it will be interesting to see what happens next for Detroit’s running game.

It’s unclear when Montgomery will return from his rib injury, but the Lions didn’t place him on injured reserve. That likely signifies the team doesn’t believe he will miss four games. Players placed on IR must miss a minimum of four contests.

The Lions have a bye in Week 9. It’s possible Montgomery will be ready to return in Week 10 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

After the Week 8 performance, it’s hard to foresee the Lions moving Gibbs back into a reserve role. But it’s also not like Montgomery deserves to lose his job. Montgomery has recorded 385 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns in five games this season.

The good news is there should be enough touches for both running backs. The Lions ran the ball 43 times in Week 8. Third-string runner Craig Reynolds had 74 yards on 14 carries, helping Detroit rack up 222 rushing yards.

The Lions aren’t going to run the ball 40-plus times every week, but 15 carries for both Montgomery and Gibbs is certainly possible. Gibbs could also receive 5 or more touches in the receiving game.

In his first six NFL games, Gibbs has registered 399 rushing yards along with 28 receptions for 165 yards. He’s averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

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