Cole Kmet had just broken free for a 50-yard Touchdown with 2:43 to go in the third quarter. This scoring play was the point that most casual fans likely turned the game off or started to do something more productive with their Sunday afternoon. However, die-hard Lions fans like myself still sat there, waiting to see how their team would respond to going down two touchdowns and seemingly losing all momentum.
I’ll be honest; this was my mindset: Will this team continue fighting when all hope seems lost, and how will the young players, who will be integral parts of this team moving forward, perform? This team doesn’t have the “King of Comebacks,” Matthew Stafford. The thought of Jared Goff leading them down the field for at least two more touchdowns seemed just as ludicrous as the NFL’s worst defense stimying Justin Fields for the final quarter of play.
Yet, against all odds, these Detroit Lions managed to do just that. They never gave up and kept fighting until a few plays, and a few calls from the officials went their way to close the game with a much-needed victory. This win restored hope that Dan Campbell can win challenging games in this league, and he can do it on the road against a division rival that seemed to be finding its own identity. So let’s see how the Lions pulled off this comeback and whether or not they have a chance to build on it for more success this season and beyond.
The box score looks as expected, with Josh Reynolds and DJ Chark out with injuries, D’Andre Swift playing through injuries, and TJ Hockenson no longer on the team. Jared Goff had a decent day passing with 236 yards and a touchdown, although what’s not showing is an interception he threw that was called back due to a defensive penalty.
Jamaal Williams ran it well when he was called upon with 59 rushing yards and the touchdown that put the Lions on top at the end of the game. However, Amon-Ra St. Brown stole the show receiving, racking up 119 yards on ten receptions.
The offensive line played well but was not necessarily dominant as a unit. However, despite the inconsistencies, the offense did enough to put points on the board for most of the game. The main questions around the Lions haven’t been the offense, though; the defense had to make stops for them to have any chance at the end.
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Aaron Glenn was fired up when the clock hit zero in this one, and he deserved to be pleased about how his players performed against the Bears. I previously wrote about how the Lions would need to focus on and halt Justin Fields to have a chance in this game. That didn’t necessarily happen for most of the game, but they did force him to turn it over on downs on the Bear’s last possession.
Fields ended up with 167 yards passing and 147 yards rushing on the day. However, much of this yardage was on chunk plays, which is to be expected playing against a player as dynamic as Justin Fields. Khalil Herbert and David Montgomery combined for only 94 yards rushing. The Bear’s leading receiver was Tight End Cole Kmet, with 74 yards and two touchdowns, but one came on the 50-yard reception mentioned earlier.
The big story of the day was when Aidan Hutchinson read that Justin Fields was looking to show a short pass in the flat and stepped back into coverage rather than pursuing Fields, which allowed enough time for Jeff Okudah to step in front of Field’s pass for a pick-six. This play changed the game in a big way and hopefully a sign for the future that Hutchinson and Okudah are leaders to build around.
The Lions Future
As the coach-speak goes, it’s on to the Giants. If the Lions can continue to improve upon their weaknesses as this season continues and they keep playing hard in close games, I think the fan base will return to where they were when Hard Knocks was airing: hopeful. In addition, I’m optimistic about the youth and potential in most recent draft picks. They stepped up to grasp victory away from the Bears; now let’s see if they can string together three in a row against the 7-2 Giants this upcoming Sunday.