3 takeaways from Detroit Lions manhandling of the Denver Broncos
The Detroit Lions destroyed the Denver Broncos on Saturday night. They put up 42 points on a defense that had been improving over the last seven weeks, while the defense completely shut down the Broncos' offense. There's plenty to look at and praise during this game, especially with what we've witness in the last three weeks, but here the Lions sit one Seattle Seahawks loss away from clinching a playoff berth for the first time in seven years.
Takeaways from the Detroit Lions win over the Broncos
When looking and watching this game, coming in it seemed as though the Lions would try to pound the rock and take the pressure off of Jared Goff, who had been struggling lately. However, Ben Johnson flipped the script on everyone, putting the ball in Goff's hands and it paid off. On the opposite side of the ball Aaron Glenn had a spectacular plan coming into the game and the players executed it nearly flawlessly. The takeaways this week look specifically at the Lions' three main coaches.
1. Ben Johnson rebounded nicely after disaster vs. the Bears
Everyone was pretty quiet on the horrible game that Johnson called against the Bears last week. There was no urgency, no creativity, and it was pure nonsense. But, the past is the past. And, Saturday night against the Broncos, Johnson was back to his old self. He mixed run and pass well, keeping the Broncos' defense on its heels, and utilized the middle of the field with our best weapons – Amon-Ra St. Brown, Sam LaPorta, and Jameson Williams. Then, he was able to get the ball in the hands of Jahmyr Gibbs and let him cook. He was aggressive consistently and was rewarded with five touchdown tosses from Goff, a rushing score by Gibbs, and over 400 yards of total offense. Johnson needs to keep his foot on the gas offensively over the next three weeks to keep this offense rolling.
2. Aaron Glenn finally got pressure on a quarterback
Glenn has gotten his fair share of criticism over the years, and deservedly so. He mixed coverages, benched Jerry Jacobs, and let his guys play free and clear getting to Russell Wilson. While the defense only recorded two sacks on the night, they still got to Russ with eight quarterback hits and kept the pressure on him throughout the entire game. Once again, another coordinator being aggressive throughout the entirety of a game, not just in pockets, paid off for the boys in Honolulu Blue. Sometimes you don't have to get the sack to be effective, just knock the quarterback out of rhythm and that's what the Lions' defenders were doing all night long.
3. Dan Campbell showed patience and trust in his guys, which is proof he's growing
Dan Campbell is one of, if not the, most aggressive coach when it comes to going for it on fourth down. Often it can seem he presses the issue, especially when the offense isn't exactly clicking. The offense struggled to complete drives in the first quarter on Saturday night and after an Isaiah Buggs fumble recovery on the Broncos' first drive, the Lions stalled out. Campbell normally would have kept the offense on the field but he didn't Saturday night. He took the medicine, let the offense regroup on the sideline and they rewarded him handsomely after that, putting up 42 points and not punting again until the fourth quarter. He'll need to continue to grow as the stakes continue to grow larger, but this is a step in the right direction.
The bottom line
There's no doubt this was one of the best games the Lions played all season long in all facets of the game. They have topped their 2022 win total, sit atop the NFC North division, and are staring down the barrel of a home playoff game. These three coaches have to find a way to tap into what they did Saturday night. and replicate it throughout the next three weeks. We're in the final quarter of the season and it's time to sink or swim, and that rests solely on these three men's shoulders.