What a win! When Dan Campbell preached “grit” last year, this is exactly what he had in mind. The Detroit Lions went into Raymond James Stadium and gutted out a 20-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here are three takeaways from the awesome performance that propelled them to 5-1 on the season, their fourth win in a row.
Three Takeaways from the Detroit Lions' fourth win in a row
There are a number of different things we could point to for the victory today, but there are a few things that stand above the rest. Namely, Jared Goff's command of the offense, the defense's absolute domination, and Ben Johnson's brilliance.
Jared Goff needs some ice for his back
We can say all we want about Jared Goff, and I've written my fair share. But credit where credit is due, this guy is ballin' right now. He took a while to get comfortable in this game, but when the Lions needed him he stood tall. The Lions' rushing attack was non-existent, especially with the injury to David Montgomery. They rushed the ball 22 times for 40 yards against a stout Tampa Bay front seven. So, Goff threw the team on his back and carried them. He went 30-44 for 353 and two touchdowns. Not to mention his absolute command of the offense in the fourth quarter, orchestrating a drive that saw the Lions possess the ball for 6:52 and put the Bucs' offense up against a wall. Masterful job all the way around by Mr. Goff.
The Lions' defense might just be … uh … good?!
One of the biggest question marks coming into the season was the Lions' defense. But not only have they been improved, but they've been downright dominant in games. Sure, this offense was led by Baker Mayfield, and that's nothing scary, but they straight-up dominated. They only allowed the Bucs' two third-down conversions out of 12 chances and limited them to a total of 251 yards in the game. And the secondary that we said needed to step up, did just that allowing Mayfield to barely beak 200 yards in the game. They'll be tested next week against the legs of Lamar Jackson, but this defense is good. Believe it!
Ben Johnson, certified offensive genius
Okay, maybe this isn't a revelation but it needs to be said. The way he called that fourth-quarter drive when the Lions took over with 10:37 on the clock and gave it back to the Bucs with only 3:55 on the clock. And, he orchestrated this without any semblance of a running game. He took the bull by the horns, started calling a short quick game with screens included, and used them as an extension of their run game to keep the clock moving. It was pure genius and I'm glad he's with us, at least for one more season.
The bottom line
We knew this Lions team would be fun, but this fun? 13-3 in their last sixteen games, the first time since 1961-62 they've had a stretch like that? C'mon. This is fun and there's nothing better than when the Lions are good at football. Here's to next week and the Baltimore Ravens because if there's one thing we know, this Lions' team won't cower or back down from any fight – just as it should be.