Dan Campbell was asked why he think the Lions can win it all.
He responded, “Because I think we can compete with anyone and beat anybody in this league.”
He hesitates, or at least did before Sunday, about the players that strong teams like the Lions frequently ignore.
The Lions put on a performance worthy of a Super Bowl contender, thrashing the Carolina Panthers, 42-24, at Ford Field, fresh off an emotional road victory over a division rival, back at home with more time to bask in their adulation, and playing against the weakest club in the NFL.
“There’s nothing better than when you talk to your squad about your problems and they urge you to just friggin relax, coach, all right? We’ve got it,” stated Campbell. “And today they did that. They started the game off right away, established the pace, and didn’t let up at all.
In the first half of the Lions’ 42-24 victory over the Panthers on Sunday, October 6, 2023, at Ford Field, wide receiver Jonathan Mingo of the Panthers tackles Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson after the latter intercepted a pass by Panthers quarterback Bryce Young.
GRADES FOR DAVE BIRKETT’S LIONS: A flawless offensive performance against the Panthers.
Jared Goff tossed three touchdown passes and rushed for a fourth, and David Montgomery ran for 109 yards and a touchdown on his way to helping the Lions win their third straight game by double digits.
The Lions are off to their best start since going 5-0 to start the 2011 season, sitting alone in first place in the NFC North at 4-1. Next Sunday, they play host to the NFC South-leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a late-afternoon exhibition game with playoff implications.
Goff said, “I think we’re becoming a more mature team and understanding when we play a team that, with all due respect to them, they’re 0-4 and we feel like we can do some good things against (them),” “Once more, all respect. There, we have been. Like, we are familiar with how that feels. But we have to go out and do it when we play a team that we want to get after and when we’re trying to develop into this team that we aim to be, and I think we did a terrific job tonight.
With touchdowns on four of their first five drives to take a commanding 28-10 lead into halftime, the Lions dominated the game on Sunday.
Montgomery, who had 32 carries for 121 yards and three scores in the Lions’ victory over the Green Bay Packers the previous week, got the game started on Sunday with a 42-yard touchdown run on their third offensive play.
He accomplished this feat while handling the majority of the backfield work with rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs sidelined with a hamstring ailment. Kevin Jones last accomplished this feat for the Lions in back-to-back games in 2004.
On Carolina’s second possession, Aidan Hutchinson intercepted a Bryce Young pass, allowing Jared Goff to complete a 4-yard touchdown pass to Sam LaPorta. [Alim McNeill’s forced fumble of Miles Sanders and Jerry Jacobs’ interception of another Young pass also resulted in second-quarter scores.]
How We Got Here
Players like Taylor Decker make this new, winning Lions team what it is. Who is Taylor Decker?
Running backs like Bo Scarbrough, Kerryon Johnson, Ameer Abdullah, and LeGarrette Blount have all benefited from Taylor Decker’s blocking. He was a player for Matt Patricia and Jim Caldwell.
Which serves as a subliminal reminder that his stay in Detroit hasn’t been without its challenges.
On Sunday, Taylor Decker participated in the Lions’ 100th game.
But when the game’s opening play from scrimmage began on Sunday, he did something that only three other tackles had ever done for the team: 100 games in a Lions jersey.
In a blog post on the Detroit Lions website, Decker discussed his experience and said, “The NFL and the Detroit Lions have given me so much. I’ve been privileged to have a part in this story, but football is bigger than any one person.
However, I still have a lot to offer this game and this series.
After a productive collegiate career at Ohio State, where Decker, 30, started 15 games en route to a national championship with the Buckeyes in the 2015 College Football Playoff, Decker was selected by the Lions in the 16th overall pick in 2016.
Decker’s debut season (2016) saw the Lions reach the playoffs, but they were swiftly eliminated by the Seattle Seahawks and haven’t been back since. Only Decker can claim to have remained throughout, although it appears to have cost him something.
“Here I was putting everything I had into this game only to have my squad teased and made fun of. I had the impression that my football career would be utterly forgotten because only winners are remembered. Decker stated, “That was a forlorn feeling, having played through three regimes in five seasons.
The Lions had their first winning season since 2016 last year, and as of Week 4 this year, they are 3-1. Even though those moments were challenging, Decker claimed that they were all worthwhile.
As Decker continued to advance with his newly acquired perspective, “years from now, when I look back on my career, I know that these will be the sweetest years I’ll have with the fondest memories,” Decker stated.
Super Bowl Odds
The Lions started the season are 25-1 odds to win it all and are now down to just 18-1 at online sportsbooks. This is because people have seen what this team can do on the field.
Of course, the Super Bowl will have to be reached through juggernauts in the Lions own conference, which is no easy task. The Eagles and the 49ers appear to be unbeatable at this point.
The road to the Super most definitely goes through San Fran or Philly. Our guess, based on last night’s 49ers drubbing of the Cowboys, it will go through San Fran. This looks like a team that may not even lose two games all year.