Losing sucks, doesn’t it? We’re all used to it as Lions fans, but this team showed that there is pride in losing. The Lions lost an offensive battle vs the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35, but there were a lot of positives, especially with the offense. Let’s talk about it.
Let me clarify: About 90, maybe 95% of the time in the NFL, if you score 35 points, that’s good enough to win. However, yesterday was one of those unfortunate outliers where the defense was not good enough. The Eagles are one of the best teams in the NFL, that’s something we all knew going into yesterday, and the Lions gave them one hell of a game. One of the reasons why the Eagles had so much preseason hype is because of their elite defense. They added some good players such as James Bradberry and Chauncy Gardner-Johnson to boost their secondary, and they spent a first-round pick on Jordan Davis. With that in mind, I expected the Lions offense to struggle and fail to produce any sign of life. I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. Outside of some suspect play calls and a little sloppiness, this unit proved that it will be really good this season.
Far and away the most impressive performance came from third-year running back D’Andre Swift. Holy cow, what a game that guy had. He set a new career high in rushing yards with 144, and he did that on just 15 carries. He was making iron sharp cuts and broke off several big runs including a 50-yard rush on the second play of the game. Backup running back/fullback Jamaal Williams vultures two touchdowns that should have been Swift’s, but he still found his way into the endzone for a 7-yard touchdown on 4th and 1 in the second quarter. He put one of the league’s best defenses on notice, and I think that is a sign of things to come.
As far as the rest of the offense is concerned, I think they played relatively well despite a few plays where they shot themselves in the foot. Jared Goff got off to a molasses-slow start but started to get in rhythm towards the end of the game. Was it all his fault? Absolutely not. Does he deserve some blame? Of course, but Goff did some good things yesterday. He overcame a few horrible drops from his receivers and constant pressure from the Eagles front 7, managing to still throw for 2 touchdowns. He’ll get better as the season goes on, fans just need to cut him a little bit of slack.
In his first game with the team, former Jacksonville Jaguar and LSU Tiger standout DJ Chark had an excellent debut game. He dropped a pass early on that would have been a 10+ yard completion, but he played well during the rest of the game. He totaled 4 catches for 52 yards and he scored a touchdown on a beautiful throw from Jared Goff late in the 4th quarter. Amon-Ra St. Brown and TJ Hockenson also turned in some good performances, and this Lions receiving core is already significantly better than it was at any point last year.
For as fun as Week 1 was, it is only 1 game out of a long 17-game season, so we shouldn’t overreact too much. Overreaction or not, it is safe to say this Lions offense is going to be something special. They just hung up 35 points on a top-tier defense while playing without first-round draft pick Jameson Williams and with a few injuries to their elite offensive line. Very impressed with how they played, and this is just the beginning.