The Detroit Lions are on a roll. They have won four of their last five games, including a stunning 41-38 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium. The Lions improved to 7-2 on the season and maintained their lead in the NFC North. How did they do it? Here are some of the key factors that contributed to their thrilling win:
- Jared Goff’s clutch performance: The Lions’ quarterback had one of his best games of the season, completing 28 of 37 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions. He also ran for a crucial first down in the final drive, which set up the game-winning field goal by Austin Seibert. Goff showed poise and accuracy, and spread the ball to eight different receivers. He connected with rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 56-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and with tight end Brock Wright for a 23-yard score in the fourth quarter. Goff outplayed his former teammate and rival, Justin Herbert, who threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns, but also had two costly turnovers
- Jahmyr Gibbs’ breakout game: The Lions’ rookie running back had a career-high 112 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, on 14 touches. He scored on a 9-yard run in the first quarter, and on a 25-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter. He also had a 36-yard run in the fourth quarter, which helped the Lions extend their lead to 38-31. Gibbs showed his speed, agility, and vision, and complemented David Montgomery, who had 116 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. The Lions’ rushing attack was dominant, as they ran for 173 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry.
- Aidan Hutchinson’s defensive impact: The Lions’ rookie defensive end continued his impressive season, as he recorded two sacks, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. He stripped Herbert of the ball in the second quarter, which led to a Lions’ touchdown. He also sacked Herbert on the Chargers’ final drive, forcing them to use their last timeout. Hutchinson leads the NFL with 12.5 sacks, and is a strong candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year award. He anchors a Lions’ defense that pressured Herbert throughout the game, and forced three turnovers
- Dan Campbell’s aggressive coaching: The Lions’ head coach showed his confidence and trust in his team, as he made some bold decisions that paid off. He went for it on fourth-and-1 at the Lions’ 34-yard line in the first quarter, and Goff converted with a sneak. He also went for it on fourth-and-2 at the Chargers’ 25-yard line in the third quarter, and Goff hit Gibbs for a touchdown. He also opted to run the clock down and kick a field goal on the final drive, instead of trying to score a touchdown and leave time for the Chargers. He said after the game, “I just wanted to finish with the ball in our hands.”.
The Lions’ win over the Chargers was a statement game, as they proved that they are a legitimate contender in the NFC. They have a balanced and explosive offense, a formidable and opportunistic defense, and a fearless and inspiring coach. They have also shown their resilience and determination, as they have overcome injuries, adversity, and criticism. They have a tough schedule ahead, but they have the talent and the mindset to compete with anyone. The Lions are roaring, and they are not going to stop anytime soon.