In all my years of watching Lions football, I've never seen a first quarter like that. Touchdown, turnover, touchdown, punt, touchdown. Many people were wondering how the Lions would respond after a remarkably disappointing loss to the Packers on Thanksgiving. We got our answer really fast. Detroit's 21-0 lead in the 1st quarter was the fastest any NFL team has been up 21-0 in a game in 13 years.
There were a lot of people on Detroit sports radio over the last ten days wondering if the Thanksgiving loss to Green Bay was the beginning of a collapse. It's only natural to have that instinct in the back of your head when talking about the Detroit Lions. But I've said for a long time that I believe this Lions team is different. It would be unfair to change that belief after one bad Thanksgiving loss. Today proved that our hope is justified, though it got a little bit scary there in the second half.
It feels all but inevitable at this point that offensive coordinator. Ben Johnson will be a head coach in the NFL next year. That comes with the territory, but if you're ranking reasons why the lion's offense has been so successful over the last two seasons, he's near the top of that list. They played to their strengths and ran the ball effectively to begin the game, and Jared Goff was extremely sharp. Unlike the last two weeks, they held onto the football and sustained drives. The Saints didn't know what hit them. It also doesn't hurt that Sam LaPorta is the biggest stud that's ever studded.
I give Aaron Glenn's defense a lot of credit for starting strong, forcing a turnover, and allowing the offense to get that big lead, but this defense is still soft. There were multiple instances in which the Saints had third and long, and converted to keep themselves in the game. Today's effort was good enough to knock off Derek Carr and Jameis Winston, but I still have a lot of concern about how they'll perform when they play some of the elite quarterbacks in this league, which they'll likely have to do when they get to the playoffs.
Lions fans can definitely breathe a sigh of relief. Whatever worry there was that this train might derail is relieved for the moment. I'm not going to act like the Saints are any good, but that Packers game was a game that I've seen the Lions lose twice in previous years. They did what they needed to do, threw the previous week in the trash, and came away with a win. It feels good to be 9-3.