The Detroit Lions absolutely needed to come out of the bye week with a win. A loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars could spell the end of the Matt Patricia era and potentially much, much more than that.
The Lions didn’t only win on Sunday, but they looked like a completely different team, led by a strong defense, a good running game and a team that didn’t allow mistakes to snowball into bigger mistakes. The final score of 34-16 was actually much closer than the actual game appeared to be.
With the win the Lions 2020 season remains alive. They still have a ton of work to do, but with six winnable games ahead of them, Detroit could start to build a decent record if they can continue to play like this.
Here’s how their win over the Jaguars happened.
The Detroit Lions got off to another hot start against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Determined not to get run all over by the Jags offense, Detroit’s defense got a quick three-and-out after two big run stops.
The Lions offense responded with a quick touchdown drive of their own. Helped by a third-down conversion on an offsides and a fourth-down conversion via Matthew Stafford sneak, Detroit worked their way into the red zone. Adrian Peterson punched it in from the 1-yard line and the Lions were off to yet another early lead. 7-0 Lions.
The Jaguars kicked back with a nice drive of their own. Thanks to a 35-yard pass play to Keelan Cole—with Jeff Okudah a step behind in coverage—Gardner Minshew got the Jaguars in field goal position. However, some timely pressure from the Lions caused the Jaguars to settle for three. 7-3 Lions.
But D’Andre Swift made a big impression on the next drive, kicking things off with this 54-yard scamper:
.@DAndreSwift takes it for 5⃣4⃣ yds!#DETvsJAX | FOX | #OnePride pic.twitter.com/dYBsCeb64h— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 18, 2020
And the Lions were back in the red zone as the quarter ended.
After a 16-ayrd catch from T.J. Hockenson, the Lions were in business and Swift capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown. score. 14-3 Lions.
The good times continued for the Lions, as on the very next play for the Jaguars, Duron Harmon picked off Minshew on a deep ball. However, the Lions couldn’t capitalize. Though the made it into Jaguars territory, a holding penalty pushed them back. Facing a fourth-and-9 from Jacksonville’s 39-yard line, Detroit opted to kick a 57-yard field goal and Matt Prater pushed it left. The score remained 14-3.
With the good field position, the Jaguars were primed to take advantage, especially after a personal foul penalty on Jayron Kearse. However, Jacksonville kicker Jon Brown shanked a 32-yard field goal.
The Lions continued to drive down the field nicely, but it wasn’t without some issues. The Lions suffered injuries to their starting and backup right tackles Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Tyrell Crosby, forcing converted defensive lineman Matt Nelson into the game. Additionally, the Lions took Jonah Jackson out of the game for Oday Aboushi. They stalled in the red zone, and settled for a 31-yard field goal. prater didn’t miss this one. 17-3 Lions.
The Jaguars moved the ball to midfield the next possession, but a huge strip sack from Trey Flowers go the ball back to Detroit with under a minute remaining. Another holding penalty moved the Lions back, though, and they couldn’t turn Jacksonville’s second turnover into any points, holding the 17-3 lead at halftime.
The second half got off to a concerning start, as the Lions offense went run-run-pass to kick off their first possession, and on third down Stafford’s pass was tipped at the line and intercepted. But Detroit’s defense stood up in a big way. On fourth-and-4 Jacksonville opted against a short field goal, and Amani Oruwariye made them pay. The second-year corner broke up the pass, giving the Lions the ball back without any harm done by the interception.
The Lions proceeded to go 86 yards to put the team up 21. The drive was bolstered by a huge 48-yard bomb to Kenny Golladay on a free play.
KENNY. GOLLADAY. @kgxix— NFL (@NFL) October 18, 2020
: #DETvsJAX on FOX
: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/Qh00dKLKr7 pic.twitter.com/ziJsG86kdp
The Lions struggled to punch it in, but Detroit got aggressive and went for it on fourth down. Stafford found Hockenson for the 1-yard score and Detroit was suddenly up big. 24-3 Lions.
Jacksonville wouldn’t go quietly into the night, however. Minshew found Cole for 51 yards on a broken coverage play. And in the red zone, Minshew juked Jahlani Tavai out of his shoes for a 6-yard score.
.@GardnerMinshew5 does it himself!— NFL (@NFL) October 18, 2020
: #DETvsJAX on FOX
: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/Qh00dKLKr7 pic.twitter.com/jDTNBYFAt2
The Lions offense would keep pounding the football down the Jaguars’ throats, though. D’Andre Swift continued his impressive game with rushes of nine and five yards. Throw in a pass to Kenny Golladay for 16, and suddenly the Lions were already deep into Jaguars territory as the game moved to the fourth quarter.
The Lions offense stalled in the red zone, but the Jaguars gifted them a first down on a roughing the passer penalty. Swift quickly made them pay with 6-yard touchdown, pushing the lead to three touchdowns again.
RB @DAndreSwift taking it in for 6⃣ #DETvsJAX | FOX | #OnePride pic.twitter.com/fzWwmqG0Hb— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 18, 2020
The Lions got themselves a three-and-out, and it felt like it sealed the game. The Lions were able to bleed the clock on a run-heavy drive that spanned 41 yards and helped Swift eclipsed 100 rushing yards on the game. Over four minutes later, the Lions tacked on three more to make it a 24-point game. 34-10 Lions.
The Jaguars were able to tack on a touchdown against the Lions’ prevent defense, making it 34-16 Lions. But after they missed the two-point conversion, it remained a three-score game, and it wasn’t enough to ever really threaten the Lions’ win.