Well, it wasn’t pretty by any means. It was the kind of game that you hate to watch because it has your heart beating fast and the anxiety in your body makes you start to get flush and then you sweat. But the Detroit Lions got the job done with a 20-17 win over the New York Jets. You can all breathe now.
As always, I have thoughts on this game. These are those thoughts:
.500 has never tasted so sweet
This team was 1-6 not that long ago. 1-6!! Now they’re a .500 team that could very realistically get themselves into the playoffs this year. They aren’t just beating up on bad teams. They’re beating division leaders, they’re beating the league’s top defenses and they’re winning games on the road against winning teams. This team just keeps finding the way to get it done every week. What can they do in both the near and the not-too-distant future? Can the Lions pull off the unimaginable? I don’t know. But it’s going to be fun to watch and find out.
Offense waited till the big moment
It shouldn’t be that big of surprise. The Jets defense, even missing Quinnen Williams, is a very good unit—one of the best in the NFL. The Lions struggled to get much going and when they did, they stalled out in the red zone multiple times despite coming into the game with the league's best red zone touchdown percentage. It just seemed like this offense would just never get it going.
Then on their final drive of the game and on fourth down, the Lions finally got into the end zone with a big Brock Wright touchdown that gave the Lions the lead. Ben Johnson pulls off a big moment when he needed to, and now you have to worry even more about the possibility of Johnson getting a head coaching job. Teams like it when you coordinate a win over one of the best defenses in the league.
Best field goal defense in the league
Admit it. You were going through all the scenarios in your head in the final seconds of this game. Will the Jets get a miracle touchdown? Will they nail the huge field goal and send it to overtime where the Lions will lose the toss and then lose the game? Will the ball somehow bounce off all three sides of the goal post and then bounce in and then you learn that the NFL has a rule for that being worth four points?
Maybe it was just me. The Lions needed something big to happen in this game and they got it when Greg Zuerlein missed a 58-yard field goal to end regulation, sealing yet another win for the Lions.
James Houston is special
Every week this kid is showing that he is not a flash in the pan. He’s not just a guy who had a good game or two. He’s a problem. On Sunday he got the the quarterback once again when he sacked Zach Wilson in the first half. That wasn’t his only big moment though. He laid out a beautiful block on the last man on Kalif Raymond’s punt return touchdown.
James Houston with a nice block on Kalif Raymond Punt Return for a TD pic.twitter.com/hqckRzZz08— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) December 18, 2022
I look forward to seeing what this guy can do with more time under the learning tree.
O Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
He’s back for the Lions sacking quarterbacks. That’s where he is. After tearing his achilles last season and finally returning to the field last week, he ended the game with two sacks. His second sack was the big one. In the waning moments of the fourth quarter that made things hard for the Jets and helped take valuable time off the clock.
Speaking of moments
Kalif Raymond bounced around a bit before finding himself in Detroit. One of his stops during that time was with the Jets. He had a lot of struggles while he was with gang green. That’s why it’s really nice to see him have a nice moment in this stadium against this team. Raymond has played really well lately. Here’s hoping he has some more moments this season.
No, I’m not talking about Ben & Jerry’s best flavor, I’m talking about the Lions defense allowing chunk play after chunk play in this game. It seems like the Jets may have watched the tape of what Justin Jefferson and the Vikings were able to do against the Lions in Week 14, then cut and pasted it. The Lions got burnt a ton in the first half and it allowed the Jets to not just stay in the game, but tie the game going into the half. The Lions defense has to be better than this going forward or they will get eaten alive.
Jerry Jacobs grabbed his first career interception on Sunday. A week ago he got his first career sack. What first will he have next? Perhaps a Festivus miracle of some sort on Festivus Eve next week? I’ll take it.