Through four weeks of the 2023 NFL season, the Detroit Lions are riding high.
After starting the season with an upset of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Lions would add two more wins in dominant fashion: the Atlanta Falcons looked lifeless in Week 3, while the Green Bay Packers were trounced on “Thursday Night Football” in Week 4. The Lions are perhaps a coin flip away from being undefeated, their lone loss coming in overtime against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Lions would not be sitting at 3-1 without some superb early-season performances, and there is no shortage of gold stars to be handed out.
Jared Goff has shown that 2022 was no fluke. While the interceptions are up relative to his performance down the stretch last season, it is with no exaggeration to say that Goff is a key reason why the Lions are winning games. He has looked confident and decisive as a passer, two characteristics that he sorely missed during his first year in Detroit.
Goff has also benefitted from an impressive arsenal around him. Praising Amon-Ra St. Brown is like a broken record, but that illustrates the consistency and reliability that he brings to the offense on a weekly basis. Goff’s second-favorite target has slowly become Sam LaPorta, who is blowing away the preconceived notions about rookie tight ends. The run game has been effective thanks in no small part to David Montgomery and his tough running. The offensive line also deserves a nod for playing well despite numerous injuries.
The defense had some hiccups to start the season, but it is rolling as of late. Aidan Hutchinson has been a wrecking ball up front, his pressure stats putting him among the NFL’s elite. The likes of Charles Harris and Alim McNeill have added to the pass rush, each player recording a pair of sacks in the last two games. Brian Branch has been outstanding as a rookie manning the slot. Perhaps flying under the radar has been Derrick Barnes, who is looking like the promising linebacker he flashed in his first two seasons.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions player has impressed you the most through Week 4?
My answer: David Montgomery.
Had you told me in May that the carries between Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs were an uneven 69-39, I would have been surprised—this seemed destined for an even committee. This split doesn’t even factor in Montgomery missing a game! Yet Montgomery has more than earned his share of touches.
On paper, Montgomery looks like a lateral move from Jamaal Williams in 2022. Williams had a 4.1 yards per attempt average, while Montgomery is sitting at 3.8 so far in 2023. Williams had 13 touchdowns of two yards or fewer, while Montgomery is coming off a night with three touchdown runs of three yards or under.
Yet, where Montgomery has shined is making the most of some difficult runs. Montgomery already has 12 broken tackles in 2023, while Williams finished with 13 across all of 2022. His footwork has been outstanding, churning out additional yards running between the tackles in a way that Williams sometimes struggled to do.
Gibbs’ time in the spotlight will come, but as long as Montgomery is running like he is, the Lions will be very happy with their running back room.
Which Lions player has stood out the most to you through the first month of the season? Let us know in the comments.