One of the best plays in the Detroit Lions’ 41-38 shootout win over the Los Angeles Chargers was David Montgomery’s 75-yard touchdown that gave Detroit a 24-10 lead late in the first half.
But after the game, Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown revealed something shocking out that play: it should have never happened.
You see, that wasn’t the play call. But when the Lions broke the huddle, they realized they had made a critical mistake: the wrong personnel was on the field.
“It’s was supposed to be 12 (one RB, 2 TE), and we were in 11 (one RB, 1 TE),” St. Brown said. “So they called the play and I was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know what I’m doing on this play. I’m not supposed to be in.’”
So with some help from quarterback Jared Goff—and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson in the headset—the Lions audibled quickly to a play they could run out of 11 personnel.
“The certain play we called, we really can’t run out of that personnel. I knew it was wrong when we broke the huddle,” Goff said. “I didn’t really—I should have realized it probably when we were in the huddle, but once we broke the huddle and got lined up, I realized it was wrong. Ben (Johnson) in my headset, ‘Hey, get to the run,’ (the run) we ended up getting to.”
The play call couldn’t have been more perfect, as Montgomery had a valley to run through. But credit to the veteran back juking out the Chargers defensive backs at the second level.
“We were laughing about it,” Goff said. “You do all this planning through the week—Monday to Saturday—of what you want to do, and make everything perfect. Then we basically mess it up and it’s a 75-yard touchdown.”
And while it’s a quirky story of turning a big mistake into a big win, Goff said it speaks to a larger point about this team. No matter who is on the field, they are dangerous—even if they’re scrambling to find a play.
“It’s a credit to a good team. We adjust and (are) able to remake adjustments on the fly.”
The Lions offense had its best day in eight seasons, totalling 533 yards of offense. St. Brown pitched in 156 on eight catches, Montgomery finished with 116 on the ground, while between rushing and receiving rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs added 112 of his own.
“It just shows you the ability that we have as an offense,” St. Brown said. “We can explode at any point, and that’s why I’m so excited to be a part of this team. There’s guys on every level that can make plays.”