The new 17-game schedule in the NFL makes breaking the season up into quarters a little quirky but Lions head coach Dan Campbell said it's a practice still observed by coaches.
"I'm not great at math, but it's hard to quarter things now with 17 weeks," he said. "But the point is, it's good to be 3-1. This is about right where you want to be. I like where we're at, at this point and I think our sole focus has to be on improvement.
"We still have a lot of things we can clean up and if our focus is on staying hungry and just how do we get a little bit better every week. Then you're playing your best football when December hits. And I think that's still the plan. It's always the plan."
So, what led the Lions to 3-1 at the 'quarter' point of the season? Here are five numbers that played a role:
1. Number: 60.8
What it means: Rushing yards allowed per game by the Lions' defense
Twentyman: Just to put this number into a bit of perspective: In 2014, the Lions led the NFL in run defense and put up the ninth best average throughout the course of an entire season in NFL history by allowing 69.3 per contest on the ground.
It's very early in the season, but Detroit's ability to stop the run has been a big catalyst behind their play on defense and subsequently their 3-1 start. Detroit has forced some teams to completely abandon the run with opponents having a 67.6 vs. 32.4 pass to run percentage through four games.
Carolina, who Detroit plays next, is averaging just about 100 rushing yards per game ahead of their contest this Sunday vs. Minnesota. Lions fans shouldn't forget that Carolina ran for 320 yards (7.4 average) with three touchdowns in their win over Detroit in Week 16 last season.
2. Number: 5
What it means: Rushing touchdowns for running back David Montgomery in two and a half games played this season
Twentyman: The veteran Montgomery has been a terrific addition to Detroit's backfield. He has 262 rushing yards on the season despite having missed nearly half of the Seattle game and not playing Week 3 vs. Atlanta. Of those yards, 94 have come after contact and he's broken 12 tackles. His career high for broken tackles in a season is 29 in 2020 with the Bears in 15 games, per Pro Football Reference.
Montgomery's combination of a tough and elusive running style is perfect for this scheme and a great complement to the speed and big-play ability of rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs.
3. Number: 65
What it means: Quarterback pressures for the Lions' defense
Twentyman: That comes out to a staggering 16 pressure average per contest. Detroit's pass rush has been relentless this season, especially in their three victories over Kansas City, Atlanta and Green Bay.
In the last two weeks alone, Detroit has notched 12 sacks, 19 quarterback hits and 20 tackles for loss. Talk about playing in an opponent's backfield.
"They're very disciplined and they're playing hard," Campbell said of his defense early this season. "We look physical. We look violent and that's the type of defense we want."
4. Number: 133.5
What it means: Quarterback Jared Goff's passer rating inside the opponent 30-yard line
Twentyman: When the Lions get into the go-zone for scoring, Goff has been very good making sure the offense comes away with points. He's completing nearly 80 percent of his passes inside the opponent 30-yard line with four touchdowns, no interceptions and no sacks taken.
Kicker Riley Patterson is a perfect 5-for-5 this season on field goals under 40 yards and he's also perfect on extra points.
5. Number: 22.9
What it means: Opponent average starting field position on kickoffs
Twentyman: We can't go without giving Dave Fipp and Detroit's special teams some love. The new fair catch rules on kickoffs have changed that play a bit, but when teams have tried to steal extra yards on the Lions it usually backfires on them because of Detroit's terrific coverage units. That starting field position puts the Lions No. 1 in the NFL in kickoff coverage.
The good play by Fipp's units extends to punt coverage too, as the Lions are allowing just 7.6 yards per punt return with the league average sitting at 10.2 per return.