FIRST DOWN: GOFF'S PLAY
Quarterback Jared Goff has been playing some of the best football of his career for the Detroit Lions to start the season, and that continued Sunday in Tampa Bay as he helped Detroit to a 20-6 win to give the Lions their fourth straight victory and improve their record to 5-1 on the season.
In a game where Detroit rushed for just 40 yards and lost running back David Montgomery to a rib injury in the second quarter, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson put the ball in Goff's hands and he delivered to the tune of 30-of-44 passing for 353 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 107.5 passer rating.
"It wasn't easy running the football and we needed him to step up and he did step up," head coach Dan Campbell said after the game of Goff. "He's playing really good football for us."
Goff completed passes to 10 different receivers led by Amon-Ra St. Brown, who finished with 12 receptions for 124 yards and a 27-yard touchdown. Goff was terrific on third down, kept drives alive with tight window throws all game, and did a good job for 60 minutes getting the offense into the right plays against one of the better defenses in the NFL.
"If (Goff) keeps playing the way he's playing the sky is the limit for us," St. Brown said about his quarterback after the game.
SECOND DOWN: DEFENSE DELIVERS
To only give up six points really says something about just how good Detroit's defense is playing right now.
"Aaron Glenn has done a hell of a job with that staff," Campbell said. "And our players have bought in."
They certainly have. Detroit extended their streak of holding opponents under 100 yards rushing to six games to start the season, holding Tampa Bay to just 46 Sunday. Detroit came in as the league's No. 3 rush defense allowing on average 68.3 yard per game on the ground.
The Bucs had just 251 yards of total offense and were 2-of-12 on third down. Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield completed just around 50 percent of his passes as the Lions' pass rush was able to speed up his clock and get him off his spot. The defense also forced a takeaway deep in Bucs' territory (Will Harris INT) that led to points.
Overall, this defense deserves a lot of credit for Detroit's 5-1 start. They've played terrific in all five of Detroit's wins this season.
THIRD DOWN: CONFIDENCE BUILDER
St. Brown said he and second-year wide receiver Jameson Williams were talking on the sideline early in the third quarter and Williams mentioned to St. Brown he couldn't believe he didn't have a target up to that point in the game.
"I told him just to wait because it's going to come when you least expect it," St. Brown said of the conversation.
Not long after Williams caught his first pass, a 10-yard hitch along the left sideline, but it was late in the third quarter when Williams would make arguably the biggest play of the game. Leading 10-6 at the time, Williams got behind the Bucs' defense and Goff found him for a 45-yard touchdown on a terrific catch where Williams had to adjust to an under-thrown football.
"It was a great catch by him. Probably not a great throw," Goff said. "It's good as a quarterback when you can miss a throw a little bit and a guy is able to make a play like that for a touchdown. It doesn't get much better."
The touchdown gave the Lions all the breathing room they needed on the scoreboard, and it has to give Williams a ton of confidence moving forward. He said after the game he was happy it gave the team a spark. That's what his speed can bring to this offense. It was good to see it show up in just his second game back from a four-game suspension to start the year, and now teams have to prepare for it.
View photos from the Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 6 game at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 15 in Tampa, FL.
FOURTH DOWN: ROAD WARRIORS
A win Sunday, coupled with losses by previously undefeated San Francisco and Philadelphia, means at 5-1 the Lions are tied for the best record in the NFL. A big catalyst behind the start has been their ability to go on the road at Kansas City, Green Bay and now Tampa Bay and come away with a 3-0 road record.
"If you are going to be a good team in this league you have to win on the road," Campbell said. "We know that. They understand that. And I think they look forward to it. I really do."
It's certainly easier to play on the road when Lions fans have been traveling as well as they have in three road trips. Campbell said he and the coaching staff couldn't believe the sea of blue when they walked out of the tunnel. He said the fans got so loud late in the game he thought Tampa Bay might have had to go to a silent count on some of their third-down plays.
Detroit's 3-0 road start is the first since they went 3-0 to start the 2011 season.