FIRST DOWN: GIBBS' BREAKOUT
Detroit Lions rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs had his breakout NFL moment on a national stage for Monday Night Football.
Carrying the load for the injured David Montgomery, Gibbs had a career-high 152 rushing yards on 26 carries (5.8 average) and a touchdown. His 27-yard touchdown run off the right side in the third quarter was a thing of beauty, showing off his vision and speed. Gibbs' performance Monday helped lead Detroit to a 26-14 win over the Las Vegas Raiders at Ford Field.
The skills that made Gibbs the No. 12 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft were on full display: Tough inside the tackle running, speed in space, breaking tackles, catching the football and accelerating past defenders. Gibbs did it all Monday. He also caught five passes for 37 yards.
"We wanted to get Gibbs going and we wanted to establish the run and you could tell he was feeling it," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said of his rookie running back. "Every week he's just gotten a little bit better and a little bit better. I thought last week was his best game and then this week he certainly surpassed that. I think the more he gains his own confidence in his own abilities in this league he's just going to continue to roll, and I think this was kind of the tip of the iceberg of what he's able to do."
With Montgomery potentially back in the lineup after the bye next week, it's shaping up like Detroit has a heck of a one-two punch in their backfield moving forward.
SECOND DOWN: DEFENSIVE BOUNCE-BACK
Detroit's defense got handed some humble pie by the Baltimore Ravens last week, and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn challenged his players on defense to be much better this week. Challenge accepted.
Detroit's defense bounced back in a big way Monday night holding the Las Vegas Raiders to just seven points on offense, 157 total yards and 1-for-9 on third down.
"It was big time, especially getting that pressure upfront," Lions veteran linebacker Alex Anzalone said. "Obviously a different challenge this week as far as who was at quarterback, but it was a good bounce-back game for us."
The Lions sacked Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo six times with Anzalone and defensive lineman Alim McNeill recording two apiece. They hit Garoppolo nine times total.
"I thought our defense played outstanding," Campbell said. "You play defense like that (you can beat anyone)."
THIRD DOWN: ROOKIE RECORD
Tight end Sam LaPorta continues to have a marvelous rookie season. His six first-half receptions Monday gave him 41 on the season which establishes a new franchise record for the most receptions in a season by a Lions rookie tight end, passing the previous record of 40 receptions by Hall of Fame tight end Charlie Sanders in 1968.
LaPorta finished Monday with eight receptions to give him 43 on the season, and he had 57 yards and a touchdown. He continues to impress and is a big part of this offense in both the passing game and the run game.
Tight ends don't come into this league and perform as consistently as LaPorta has through the first two months of the season. It says a lot about him and the work he puts in. The exciting thing for the Lions is that he's still so young with so much room to grow.
View photos from the Las Vegas Raiders vs. Detroit Lions Week 8 game at Ford Field on Monday, Oct. 30 in Detroit, MI.
FOURTH DOWN: O-LINE SHUFFLE
The Lions have dealt with injuries upfront along their offensive line all season. Monday was their seventh different starting five combination in eight games and a completely new trio inside starting together.
With Halapoulivaati Vaitai still nursing a back injury, the Lions started rookie Colby Sorsdal at one of the guard spots. Kayode Awosika started at the other guard spot with Graham Glasgow moving over to center to replace the injured Frank Ragnow, who was inactive with a calf injury. When Awosika left in the third quarter with cramping, Dan Skipper stepped in.
Even with all that movement upfront and new guys playing together, the Lions put up nearly 500 yards of offense against the Raiders and rushed for a season-high 222 yards.
"Shout out to (offensive line coach) Hank (Fraley) and (offensive coordinator) Ben (Johnson) and everyone in that coaching staff on offense," Lions right tackle Penei Sewell said after the game. "They really challenged us and I think we took it personal just because we have guys hurt and it was a little different lineup than we expected at all going into the season. We just took that to heart and came out here and went to work."
Lions quarterback Jared Goff was sacked just once Monday night.