Inside all the joy and relief and the celebration by the Detroit Lions for finally winning a game, the man it might have mattered most for wanted to take the least credit.
Head coach Dan Campbell stayed in character in processing what the Detroit Lions' 29-27 win over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday meant, the same as he did in the 10 losses and one tie that preceded it.
It was one for the team – the players – and the coaching staff. And yes, it meant something to him – but mostly because it means something to win a game in the National Football League.
This week's Monday Countdown looks at Campbell's reaction to his first win as head coach of the Lions. There is a learning point in there on what it means to lead a group of people in achieving a common goal.
There's also a look at how quarterback Jared Goff played his role to near perfection in the final drive, and how rookie linebacker Derrick Barnes made a key tackle on a two-point attempt.
There are also takeaways on offense, defense and special teams, what's trending and the bottom line – which provided another look into Campbell's coaching character and the value of winning.
We start with Campbell:
1. The team: Win or lose – or tie, for that matter – it's always been about the team and what the players have contributed that Campbell references most frequently.
That did not change in the emotion of the moment after Goff's TD pass to rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown for the game-winning score as time ran out.
It was outright delirium on the Lions' sideline that spilled onto the field and into the locker room to celebrate the win.
Campbell was as happy as anyone, but in his measured way.
"They fought," he said of the team. "They continued to fight all year, and it paid off today. And we found a way to win. We found a way to win when we needed it."
What does it mean?
"It means I'm happy for our guys. I'm proud of our guys. I'm happy for them. Of course I'm happy. I'm happy for the coaches. I'm happy for everybody.
"You want this so bad for the players because they're the ones who put in all the hard work and the blood and the sweat and the tears. We all do. So do the coaches.
"But that's what makes it great. When you lose, it hurts. It's hard. It's why winning is so great in this league, because it's not easy to do. You win, man it's special."
2. Goff's comeback: It was a day when his performance could not have been more different in the first half compared to the second.
He completed 13 of 17 passes for 185 yards, two TDs and a passer rating of 150 in leading the Lions to a 20-6 lead in the first half.
The second half was one to forget – except for the one minute and 50 seconds it took to complete the game-winning drive. He had an interception, and fumbled on a sack on a fourth-down play in the fourth quarter.
The final possession was different.
"What was most encouraging was, he found a couple of rough plays before that," Campbell said. "For him to rally back and drive us all the way down to make the game-winning throw, just step in there, stay in the pocket, and make something happen when we needed it most -- it says a lot about him.
"I'm happy for him."
3. Two-point stoppers: The Vikings went for two points after all three of their touchdowns and were foiled on all three.
Barnes made a standout play, tackling Vikings running back Alexander Mattison on a run after the Vikings' second TD.
It turned out to be a critical play, as were all three of the Vikings' two-pointers that failed.
Barnes took on a bigger role Sunday. He's been developing throughout the season, and his stop on the two-point run try was an example of that.
"You have to make big-time plays in critical situations like that," Barnes said. "Before that play, I told myself 'Why not me? Why can't I make the stop?'"
He could, and he did.
4. Takeaways, offense:
- Carrying the load: Running back Jamaal Williams took over with D'Andre Swift out with a knee injury and produced – 17 carries for 71 yards.
- Sprint: Running back Godwin Igwebuike gained 13 yards on his only play in the game-winning drive, but he ran twice that far – at least – to get out of bounds and stop the clock. It was a heads up play, the kind that helps win games.
- Third down: The Lions converted only two of twelve. It's a problem they're still working to solve.
5. Takeaways, defense:
- Stopper: Rookie cornerback Jerry Jacobs continues to impress. He made the stop on two third downs in the first half to end drives.
- Sack time: It was one of the better days for the Lions getting to the quarterback. They sacked Kirk Cousins three times and had eight hits. Outside linebacker Charles Harris led the way with two sacks and a forced fumble. He also had four QB hits.
- Hitsville: Five players had at least one of the Lions' eight quarterback hits.
6. Takeaways, special teams:
- "Jacked" up: No surprise, Jack Fox won the punting battle. He averaged 55.3 yards on three punts with a net average of 47.7. Jordan Berry averaged 44 yards on his three punts with a net of 37.3.
- Short yardage: On three punts and seven kickoffs, the only return the Lions had was a 30-yard kickoff return by Igwebuike.
- Up: St. Brown: 10 catches on 12 targets for 86 yards with the game-winning catch.
- Down: It can't be overlooked that the defense once again gave up the go-ahead TD on a long drive in the fourth quarter. This time, the offense rallied back to win the game.
- Even: It's not really even, but after losing three games on the last play – including one to the Vikings Week 5 – the Lions finally won a game on the last play.
8. Bottom line: Campbell has talked about learning to win at times during the season, and the Lions took a step in that direction.
"You gain confidence from a demonstrated ability to do it, and we demonstrated it today," he said. "That's the first step."