The Detroit Lions gave another showing of the character they have developed that carries them through the inevitable rough spots they encounter on their road to building a winning team.
One week after their worst performance of the season – a 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers – the Lions bounced back in a big way with a 41-10 win over the Chicago Bears at Ford Field.
It may not carry them to a playoff berth in the tangled possibilities to earn a wind card berth, but it showed again the character and resolve this team has developed.
"We're all good," said veteran running back Jamaal Williams. "Everybody has those types of games.
"You just don't have them at the wrong time."
This week's Monday Countdown looks at the Lions' comeback from the previous week's debacle, and head coach Dan Campbell's faith that his team and staff would react that way.
There's also a look at the running game, which was rejuvenated, and the contribution the rookies made on defense.
There are also takeaways on offense, defense and special teams, what's trending and the bottom line.
We start with Campbell's faith:
1. The comeback: No question, the way the Lions' folded up early against the Panthers was unexpected – and untimely. It meant they no longer had control of their destiny in the playoff race.
And more than that, it raised questions about the Lions' ability to survive in a playoff race.
The Bears had early leas of 7-0 and 10-7 – mostly because of Justin Fields' running ability – before the Lions clicked into gear and ran away with the game.
The Lions dominated the game on offense and defense throughout the final three quarters.
Campbell had predicted that the team would bounce back, and that was the case.
"I knew we would because of the guys we have on this team," he said. "It looked like we were ready to go. It looked like we were more physical.
"I was proud of them."
2. The intro: Campbell is a master at motivating players, and he doesn't stick to standard methods.
Sunday's game was an example of that.
The pregame introductions are pretty much standard stuff. Either the starting offensive or defensive unit is introduced. Campbell changed it up and introduced the linemen on offense and defense.
It was a hit for players.
"I've never been the last one out of the tunnel," said offensive tackle Taylor Decker, who's finishing up his seventh season as a Lion.
"It looked like we were ready to go. It looked like we were more physical. I was proud of it. It was pretty cool.
"We know the staff and this organization puts a premium on the offensive and defensive lines. It's cool for me to be a part of that.
"To go out there and perform today, it was very cool. That's what you want, man."
3. Young defense, fast legs:
The pass rush has picked up in the second half of the season, and it was active Sunday, producing seven sacks with a lot of the work being done by rookies.
Linebacker James Houston, a sixth-round pick, led the way with three sacks. Defensive lineman Josh Paschal, a second-round pick, had two sacks.
Defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, drafted second overall, combined with veteran safety Ifeatu Melifonwu for a sack.
Veteran John Cominsky earned a full sack when he ran down quarterback Justin Fields from behind.
4. Takeaways, offense:
- Run game rejuvenated: The Lions planned to run – and they ran well: 144 yards for Jamaal Williams, 78 for D’Andre Swift and 40 for rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams on a 40-yard end around.
- Armed: Another big game for quarterback Jared Goff – 255 yards, three TDs and a passer rating of 133.5.
- Double duty: Swift didn't just run the ball well. He also also had four catches for 39 yards and a TD to go with his one rushing TD.
- In the zones: The Lions converted four of six trips to the red zone for TDs and were 3 for 3 in goal to go.
5. Takeaways, defense:
- Stoppers: Fields had another big stats game, rushing for 132 yards, but 60 of those were on one run, and he was pretty much held in check after that. Still, he's a remarkable player who has a bright future.
- TE TDs: Tight ends continue to be receiving specialists for the Lions. Brock Wright had three catches, with two going for TDs. That makes 12 TDs for Lions TEs this season.
- Three-and-outs: The Bears' offense was held to seven straight three and outs, from the second quarter to early in the fourth.
6. Takeaways, special teams:
- Lions' returns: Quiet day. Kalif Raymond returned three punts for a total of 16 yards. All three of Chicago's kickoffs were touchbacks.
- Punting: A good day for Jack Fox – three punts, 150 total yards, 59-yard gross average and 46.7 net.
- Up: Jamaal Williams. 44 yards rushing gave him 994 for the season and six short of his first 1,000-yard season. Typically, he said: "I want the dub first." The dub is a win at Green Bay.
- Down: Sweating out watching the scoreboard to see if the Lions can get the final playoff spot.
- Even: The Lions. Seven wins in their last nine games.
8. Bottom line: The Lions put on good shows, even in defeat, and their fans responded.
Looking forward to 2023.