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O'HARA'S MONDAY COUNTDOWN: Lions show they're talented, tough & resilient

The line forms wherever the Detroit Lions stand to identify the teams that are legitimate contenders.

They made another statement Sunday that they are a team to be reckoned with in a 20-6 road victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

They are talented, tough and resilient – all qualities that are found in winners.

The win was the Lions' fourth straight to make their won-loss record 5-1. That tied them with the Eagles and 49ers for the best records in the NFC.

Stats don't tell the whole story. This week's Monday Countdown looks at how the Lions have overcome some adversity, how one play that did not appear on the stats sheet made an impact and how another that made the stats sheet did too.

There are also takeaways on offense, defense and special teams, what's trending and the bottom line.

We start with head coach Dan Campbell's assessment of his team's performance.

1. Playing hard: The Lions have done that win or lose since the day Campbell took over as head coach in 2021.

The reward for that hard work is winning games.

"We've been playing pretty good football now for four weeks straight," Campbell said in a postgame interview on 97.1. "This is a sign of things being done the right way.

"It's a sign of players being disciplined and believing in the plan and putting in the work. They keep earning it.

"We're playing pretty violent and disciplined football."

2. Big hit: Running back Craig Reynolds made it with a thunderous block in the second quarter. It was 3-3, and the Lions faced a third and 13 situation with the ball at the Bucs' 27 yard line.

Quarterback Jared Goff hit wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown with a pass over the middle that was likely to gain a first down, but the Lions got a lot more – thanks in large part to Reynolds.

He threw a punishing block that freed St. Brown down the right sideline. St. Brown sprinted to the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown.

That gave the Lions a 10-3 lead that they never surrendered. More than that, it showed who was in charge of the game.

"That's Craig," Campbell said. "He's reliable. He's steady. He's going to be there for you."

3. Big catch: Wide receiver Jameson Williams made it, and it came at a good time for him and the Lions.

A 45-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter increased the lead to 17-6. It was a big catch by Williams at a big moment.

Williams turned twice to locate the ball and make the catch. That wasn't the only part of the catch that pleased Campbell.

"It was huge," Campbell said. "I was so proud of Goff seeing it, throwing it. He trusted his speed. He let it go. For Jamo to track that ball and come away with a big one, that's got to do wonders for his confidence"

4. Takeaways, offense:

  • QB: Another big game for Goff, with two TD passes, no turnovers and 353 yards passing.
  • WR: St. Brown had 12 catches out of 15 targets for 124 yards and the TD.
  • RB: It was a struggle when David Montgomery went out early with a rib injury. The Lions kept trying – and wound up with 40 yards on 22 carries.

5. Takeaways, defense:

  • Second chances: There weren't many for the Bucs' offense. They converted only two of 12 third downs.
  • On the run: The Bucs went nowhere – 16 carries for 46 yards.
  • Passing game: Bucs QB Baker Mayfield missed some open receivers on deep balls. The Lions held him to a passer rating of 56.8 compared to Goff's passer rating of 107.5. The Lions seem to win that matchup every week.

View photos from the Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 6 game at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 15 in Tampa, FL.

6. Takeaways, special teams:

  • Short returns: The Bucs returned three kickoffs for an average of 18.3 yards – with a long return of 20 yards. That was good coverage by the Lions.
  • Going long: Jack Fox had his first punt of the year go into the end zone for a touchback.

7. Trending:

  • Up: Linebackers Alex Anzalone and Jack Campbell had a big day. They combined for 16 tackles – nine by Anzalone, seven by Campbell.
  • Down: Any team that tries to run against the Lions. Prepare to go nowhere.
  • Even: Goff. Never seems to be out of control.

8. Bottom line: No more wondering about where the Lions stand. They belong with the NFL's best.

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