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O'HARA: What we learned from Week 11

The Detroit Lions are building their roster with young players who they expect to be foundation pieces for the future.

There is one addition that isn't always part of the rebuilding formula.

They have young players who are contributing now in a major way.

That's one of the things we learned again in the Lions' 31-18 win over the New York Giants Sunday.

Among the other things we learned include the following: Head coach Dan Campbell has shown in recent games that he doesn't always go for it on fourth down; the Lions of this point in the season can be more exciting scoring fewer points than the Lions of earlier in the season who were among the league leaders in points scored, and the team that shows up and competes on Sunday doesn't always match expectations.

We start with the Lions' young defenders:

It would be overstating the obvious to say that defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson and safety Kerby Joseph are not one-hit wonders in their contributions to the Lions' defense.

Both have made significant contributions in the Lions' three-game winning streak in what has been an impressive team effort. Hutchinson has started all 10 games. Joseph has played in all 10 with seven starts.

Against the Packers, Hutchinson had an interception in the red zone, two assisted tackles and a pass defended. Joseph had 10 total tackles – five solo, five assisted – two interceptions and three passes defended.

Against the Bears, Hutchinson had eight solo tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass rush on Bears QB Justin Fields that helped make him rush a throw that was intercepted by cornerback Jeff Okudah and returned for a touchdown. Joseph had seven total tackles, five of them solos.

Against the Giants, Hutchinson had an interception, a fumble recovery, a pass defended and three total tackles. Joseph had three solo tackles, an interception with a 38-yard return and a pass defended.

Making points: In the last two games, Campbell had a choice on the first possession of whether to go for it on fourth down or take the sure three points with a field goal.

He took the points both times.

It wasn't a hard decision two weeks ago against the Bears. The Lions faced fourth and four, and the Bears already had kicked a field goal on the opening possession to take a 3-0 lead. The Lions tied it with the field goal.

It wasn't as clear cut against the Giants. The defense had forced a punt, and the Lions had fourth and two. Campbell took the points again for a 3-0 lead.

We should have learned not to assume Campbell will go for it on fourth down, especially when he's expecting a tight game. That was the case in a 31-30 win over the Bears, but ultimately not in the win over the Giants.

Showtime: The Lions' offense put on a good show, averaging 35 points a game in the first four games. That didn't do much for where it counts on the bottom line.

The Lions were 1-3 and headed for a 1-6 start.

In the last three games, the Lions have averaged 25.67 points a game, with a low of 15 vs. the Packers and 31 against the Bears and Giants.

Judging by the reaction at Ford Field for the wins over Washington and Green Bay, they like scoring points but they love winning.

Maybe they can get a taste of both on Thanksgiving Day.

Expectations: Based on the Giants' 7-2 won loss record and the reputation they'd built so soon under first-year head coach Brian Daboll, I might have expected the Lions were facing a combination of the 1962 Green Bay Packers and this season's Kansas City Chiefs.

Instead, we got a version of the Giants of recent seasons who couldn't get to .500.

The Lions held star running back Saquon Barkley to 22 yards rushing on 15 carries. Quarterback Daniel Jones, who had only two interceptions in the first nine games, was intercepted twice.

The Lions held the Giants to 80 yards rushing and pounded them for 160 and four rushing TDs.

Things happen ... on any given Sunday.

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