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O'HARA: What we learned from Week 14

The path in the playoff race has taken the Detroit Lions on a winding tour with many stops and challenges that have to be navigated to stay in the race.

The Lions have met those challenges in a positive way that has made them stronger as they have played through their schedule game by game and week by week.

That's one of the things we have learned about the Lions. They have been able to adapt and thrive in this period where they have won five of their last six games to strengthen their position in the playoff race with a 6-7 won-loss record with four games left.

"We've been better every week," head coach Dan Campbell said at his Monday press conference.

Among the other things we've learned include the following: The Lions are getting national recognition in recent weeks for good reason; and they have benefitted from their running back rotation.

We start with the Lions' ability to adapt:

The Lions have won road games, beaten teams that were on hot streaks and bounced back from a defeat to the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving Day that could have crushed their morale.

The Lions' reaction to that loss was telling: They had convincing wins over the Jaguars and Vikings in the last two games.

What is in the Lions' makeup that has given them their resilience?

"Everything we talked about," Campbell said. "The things we do in practice. The things we've been preaching for weeks. Stay the course.

"And I think you learn. I said it before. When it doesn't go your way and you don't learn from it, it's a problem.

"If you're able to continue to learn from your errors, the things you can get better at, you'll always grow."

National view: The Lions are getting national attention, and it's for the best reason – they're winning.

"They are hot and fired up," Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy said on NBC's Football Night in America show Sunday night.

Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms was more expansive in his comments on the offense.

"Jared Goff is having the best year of his career," Simms said. "They find ways to get aggressive passes down the field every week. They've got talent and speed on the outside, and they've got a creative, physical running game to go along with it.

"They're hard to defend, and they make you defend the whole field.

"That's what good offenses do."

Running back rotation: The Lions could not have spread the running back workload much more evenly than they did Sunday.

Jamaal Williams, D’Andre Swift and Justin Jackson all contributed, as follows:

Williams: 26 snaps, 16 carries, 37 yards.

Swift: 25 snaps, six carries, 21 yards; 3 receptions, 18 yards.

Jackson: 20 snaps, four carries, 19 yards and one TD on a 15-yard run; 1 reception for 12 yards.

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