It would be less than accurate to say that the Detroit Lions have a go-to man on their offense, and that's a good thing.
They have two go-to players, and that's an even more lethal combination.
That's what we learned Sunday in the Lions' 36-27 win over the Washington Commanders. For the second straight week, running back D’Andre Swift beat a defense with his legs first and then his hands, and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown did it with his hands first, then his legs.
Among the other things we learned Sunday include the following: One game of experience proved to be invaluable for two rookie defensive players; the "next man up" mantra was tripled to what might have been a breaking point on the offensive line but wasn't; and with very little fanfare – if any -- Jared Goff is off to a good start in his second season as quarterback of the Lions.
We start with the go-to duo:
Swift and St. Brown were the dominant offensive players for the Lions Sunday, just as they were in the opener against the Eagles.
In that game, Swift had 15 carries for 144 yards with a long run of 50 yards and one TD. He also had three catches for 31 yards, with a long reception of 25 yards.
Playing with a sore ankle against Washington, his production dropped – five carries for 56 yards with a long run of 50 yards, and three catches for 31 yards with a long reception of 22 yards for a vital TD late in the third quarter.
St. Brown had eight catches for 64 yards and a TD in the opener. He put the pedal down against the Commanders.
He had nine catches for 116 yards and two TDs, with a long reception of 49 yards. On the ground, he ran twice for 68 yards, with a sizzling end around that shredded the Commanders for 58 yards.
The two-game totals for the Swift-St. Brown duo -- 510 yards from scrimmage and five TDs -- reads like something a team might gain in two games, let alone two players.
"Any time your running back is a guy who can do both and is an explosive athlete who can do both and can hurt you in the run and pass game – that's trouble for a defense," said head coach Dan Campbell.
"It gives you a lot of flexibility offensively. On top of that, Saint's got the ability to play a little of that in the backfield, which we haven't really tapped into just yet. Those two guys are pretty dynamic players for us."
Getting up to speed: It's two games for the Lions' two rookie starters on defense, but the difference in how linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez and defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson played against the Commanders compared to the opener against the Eagles was apparent.
The speed of a regular-season game is unlike anything either had experienced before.
Rodriguez had six tackles with a tackle for loss against the Eagles. Hutchinson had one assisted tackle.
Against the Commanders, Rodriguez tied for the team lead with eight tackles and had one hit on QB Carson Wentz. Hutchinson had three sacks, two tackles for loss and two hits on Wentz.
More to come for both.
Three men up: In terms of pure talent, what the Lions accomplished with backups starting at all three interior positions on the offensive line shows in many cases the thin margin that separates starters from backups in the NFL
On the offensive line in particular, it showed the chemistry that is stronger than for most other positions.
Goff, on target: With six touchdown passes against one interception, Goff is picking up where he left off at the end of last season.
In his last five games he had 11 TD passes against two interceptions. That gives him 17 TD passes and three interceptions in his last seven games.