Detroit's offense was without one of their best players Sunday in St. Brown (abdomen injury) and without one of their most explosive players in Gibbs, but the Lions still put up 42 points on six touchdowns with 377 yards of total offense in a 42-24 win over Carolina that improved their record to 4-1 on the season.
What Sunday showed is Detroit has good depth on offense and a number of weapons they feel really comfortable letting step to the forefront when needed.
"We have to assume we're going to lose a significant amount of our starters every year," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said. "That's the assumption. Now, what do we do with the guys that we have on this roster? How do we utilize them? Look, we're doing a good job at it."
Josh Reynolds caught four passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. Kalif Raymond had a big catch on the first play of the game and finished with 45 receiving yards on three catches. Marvin Jones Jr. had a couple nice catches. And rookie tight end Sam LaPorta continued his fine play with two touchdowns on three catches for 47 yards. All that to go along with another 100-yard rushing performance from running back David Montgomery.
The famous line in football is that it's not a matter of if injuries are going to happen but when. How teams are able to navigate through them and have others step up in big moments can make the difference between the teams playing meaningful football in December and January and those who aren't.
"Make plays. It's tough to lose a guy like Saint and not have him," Reynolds said after the game. "But we pride ourselves in being able to make plays top-down in the receiving room. That's what we did."
We've seen the same thing develop on Detroit's defense with defensive backs Tracy Walker, Ifeatu Melifonwu and Will Harris. Detroit's depth has been tested early on and they're proving to be a very deep football team.
Third-year cornerback Jerry Jacobs produced his third interception over the last two games becoming the first Lions cornerback to log three-plus interceptions in a two-game span since Darius Slay in 2017.
Jacobs did a nice job showing a certain look at the line of scrimmage and dropping out of it into zone and baiting Panthers quarterback Bryce Young to throw his way. Jacobs made a terrific play on the ball and returned the interception to the Carolina 31-yard line where Detroit's offense scored on their first play following the pick for a 28-7 lead.
"I take a lot (of pride) in my craft at practice," Jacobs said. "I practice hard so I can come out here and play like that. Every game – every week I'm just trying to be better. Just try to show not even the fans, just show everyone in the world that like – I'm like that man. I'm going to keep going. I got that dog in me."
Lions fans got their first glimpse of second-year wide receiver Jameson Williams this season after he had his gambling suspension reduced. Williams caught two passes for a yard, dropped a pass and was pretty good as a run blocker, helping to spring Montgomery on his 42-yard touchdown run.
"Man, I just wanted to get him back on the grass," Campbell said. "Get him lined up, get him some runs, gave him a couple opportunities in the pass game and now we just grow from there. Let's get him acclimated back in and he'll get some more plays next week and we'll just continue to let him grow."
Campbell said the knee injury suffered by cornerback Emmanuel Moseley on a non-contact play didn't look good but they'll know more after an MRI Monday morning.