Lions Look: Sunday Night Stunner

Wins for a new head coach don't get much bigger.

Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia entered Week 3 with a team that was 0-2, a defense dead last in the league in total yardage surrendered and points allowed, an offensive run game no where near established as promised, and special teams struggling to get on track.

The tonic to cure these ills would be playing... The New England Patriots? On Sunday Night Football, no less?

But it happened. The Lions, a team looking lost the first two weeks of the young season, defeated the Patriots 26-10 in front of a national broadcast television audience on NBC. This would be the first win for Patricia as Detroit's coach & the team's first win on Sunday Night since primetime games were telecast on the Peacock Network. But what was so remarkable was the fact that this was not the venerated Patriots, arguably the greatest NFL dynasty ever, slipping on the proverbial banana peel and the Lions pulling lucky. It was a wire to wire victory, one that the host in Detroit would never relinquish the lead. It would be an exercise in dominance. By the Lions, of all the teams. It was an incredible performance. On top of a 16 point margin of victory, the Lions carried a 2 to 1 advantage or better over the Patriots in first downs (25-12), total yards (414-209), and time of possession (39:15 to 20:45). And, for the record, Detroit's Kerryon Johnson became the first Lions rusher to eclipse 100 yards in a game (16 carries, 101 yards) in 70 games, the equivalent of nearly 4 1/2 years of games. This was a textbook example of how to beat many teams in the NFL; control the clock, minimize mistakes, and capitalize on opportunities.

The New York Jets game in Week 1 showed the depths that the Lions can sink; predictable on offense, struggling to win battles on defense, and utterly disorganized on special teams. This game against the league's gold standard showed the heights these Lions are capable, playing a balanced offense and an effective defense in tandem. After such a great game, it will be interesting how the Lions respond. And that game will be in Dallas against the Cowboys, who have looked uninspired as they have drudged on to a 1-2 opening mark. Detroit traditionally plays the Cowboys tough historically, but as we learned, every week is different, and you never know what to expect.