Senior Writer, Detroit Lions
When asked this week about facing the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field on Sunday, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell said he thought the two teams were mirror images of one another.
Both teams are young, building a culture under new coaching staffs, had 11 one-score losses on the year between them, and came in with identical 4-7 records.
But on this day, Detroit was clearly the more dominant football team.
The Lions raced out to a double-digit lead early and were on cruise control from there for a 40-14 win at home for their fourth victory in the last five contests. They improve to 5-7 on the season.
Detroit’s offense scored on their first eight possessions of the game (TD, TD, FG, FG, FG, TD, FG, TD). The only possession they didn’t score on was the final one with a couple kneel downs to end the game.
Detroit racked up 31 first downs and had 437 total yards of offense. Detroit scored 30-plus points for the sixth time this season, just one off the franchise record set in 2011.
Detroit’s defense played pretty darn well too, holding Jacksonville to 266 total yards, which is well below their season average per game (359.5).
Detroit jumped out to a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Williams and a 10-yard pass from quarterback Jared Goff to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. Williams’ touchdown was his 14th of the season, two shy of Barry Sanders’ franchise record of 16 in a single season.
Three Michael Badgley field goals in the second quarter (45, 42, 38) extended the Lions’ lead to 23-6 at halftime.
Detroit took the opening possession of the second half 61 yards in 10 plays capped off by a D’Andre Swift 1-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 30-6.
Jacksonville trimmed the lead to 30-14 with a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trevor Lawrence to tight end Evan Engram and a two-point conversion run by Jamal Agnew.
Badgley’s fourth field goal on the day, this one from 44 yards early in the fourth quarter, extended the Lions’ lead to 33-14.
Detroit punctuated the blowout win with a 4-yard pass from Goff to St. Brown with less than three minutes remaining.
Goff was extremely efficient in this one, completing 31-of-41 passes for 340 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 115.9 passer rating. Goff has produced his third 300-yard game of the season and threw a touchdown pass in his 11th straight game at Ford Field.
Lawrence completed 17 of his 31 passes with one touchdown and no interceptions for an 82.6 rating. He also chipped in 32 rushing yards before being pulled late with the game out of hand.
The Lions won the coin toss to begin the game and elected to defer so they could get the second half kick. It turned out to be a great decision. Jacksonville turned the ball over on their first possession of the game on a Travis Etienne fumble caused by safety DeShon Elliott and recovered by linebacker Alex Anzalone. The Lions capitalized with the Williams touchdown.
Detroit was then able to put together an 11-play drive right before the end of the first half capped off by a Badgley 38-yard field goal. They received the second-half kick and scored with the Swift touchdown. That was 10 points on back-to-back possessions to help give the Lions a big third-quarter cushion.