When the Washington Commanders cut Detroit’s lead from 22 points to seven in the third quarter, a sense of doom creeped inside Ford Field.
Too often, fans had seen glimpses of joy erased by an opponent’s comeback. However, that was not to be Sunday. In this scenario, the Lions rolled to a 22-0 halftime advantage, but had seen it shrink to 22-15, after Carson Wentz tossed a score to Logan Thomas.
One play after Washington scored, Detroit wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown dashed 58 yards on a jet sweep. Running back D’Andre Swift, playing on an injured ankle, later recovered from a stumble on a screen pass, and dashed 22 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead back to two scores.
The ultimate result was a 36-27 win. Detroit’s offense scored two key second-half touchdowns, one from Swift and the other from St. Brown, to keep the surging Commanders at bay.
“You knew they were gonna be able to come back and do something, you knew they were gonna be able to do a little bit of something,” said head coach Dan Campbell. “That’s just the nature of this game, man, the ebbs and flows of it. And so, it wasn’t that, it was how we would respond to that, and I felt like we responded well to it. That’s what was good. They climbed back in within one (score), and we were able to answer back offensively. We kept that lead, we hung in there and we didn’t crumble. We didn’t let the stress and the pressure break us. We hung in there and finished the game.”
With the offense making plays when needed, the defense’s first-half dominance may go overshadowed. In the first two quarters, the unit pitched a shutout while recording a safety and forcing six punts.
“I thought our defense really set the tone,” Campbell said. “I mean, you go three-and-out, three-and-out, safety, three-and-out, three-and-out, forced punt, forced punt, that’s your first half. That gets you off to a pretty good start.”
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The Lions won their first game of the season despite a rash of injuries.
Campbell has been forced to navigate the team through a myriad of injuries throughout the regular season’s first two weeks.
Detroit played without three of its starting five offensive linemen, as well as cornerback Amani Oruwariye, in Sunday’s win over the Commanders.
Among the players dealing with issues after the Week 2 win are defensive linemen Aidan Hutchinson, John Cominsky and Charles Harris. Cominsky is getting checked out for a hand injury, but Hutchinson and Harris should be good to go heading into Week 3.
Hutchinson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, is dealing with soreness, after suffering a charley horse.
On the offensive line, the status of center Frank Ragnow and offensive guard Jonah Jackson is uncertain.
“Frank feels a little bit better today, we’ll see where that’s at,” Campbell said. “Jonah is probably relatively the same as he was two days ago, so it’s kind of day-to-day now.”
With Jackson specifically, he missed Sunday’s game with an injury to his right ring finger. His head coach admitted that the timeline for his recovery is relatively unknown.
“It’s just kinda take it as it is,” Campbell noted. “We’d like to see where he’s at Wednesday, maybe? See how it feels, see if it’s something he feels like he can function with. So, we just, we really won’t know until, it’ll be something where he feels like he can function with it and have success.”