The Detroit Lions were able to create eight explosive plays against the Washington Commanders.
For an offense to be able to move the football and score 30 or more points in consecutive games, all the moving parts on a play have to be in sync, and players must be willing to block for their teammates.
Quarterback Jared Goff has been able to toss two or more touchdown passes at Ford Field in six consecutive games, a franchise record and the longest active streak in the NFL.
A review of the game indicates a team willing to engage with its opponent (even young players, like wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown).
Following Detroit's 36-27 victory over the Commanders, Goff expressed just how much the emphasis on blocking this offseason has paid dividends.
"It’s been a point of emphasis for us for sure. Through training camp, from Ben (Johnson) is blocking downfield after the catch, blocking downfield, continuing the play, making you keep going," said Goff. "And, that right there, like you said with T.J. (Hockenson) on (D’Andre) Swift’s -- that caused the touchdown. And like (Quintez) Cephus caused the 50 -- whatever yard gain for (Amon-Ra) St. Brown there. So, I think when you see it work and you see, ‘OK, the coaches are telling me something that actually makes sense,’ and it’s working. It really multiplies itself, and you gain that momentum of trusting it and believing it, and really becomes who you are.”
Detroit's entire offensive unit, including its key offensive weapons, has made it a point of emphasis to block for its teammates.
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Swift and the running game have been able to average over seven yards per attempt, with the team having three runs of over 50 yards in two games.
Last season, the Lions had a total of one rush of 50 or more yards.
“Well, it is all the difference in the world. I remember there was about a three-or-four-year period there where I used to do explosive runs. I did a study at the end of the year, and it was always two things: the running back and receivers blocking downfield," said Dan Campbell Monday. "Those were the two things that were the common denominator in having those explosive runs.
"I’ve been on both. I’ve been around guys that are pretty good receivers. But, man, they get after it in the run game, and it changes the attitude of your team. It just does, because those offensive linemen, man, they appreciate that. And, the defense appreciates it, there’s a toughness to it. So, and we’ve got it here and look, I think our coaches have done a great job."
The Lions are making a concerted effort to find players who are gritty and willing to do the little things to make plays work.
"It’s an emphasis for us, and they take ownership in it -- it’s a right of passage here," Campbell said. “But, I credit (Amon-Ra St. Brown) Saint and (Kalif Raymond) Leaf for that, too, man. I think they set the tone in that room with that, and it’s expected, all those guys and they’ve all bought in. I mean, Josh Reynolds is blocking guys, (DJ) Chark’s blocking guys. I mean, they’re all doing it. So, it’s a good room. I think it can be taught, but I think also it’s like, to an extent, we’ve got the right guys, if that makes sense.”