The Detroit Lions came into Week 13 seeking to prove they belonged in the conversation as a young, emerging team.
The buzz surrounding the game took off after it was announced Jameson Williams would be making his NFL debut.
Having gone 3-1 in November, Detroit started December impressively, putting together multiple scoring drives early to gain the early momentum against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Detroit took advantage of its strengths offensively, on its way to a 40-14 home victory over the upstart Jaguars.
Jamaal Williams opened the scoring early, as Detroit used a solid first half to propel itself to a victory in front of its home fans.
Detroit's offense scored points on each of its five first-half possessions.
Detroit (5-7) will play its third consecutive game at Ford Field, against the Minnesota Vikings, in Week 14.
Jameson Williams has quiet debut
As expected, Detroit's rookie wideout did not see the field all that much before the game got out of hand.
While Detroit's second of two first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft received a significant amount of attention prior to the game, Jameson Williams did not have an opportunity to showcase his full skillset against the Jaguars.
Detroit's coaching staff has normally brought along young players slowly, so it was not terribly surprising that Williams was not among its featured offensive weapons this week.
Playing behind Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark, along with Detroit's talented running backs, it may take some time before Williams racks up significant numbers on the stat sheet.
Late in the third quarter, Jared Goff took a shot for Williams down the sideline, but the attempt fell incomplete.
Defense sets the tone early
The Lions' defense has been opportunistic all season, forcing turnovers at a stellar rate.
All week, the emphasis has been on maintaining the same intensity and effort on defense, even though the Lions did not stop the Bills on their final drive on Thanksgiving.
To start the game, Lions veteran safety DeShon Elliott forced a turnover, as Jaguars running back Travis Etienne had the football ripped from his possession.
Detroit quickly capitalized, and marched down the field to open up the scoring.
Jamaal Williams recorded his 14th rushing touchdown of the season, to cap off a seven-play, 38-yard drive that gave Detroit a 7-0 lead.
DJ Chark gets his revenge
Detroit's top free-agent acquisition has struggled to remain healthy in his first season in Motown.
Playing against his old team, Chark surely wanted to prove the Jaguars made a mistake not retaining his services.
“I needed a change in scenery,” Chark told reporters this week. “Coming up here, just bringing my family up here, meeting new people, I’ve learned a lot in this however many months I’ve been here. Great people, so I think obviously like I said, it was tough with the missing games and being out so long, but I definitely was able to get my swag definitely in training camp and those first few games, and I’m starting to feel better and better now.”
Early in the game, quarterback Jared Goff and Chark connected on a 41-yard pass play that set up Detroit's second touchdown of the afternoon.
Jared Goff takes advantage of returning offensive weapons
With a variety of fans being caught up in the excitement of Jameson Williams making his NFL debut, other members of Detroit's offense went under the radar Sunday.
Amon-Ra St. Brown continues to show why he is among the most reliable offensive players in the league.
Midway through the second quarter, St. Brown was targeted on five occasions, and recorded four receptions and a touchdown.
Goff came in looking to take advantage of a defense still working through its own issues.
To start the game, Goff completed eight-of-nine passing attempts for 101 yards and a touchdown.
The veteran signal-caller has now tossed a touchdown at Ford Field in 11 consecutive games.
Additionally, D'Andre Swift, who had been used sparingly in recent weeks, showcased why the Lions still have faith in his abilities.
He was targeted often in the passing game Sunday, and scored on the ground once, on 10-plus carries.
John Cominsky is underrated member of defense
One of the underrated waiver claims made by Detroit general manager Brad Holmes prior to the season was the acquisition of defensive lineman John Cominsky.
Earlier in the season, his absence greatly impacted the defensive line.
Cominsky underwent surgery on his hand at the end of September, and returned against the Cowboys in Week 7.
On Sunday against the Jaguars, Cominsky quickly recognized a draw play, and limited the damage, which forced the Jaguars to punt.
Early in the second quarter, he also had a batted pass that forced another punt.