Although the Detroit Lions have made some big plays in clutch time to get to 2-1, the team’s coaching staff is hoping that will not always be necessary.
The Detroit Lions, are 2-1 through the first three games of the 2017 NFL regular season. And it’s been their resilience and ability to make big plays that has helped them stay atop the NFC North in a three-way tie for first with the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers.
In Week One, an opening matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, it was a 45-yard touchdown reception by rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay in the fourth quarter that really broke the game wide open, after the Lions trialed 17-15 going into the final frame.
In Week Two, it was an 88-yard punt return by defensive back Jamal Agnew in the fourth quarter that sealed the Lions 24-10 victory over the New York Giants, putting the game out of reach late.
And last weekend, in a heartbreaking loss to the Atlanta Falcons, it was a pick-six by safety Glover Quin in the second quarter that kept the Lions in the contest when their offense sputtered.
So Detroit’s success this season has been due, in large part, to being able to make those big plays. And that fact is something that hasn’t been lost to the Lions’ coaching staff, as they are now working on trying to insure that the team’s success isn’t reliant on those big plays alone. But rather sound fundamentals.
"“No mistake that the Lions on Wednesday went out for practice in pads and hit,” wrote Albert Breer for SI.com recently. “Detroit’s been able to cover up some fundamental issues with big plays over the season’s first three weeks, so the staff’s intention is to get blocking and tackling and ball-handling back where it needs to be.”"
Being smart with the ball, controlling the clock, extending drives, limiting mistakes, making tackles and not turning over the ball are all calling cards of a playoff caliber team. Surely, the Detroit Lions coaching staff are hoping these are the qualities that help their club win ballgames this season. But it surely doesn’t hurt to have those big plays in your back pocket when you need them.