The Detroit Lions managed a solid day offensively against the Atlanta Falcons, and it might be more impressive considering what was missing up front.
Already down Taylor Decker and Halapoulivaati Vaitai, the Lions started reserve tackle Matt Nelson. Quickly, Nelson exited injured, pressing Dan Skipper into duty. Skipper sustained a groin injury, and the situation looked desperate.
Calmly, the Lions inserted rookie Colby Sorsdal at tackle. Mostly, the plan was a success and didn't harm the offense.
After the game, Dan Campbell applauded the front office for supplying depth, and the players for stepping up.
"It's next man up, and that's a credit to Brad (Holmes) and the depth that we have on this team in areas and it's paying dividends. It's not easy for anybody, but those guys really stepped up and competed. That offensive line, they were making sure we were taking care of (Colby) Sorsdal and he battled out there, he really did. Backs ran hard and we did what we needed to do to control that game."
In spite of injuries, the Lions rushed for 115 yards against the Falcons. A Jared Goff rushing touchdown ended up icing the game. None of that could have happened if not for the reserve linemen steadying a tough situation.
Dan Campbell credits Ben Johnson for managing game plan
Without key pieces up front, it can be tough to dial up proper play calls. That's why Campbell was also impressed with Johnson's work.
Detroit's offense stayed the course, managing 358 yards and two touchdowns. Campbell highlighted offensive coordinator Ben Johnson for navigating a game plan around the injury-thinned line.
"When you lose a couple of tackles in a game, that's not easy. That's not easy for Ben (Johnson) to call a game like that when you're missing a few things here and there. I thought he did a heck of a job calling the game. I thought that (Jared) Goff stepped in there and made some big throws (and) played tough. I thought the backs ran hard and I thought the offensive line, they kept pounding away. Finally, we were able to break it open there at the end of the game."
In the past, an injury crisis up front could have sunk the Lions. Instead, they kept pushing and got the job done. It's a credit to the players and coaches.