Over his first two seasons as Detroit Lions head coach, Dan Campbell went for it on fourth down a total of 78 times (41 successful). A mix of fake punts, be it passes by Jack Fox or direct snaps, and just general aggressiveness when it was often called for.
Thursday night's season opener against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs was certainly a game for Campbell and the Lions to leave nothing "in the bag", within reason of course. In the right situation, aggressiveness would be warranted.
The Lions' second offensive series looked to be a second straight third and out, after Jared Goff evaded pressure and made a throw to Marvin Jones just short of the sticks. More room for Fox to punt comfortably was helpful, 4th-and-2 at your own 17, punt it away and move on.
Not so fast.
Campbell gave the go-ahead for a fake punt, and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (?) took the direct snap three yards to convert the first down.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell makes gutsy call for fake punt (video)
Here's what the play looked like.
After the successful fake punt, the Lions proceeded to go the remaining 80 yards on 10 plays, capped by a touchdown pass from Jared Goff to Amon-Ra St. Brown to take the lead.
The Chiefs answered with a long touchdown drive of their own to tie the score at 7. But the Lions' offense got rolling pretty well after a slow start, aside from a turnover. The fake punt call by Campbell became a momentum shifter, and a confidence builder for the Lions at a moment that didn't necessarily feel right. But it was, as Campbell felt the temperature of his team and unveiled his aggressiveness at the first opportunity this season.
The Lions are now 7-for-8 on fake punts over the last two seasons and into one game of Campbell's third season.