Detroit Lions scored first better than most teams over the last two seasons

It's not truly a surprise, but the Lions' offense has been quite good early in games over the last two seasons.
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The Detroit Lions have had a top-five scoring and yardage offense in each of Ben Johnson's two seasons calling plays, which has made him into a top head coaching candidate. Even a notable issue we saw with the Lions' offense last season (third quarter scoring) improved over the course of the season.

Without knowing or finding the actual raw data, we know that scoring first is important in football. Teams who score first in a game automatically grab some momentum, ideally that they can keep and build on all game to put the other team on it's heels. Along that line, the Lions were top-10 in the NFL in first and second quarter scoring last year, second and seventh respectively, on their way to a 12-5 record and the NFC North title.

But Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis has the actual "score first" numbers. 64 percent of games have been won by the team who scored first (any score) over the last 10 years (regular season games).

Lions scored first unlike few teams in the NFL over last two seasons

The Lions went 6-5 when they scored first in 2022, and 10-1 when they scored first last year in the regular season. Those 22 times scoring first over the last two seasons is tied for second in the league with the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers over that span, behind only the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles (23 times each). Two other teams, the Dallas Cowboys (21) and the Los Angeles Chargers (20) scored first at least 20 times over the last two seasons.

Detroit's 16-6 combined record when scoring first over the past two seasons (72.7 percent; 73 percent if you round up) is notably above the 64 percent average Sharp presented over the last decade..

In general, first offensive drives are "scripted" play calls to start a game. It's not surprising Johnson is top-notch in that area, and it's also obviously no surprise scoring first correlates to winning how it does. The Lions have put those two things together better than most teams the last two seasons, in line with their rise to being a contender.

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