Lions defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson tempted the football gods and lost bad

C.J. Gardner-Johnson's trash talk, etc. often works in his favor, but during the NFC Championship Game he tempted fate and lost.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

More often than not, C.J. Gardner-Johnson's trash talk gives him a layer of belief and empowerment that radiates to his teammates. He and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel traded barbs heading into Sunday's NFC Championship Game, going back to during the season truly, with Samuel simply saying the Lions' safety had to "strap it up" as the game neared.

On Malcolm Rodriguez's interception in the second quarter, Gardner-Johnson took an opportunity to hit Samuel during the return, and got flagged for an illegal blindside block.

So much for Dan Campbell being confident Gardner-Johnson knew "how to toe the line without crossing it." Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn was captured by the tv broadcast on the sideline right after, presumably reprimanding Gardner-Johnson for what was at minimum a stupid and unnecessary play.

The Lions scored on their ensuing drive anyway, stretching their lead to 21-7. It would of course become a 24-7 halftime lead, which the Lions went on to blow in the third quarter.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson tempted the football gods and lost bad

After Jahmyr Gibbs scored the aforementioned touchdown to make the score 20-7 Lions, Gardner-Johnson was captured on the sideline appearing to wave goodbye to the 49ers/their fans.

Overall Gardner-Johnson had a bad game against the 49ers, missing several tackles and registering the lowest overall Pro Football Focus grade on the entire team (33.9). On one particular play, running back Christian McCaffrey made him look really bad.

After the win for the 49ers, Samuel had the parting shot in a sub-tweet of the video showing Gardner-Johnson's second quarter victory lap.

Gardner-Johnson brings a brashness, swagger, edge, confidence, etc. teams can often use an injection of. In the Divisional Round, after his call out of Baker Mayfield, he made a key early play against the Buccaneers' quarterback to back it up.

Gardner-Johnson's back and fourth with Samuel ran a little deeper, and ultimately he couldn't back it up with his play. It's a line "CJGJ" toes, willingly. This time around he landed on the wrong side of it, as he also tempted the football gods by dismissing the 49ers and declaring victory in the second quarter.

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