The first half of Sunday's game went about as well as it could have for the Detroit Lions. Efficient offense, opportunistic defense...taking care of business against an inferior Carolina Panthers' team.
After an interception by cornerback Jerry Jacobs, his third over the last two games, the Lions could have ground out a good chunk of what remained of the second quarter, probably scored some kind of points and gone into the locker room with a comfortable halftime lead.
Not so much. On the first play after the turnover, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson dug into his bag of tricks. Not just a flea-flicker, but a reverse flea-flicker, resulting in the a 31-yard touchdown and the second touchdown of the day for tight end Sam LaPorta.
Watch Detroit Lions trick play to put proverbial nail in Panthers' coffin
The only drawback was leaving the Panthers time to do anything before halftime, if they were able to. And they did, mounting a field goal drive to make the score 28-10 at the half.
That being said, the Panthers don't feel at all equipped to make a comeback in the second half. Bryce Young is a significantly overmatched rookie quarterback, lacking good protection and lacking high-end weapons (that the shell of Adam Thielen is their No. 1 wide receiver says it all). It's a miracle the Lions did not sack him until more than halfway through the third quarter, when Aidan Hutchinson got it done.
But in an aggressive mode, channeling Dan Campbell, Johnson sensed a moment to pull out a trick play and demoralize the Panthers going toward halftime if it was successful. Mission seemingly accomplished, even if Carolina put together a field goal drive afterward. A virtually insurmountable lead was there to be taken given the circumstances, no matter what. A calculated risk paid off nicely.