It wasn’t pretty at times, but that made it more impressive.
The Detroit Lions took care of business, defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-6, and now sit atop the NFL — yes, NFL — standings with a 5-1 record. There are plenty of takeaways from Detroit’s fourth straight win, and we’ll identify some of them below.
Takeaways from Lions’ Statement Win Over Buccaneers
The Lions Dominated Time of Possession
Detroit was on the field for nearly an extra quarter more than Tampa Bay, dominating the time of possession 36:30-23:30. As mentioned in this game’s preview, it was going to be crucial for the Detroit offense to convert on 3rd down and keep drives alive. Detroit was able to do just that, converting on third down at a 56% clip on Sunday, which is much higher than the 39% they’ve been converting on through the first five games of the season.
On the flip side, the Lions’ defense was able to get the Buccaneers off the field, with Tampa Bay converting on just two of 12 3rd down attempts. The Lions were forced to go to the air more after running back David Montgomery left the game with a rib injury, and quarterback Jared Goff did a great job of handling Tampa Bay’s constant pressure while getting multiple receivers involved.
Ten different Lions caught a pass from the Detroit signal caller in what was a true team effort on the offensive side of the ball. There’s no doubt that the Lions dominating the time of possession played a major key in their win.
Amon-Ra St. Brown Has Career Day in Return
After Sunday’s performance, you’d have a hard time believing that Amon-Ra St. Brown has been a player dealing with a number of injuries this season. After missing Week 5 due to an abdomen injury, St. Brown returned on Sunday in a big way.
He hauled in 12 passes for 124 yards, both career highs, and had a touchdown in the second quarter. St. Brown stepped up in the final frame, catching five balls including one on 3rd down to keep the Lions’s drive alive and the clock running. St. Brown continues to be Jared Goff’s favorite target in a Lions’ offense that is currently firing on all cylinders.
Another Impressive Showing From The Detroit Defense
The Lions’ defense dominated once again, especially on the ground, limiting the Tampa Bay rushing attack to just 46 yards on 16 carries. Detroit has now held their first six opponents to under 100 yards rushing for the first time since the 1932(!) season. Baker Mayfield, who’s had early season success for the Buccaneers, struggled on Sunday completing just over 50% of his passes for 206 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception that Detroit was able to turn into points.
While the Lions are known for their high-powered offense, their play on the defensive side of the ball has been the highlight of the season thus far. Detroit trotted out one of the league’s worst defenses just a season ago and this dramatic turnaround in such a short time is nothing short of remarkable. The Lions will go as far as they want to this year as long as the defense continues to play at a high level.
The Lions Have The Best Fanbase In The NFL
Week in and week out, Lions fans prove that they’re the most passionate fanbase in all of football. On Sunday, it was the same story. Detroit fans invaded Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay where waves of Honolulu blue filled yet another opposing team’s building.
This isn’t the first time in 2023 that Detroit fans have traveled in waves; Arrowhead Stadium and Lambeau Field were full of Lions fans who saw their team win in both Week 1 and Week 4, respectively. After Sunday’s victory, the Lions are now 3-0 on the road, and you can’t help but credit the Detroit fans to an extent.
Players, coaches, and broadcast booths are taking notice and giving the traveling fans the credit they deserve. The Lions are already a great team, but having that support from the fanbase in every game, home or away, is truly a game-changer.
Sunday was a statement win for the Lions who have played as well as any team in the NFL through six weeks of the season and have shown they are for real. For real, as in, legit Super Bowl contenders. Yes, the words Super Bowl and Detroit Lions are being used in the same sentence.
Get used to it.
Main Image: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports