Roman Bruno, Guest Writer
Lions LB Derrick Barnes sacks Falcons QB Desmond Ridder. Photo//Jeff Nguyen/Detroit Lions
After allowing nearly 400 yards of offense in last week's loss against Seattle, the Lions defense got back on track in a stout 20-6 win against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.
It was a much needed response from Aaron Glenn and his unit, who were missing some key pieces due to injuries. The Lions defense totaled for seven sacks and a fumble recovery while only giving up 183 yards of offense and no touchdowns.
Sophomore defensive end Aidan Hutchinson led the team with two sacks. Charles Harris, Derrick Barnes, Benito Jones, Alim McNeill, and rookie Jack Campbell also tallied a sack. Rookie defensive back Brian Branch led the team in tackles (11) and tackles for loss (3). It is the first time the Lions have combined for seven sacks and 11 TFLs in a single-game since Oct. 31, 2010, per Detroit Lions PR. This is what Lions fans have come to expect from these young stars.
On the offensive side of the ball, it was more of the same from Jared Goff and others. 2023 first round draft pick Jahmyr Gibbs made his first career start in the absence of injured David Montgomery. Gibbs squared off against Falcons RB Bijan Robinson, who went just four picks earlier than Gibbs.
Both showed flashes of why they were taken so early in the draft, but it was Gibbs that outclassed Robinson. Gibbs finished with 17 carries for 80 yards (4.7 YPC) while Robinson had 10 carries for 33 yards (3.3 YPC). Stopping Robinson was a priority for the Lions defense, so it is a testament to how impressive they played on Sunday.
Lions rookie tight end Sam LaPorta had a day, catching eight balls for 84 yards and a touchdown, the first of his career. Goff connected with a wide open LaPorta deep for a 45-yard score early in the second quarter to break a 3-3 tie. LaPorta set a new NFL record for the most receptions through three-career games by a TE (18), per Detroit Lions PR.
Despite Goff throwing an interception to close out the third quarter, the Lions defense stood tough, forcing a turnover on downs on the Falcons ensuing drive. Goff bounced back and closed the game out on their next possession, taking it himself for a three-yard touchdown run to make the game 20-3.
Atlanta later added a field goal, but could not amass the comeback they needed. Detroit walked away victorious in a much needed win.
Jared Goff completed 22 of 33 passes for 243 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Amon-Ra St. Brown was the leading receiver with 102 yards on nine receptions. Kalif Raymond also had a notable performance with four catches for 55 yards.
The Detroit Lions (2-1) will travel to Green Bay next to face the Packers (2-1) in their first divisional game of the season. It will be a short week to prepare, as the two teams will square off on Thursday night on Amazon Prime, with the winner having sole possession atop the NFC North.