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Lions Fall Short of Resilient Comeback, Lose 38-35

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

Matthew Silka, Staff Writer

D’Andre Swift breaks free for a long run in the opening quarter of Sunday’s contest. Photo//Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

After what many considered to be a successful offseason, the Detroit Lions kicked off the 2022-2023 season with a 38-35 home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Lions started off the game with a stellar opening drive, overcoming multiple penalties to eventually cash in with a Jamaal Williams touchdown run.

The game remained 7-0 in favor of Detroit until the early second quarter, when Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts overcame a fourth-and-one goal line stand attempt by the Lions to add his first rushing touchdown of the year to the statsheet.

The Lions struggled to gain traction offensively in the early second quarter as they were forced to punt on three consecutive drives. The Eagles took advantage of this with a sixty-six yard drive that was capped off with a Miles Sanders touchdown.

Making matters worse, Jared Goff folded under pressure on the following possession, throwing a tipped pass into the arms of Eagles’ defender James Bradberry. Bradberry returned the interception for a touchdown, increasing the lead to 21-7.

The Goff-led offense was able to bounce back, however, with a long pass to Josh Reynolds and a nice run by D’Andre Swift to put the Lions within striking distance.

Lions coach Dan Campbell made his first risky decision of the day by deciding to go for it on fourth-and-one on the Eagles’ six-yard line. It paid off as Swift broke free yet again for a seven yard score, bringing the Lions back to within a touchdown.

With two minutes left before halftime, the Lions were not quite out of the woods. Following a 54-yard bomb from Hurts to newly-aqured receiver A.J. Brown, Detroit found themselves facing another scoring threat. Thankfully, the Lions were able to hold Philadelphia to just a field goal and went into the half down 24-14.

Philadelphia received the ball to start the second half and made quick work of the Lions defense to get the ball into the red zone. Backup running back Kenneth Gainwell was able to punch in the score for the Eagles’ third rushing touchdown of the day, making it 31-14.

Detroit responded quickly with a touchdown of their own via Amon-Ra St. Brown, cutting the lead back to 10. Campbell then decided to try a sneaky onside kick which ultimately failed, giving the Eagles favorable field position.

To make matters worse, Lions safety Tracy Walker was called for a personal foul for hitting Hurts while he was sliding. Walker also threw a punch after the play was over. These two fouls resulted in the captain being ejected from the game, which proved to be extremely costly.

Hurts connected with tight end Dallas Goedert on the next play, and Boston Scott ran it in from the two-yard line to give the Eagles their fourth rushing touchdown and a 17-point lead, 38-21.

With the game seemingly out of reach entering the fourth quarter, the Lions were not ready to give up just yet. Williams capped off a long scoring drive with his second touchdown of the game, marking the first time in his career he scored twice in a game.

Detroit forced another crucial stop on Philadelphia’s next drive before Goff was able to find D.J. Chark in the endzone on a 22-yard pass to close the distance to within three.

Needing a stop on third-and-two, the Lions missed a tackle which allowed Miles Sanders to break free for a long run. Detroit had another opportunity on fourth-and-one to get the ball back with about 90 seconds to spare, but Hurts plowed through for a yard and allowed the Eagles to hold off the resilient comeback attempt by the Lions.

Excited Lions faithful head into Ford Field for the home opener. Photo//Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Although Detroit’s rush defense looked porous on Sunday, the offense was able to shine with a whopping 35 points.

Swift led all rushers with 144 yards and a touchdown, while Williams added 28 yards on the ground with two scores. Goff looked okay overall as he had some really bad moments early on, most notably the pick six. He also shined late in the game, nearly leading Detroit to a comeback victory. He finished with 215 yards on 37 attempts, throwing for two touchdowns and one costly interception. Second year standout St. Brown led the Lions with 64 yards on eight receptions, while also adding a score as well.

The Detroit Lions (0-1) will look to bounce back in their next matchup against the Carson Wentz-led Washington Commanders (1-0), who picked up a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

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