The Detroit Lions didn’t open the 2022 season the way coach Dan Campbell or the raucous sellout crowd in Ford Field wanted. Detroit fell to the visiting Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1, 38-35.
The Lions were far more impressive than in the same matchup a year ago, a 44-6 Halloween massacre by the Eagles. The Lions had some real positives on offense and made it a competitive game, but too many mistakes and too much excellence by Eagles QB Jalen Hurts proved more than the young Lions could overcome.
Here are a few quick takeaways from watching the game in real-time.
First drive brilliance
Detroit gave the fans a lot to cheer about on the opening drive. Sheer dominance by the blocking helped the Lions run the ball right down the field. Nine plays and 75 yards, capped by a 1-yard TD run from RB Jamaal Williams.
It was the manifestation of what the Lions want their identity to be. The line was fantastic. The TEs and WRs blocked well. RB D’Andre Swift attacked and didn’t shy away from contact, breaking off a 50-yard run as the feature play.
The run game was hit-and-miss the rest of the day, but that opening drive is something Campbell can point to as what his Lions are capable of accomplishing on offense.
Jalen Hurts gone wild
The Lions defense had no answer for Jalen Hurts for the second year in a row. Hurts ran and threw almost at will.
The athletic Eagles quarterback sliced and diced the Lions defense all afternoon. Early on he won with his legs. Once the Detroit defense started to slow down the QB run, Hurts opened up the passing floodgates. Hurts hit WR A.J. Brown on several big connections.
Hurts finished with 90 rushing yards on 17 carries, including a touchdown. He also picked up the final nail in the coffin with a 4th-and-1 plunge that effectively ended the game. Hurts also completed 18-of-32 passes for 243 yards, with 10 of those completions to Brown.
D'Andre Swift was (mostly) brilliant
Swift had a fantastic game on the stat sheet.
It wasn’t quite so stellar with a couple of miscues that don’t show up in the box score. He didn’t even move on a route that allowed the man covering him to cheat back and eventually wind up with a tip-drill interception. And he had a couple of tentative runs, but overall this might have been Swift’s best game.
It certainly was running the ball. Swift had 15 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown. Swift also caught all three passes thrown his way, tacking on another 31 yards.
Lack of clutch moments
(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Long story short: The Eagles made more positive plays in critical moments than the Lions. They got more than a little help from the officiating crew, but Detroit dropped the ball too many times–quite literally.
The best example was a late deep throw from Jared Goff to Josh Reynolds. Goff’s throw wasn’t perfect but it was certainly catchable by Reynolds, who had a full step on CB James Bradberry. But Reynolds couldn’t quite secure the catch.
There were others. Near-miss sacks on Hurts. Pass coverage one half-step away from being excellent. An errant snap from Frank Ragnow on a critical late third down.
The Lions proved they have a much greater margin for error than a year ago, when they had to play almost perfectly to compete most weeks. Now they have to eliminate the errors and wind up on the right end of the scoring margin.