The last time the Detroit Lions looked this good on a big stage, Barry Sanders might have been in the backfield. Or maybe it was back when television sets were in black and white.
Lions fans might not know what to do with themselves after Thursday night. After a 34-20 win over the Green Bay Packers that was dominant other than a lull in the third quarter that allowed the Packers briefly back in the game, the Lions look like the clear favorite to win the NFC North. They haven’t won a division title since 1993.
The Lions started as poorly as you can, with Jared Goff throwing an interception over the middle. If you’re a Lions pessimist — and after decades of losing, how could you not be? — that was a sign that the Lions weren’t ready for the big stage. Then for the rest of the first half Lions vs. Packers didn’t look much different than Kansas City Chiefs vs. Chicago Bears last week. The Lions led 27-3 by halftime. They had 14 times as many yards as the Packers.
The Packers started to come back in the second half when the Lions seemed to let up a bit. That’s a lesson Detroit still needs to learn. But after the Packers scored to cut the Lions’ lead to 27-17, defensive end John Cominsky made a great tackle on Jordan Love‘s two-point conversion attempt and then the Lions’ offense effectively ended the game with a long drive. That drive was kept alive on a Packers unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when Quay Walker tried to jump over the line on a field-goal attempt. After that terrible penalty David Montgomery, who had a huge night, scored his third touchdown of the game on fourth-and-goal. The Lions took a quarter off, but the final result didn’t change.