When you face Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, particularly at Arrowhead Stadium, you know you have to come away with points at all costs. That might lead to some gutsy calls, even early in the game, as you try and steal every possession you can as a team.
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell understood the assignment.
On the Lions’ second possession Thursday night, the Detroit offense faced a 4th-and-2 situation at their own 17-yard line. With just over nine minutes left in the first quarter, and the score knotted at 0-0, Campbell sent his punt team on the field. Certainly the Lions would be willing to punt the ball away in this situation, especially after punter Jack Fox’s first punt of the night traveled over 60 yards, and the Lions were able to drag returner Richie James to the turf inside the 20. Right?
Instead, the Lions dial up a fake punt, using a direct snap to Jalen Reeves-Maybin, one of the upbacks. The linebacker puts his head down and gets just enough, extending the drive for Detroit:
The aggressive call paid off, not just by extending the drive but it seemed to ignite the Lions offense. Armed with a fresh set of downs Detroit marched down the field, capping off the 91-yard drive with the first touchdown of the 2023 NFL season, a scoring strike from Jared Goff to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown:
Dan Campbell understood the assignment.
However, something tells us Mahomes and company will have an answer.