This one’s for you Oxford: Detroit Lions win first game of season in epic final drive
In the scripted world of the WWE, announcer Michael Cole uttered a phrase that describes today for Detroit Lions fans. And that’s “The streak is over!” After 12 weeks of misery in the Motor City, Lions fans can finally celebrate. The Detroit Lions defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 29-27, ending their winless streak, honoring the Oxford community in the process.
Sunday was an emotional game for the Lions.
The tragic events of the Oxford High School shooting weighed heavily on their hearts. From the players to the coaching staff, it was a talking point publicly and privately. The Lions wanted to win for themselves, first and foremost. Because whether it’s a game or in life, no one likes to lose. However, Dan Campbell and Jared Goff alluded to one thing after the game. The team wanted to win this one for the community of Oxford just as much.
“Sometimes special things happen in special circumstances,” said Jared Goff when speaking to reporters after the game. “You saw yesterday what Michigan did against Iowa, and then us today getting our first win, in what, 12 or 13 weeks. You never hope for a tragedy like this, but you hope to be a light for those people and a positive thing that they can have fun watching.”
“I hope they were all watching today and were able to enjoy that win, and we could take their minds off it for maybe three hours. I think anytime we can do that [then] it’s a lot bigger than our sport.”
The Lions did exactly and, then some, but how it came to be was pure madness at Ford Field. Jumping out to a 20-6 lead in the first half, it appeared the Lions were on the verge of a route. The Vikings had no answer. Jared Goff played his best first half of football in a Lions uniform, completing 13-of-17 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
Goff had back-to-back throws to T.J. Hockenson that were lasers through very tough coverage. The first half was the most electric Ford Field had been all season.
Then the second half happened. And it began to look like “Same Ole’ Lions.” The Lions allowed the Vikings to creep back in the game and take the lead late in the fourth quarter because the team, as a whole, fell flat. The offense was stagnant, and the defense got sonned by Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson on a few plays.
Also, not to forget, there was that highly questionable fourth-down call by Dan Campbell to go for it on their 28-yard line in the game’s final minutes. As we know by now, they failed to convert, the Vikings scored, and then it happened.
Goff led the Lions on a game-winning drive, throwing a walk-off touchdown to rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown for the big W. The Lions are now 1-10-1 on the season and will head to Denver next week to face the Broncos. Paraphrasing Goff, it’s unfortunate the tragic events this week happened and that it had to be a tool of motivation. There’s a flip side to that coin, though. The Detroit Lions fought to the end for the win for themselves, and to honor a heartbroken Oxford community. That’s nothing to sneeze at.