Gone are the days when NFL teams think they will have an easy time against the Detroit Lions.
Once a league powerhouse, the team has won one playoff game in the past five decades and last won a championship in 1957 before the Super Bowl era began.
Perhaps players from opposing teams would even circle their calendars whenever they face the Lions.
It will be a joyous game because they can easily trample over Detroit.
Since 2010, the Detroit Lions have lost on the “Calvin Johnson rule,” a touchdown challenge flag, a picked-up pass interference flag, an illegal bat, a 61-yard Hail Mary, a 61-yard field goal and now a record-setting 66-yard field goal off the crossbar.
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) September 26, 2021
But those days are over with new head coach Dan Campbell even if they are winless after three games.
Before, each Lions defeat was utterly humiliating because the effort wasn’t there.
Now, Campbell instilled the mentality of fighting to the end right from his introductory press conference.
It’s not common to hear a head coach mention that they will “bite off knee caps” to win.
That’s obviously a figure of speech, but it summarizes the mood in Detroit as of late.
They are not the whipping boys and the laughing stock of the NFL anymore.
Instead, they leave everything on the field every week, regardless of the outcome.
August: NFL teams feel they have figured out Lamar
September: NFL teams are calling the 0-3 Lions asking them how they made Hollywood Brown drop multiple TDs https://t.co/JtNnXXrFhP
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) September 30, 2021
It’s a testament to the players responding to Campbell not only as a coach but as a person.
The willingness to fight until the game ends was non-existent during Matt Patricia’s tenure in Detroit.
The players despised him to the fullest that they had a party to celebrate not seeing him during the offseason.
Campbell is the complete opposite by being a coach that speaks his players’ language.
He also does some practice drills with his wards.
As a result, the Lions are doing their best for their coach.
It will only be a matter of time before they score their first victory in the 2021 NFL season.
Three Moral Victories
The Green Bay Packers demolished the Lions in Week 2, 35-17.
However, there are small wins worthy of celebration in that NFC North showdown.
They had more total yards and yards per play against Green Bay while allowing just one sack.
A week before, the Lions nearly forced overtime with the San Francisco 49ers.
The Detroit Lions offensive line has only allowed 2 sacks on 136 passing snaps this season 💪 pic.twitter.com/Qy0fgnm0JQ
— PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Lions) September 29, 2021
They looked dead when the score was 41-17 with less than ten minutes left in the game.
The Lions converted both two-point conversions as well to pull within eight points, 41-33.
Detroit scored 16 points in four minutes and had the ball for a potential game-tying drive.
Unfortunately, Goff’s pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown on fourth-and-nine at San Francisco’s 24-yard line sealed the win for the 49ers.
In Week 3, the Lions defense stepped up to limit the Baltimore Ravens to ten first-half points.
They prevented the Ravens from scoring a touchdown in the second half and took a 17-16 lead after Ryan Santoso’s field goal.
Former #Gophers kicker Ryan Santoso (now with the Lions) has put Detroit ahead of Baltimore with just over one minute to go.
— Tony Liebert (@TonyLiebert) September 26, 2021
Baltimore needed a historic 66-yard field goal from Justin Tucker to claim victory.
The ball bounced off the crossbar before going up and falling through to complete the longest field goal in NFL history.
But that defeat instills positivity among them that they can defeat any team.
That said, the Chicago Bears are in trouble in Week 4 because the Lions might get all the breaks to break into the win column finally.