Lions believe in Gibbs’ versatility in bounce back win over Raiders


Detroit Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs did something many of us did not think he was capable of.

He carried the ball inside the pile. He carried it around the end and he carried it after tough catches in the flats. At times he carried the Lions offense. It was Gibbs who turned a game of frustration into victory with his 27 yard touchdown run around right end that gave the Lions some breathing room as they pounded their way to a 26-14 Monday night victory over the Las Vegas Raiders before 66,774 rabid fans at Ford Field.

This proved to be a break out night for Gibbs (152 yards on 26 carries) who showed that he is not a one-trick pony. He remains a speedy stallion, but the rookie from Bama is capable of much more. Although I come to shower Gibbs with well-deserved flowers, the Lions still need the ground and pound of injured running back David Montgomery who has never met a pile he could not move.

“We all have confidence in Jahmyr,” said right tackle Penei Sewell. “We know what kind of back he is. We’ve always known that he can do it all.”

This game was spookier than needed until a Lions second-half surge and closer than it needed because the Lions needed to overcome three turnovers, which included quarterback Jared Goff’s brain fart in the third quarter that climaxed with Raiders defensive back Marcus Peters celebrating in the end zone after slicing the Lions lead to 16-14.

The need for Montgomery came moments after one of Gibbs shining moments. He swept around right end for a 17-yard gain in the third quarter as the Lions tried to ice the game inside the four-yard line.

Two dive plays later for no gain resulted in the Raiders taking over after a Craig Reynolds fumble, which replays showed wasn’t really a fumble. It drew boos from a crowd ready to celebrate the Lions rebirth after a dismal performance at Baltimore against the Ravens.

One thing the Lions proved is they are like a rubber ball. After falling flat against Seattle and the Ravens they bounced back with solid wins over the Atlanta Falcons and the Raiders.

“You kind of take a deep breath and relax,” said tight end Sam LaPorta.

This game wasn’t just about Gibbs. Throw in Craig Reynolds (74 yards on 14 carries) and the Lions main guys punished Oakland for 229 yards on the ground.

“It came because of a hard week of practice and guys working hard,” Swell said. “And our coaches did a heck of a job preparing us.”
The community might panic, but the Lions do not.

So now your once sad sack Lions are 6-2 at the half way mark of the season with the trade deadline looming. The Lions could shore up the defensive line, which was mostly silent until the Raiders were in obvious passing situations late. That allowed defensive tackle Alim McNeill and linebacker Alex Anzalone to get loose for critical sacks.

The Lions are currently a number two seed, a half-game ahead of the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks who have played one less game. They’ve had a couple of hiccups, but are now back on the path to a high seed and long playoff run.

“The train is on the track,” LaPorta said. “We are headed in the right direction.”


For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet

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Original Photo Credit: © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK