The following article, Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff Praises 'Gutsy' Play That Helped First NFL Game Start with a Bang, was first published on Flag And Cross.
If conventional wisdom suggests you are the heavy underdog in a fight, it might be time to use some unconventional wisdom to give yourself a better chance through the element of surprise.
That’s what happened on Thursday night when the Detroit Lions marched into Arrowhead Stadium and stunned the defending world champion Kansas City Chiefs, winning 21-20.
Given that the Chiefs are widely regarded as the NFL’s next dynastic team, and the Lions are a historically moribund and downtrodden franchise, many expected this season opener to go in the Chiefs’ favor.
(Much of the officiating certainly went in Kansas City’s favor.)
Yes, the Chiefs were missing their two best players after superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes (All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce was injured, while All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones is locked in an ugly contract dispute), but many people still had the home team winning Thursday night.
Those expectations were turned on their heads early in the game.
In the first quarter, the Lions were facing a fourth-and-2 deep in their own territory.
Conventional wisdom would suggest that Detroit should punt the football.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell eschewed convention and opted for a play that some pundits accurately described as “GUTSY.”
Campbell called up a critical fake punt with upback Jalen Reeves-Maybin taking the snap and plowing forward. The third-string linebacker gained three yards for a Lions first down.
It’s a fake!
— NFL (@NFL) September 8, 2023
That conversion kept the drive alive, and it eventually led to the first touchdown of the NFL year, a 9-yard pass from Detroit quarterback Jared Goff to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Given that this was a 1-point win, that initial touchdown was absolutely critical to the Lions’ upset.
Now, there is something to be said about going for it on fourth down — and not having your quarterback out there. Some would argue that having the offense and its leader on the field in such a situation gives a team its best chance of success.
But Goff didn’t seem to mind having the ball taken out of his hand on that crucial drive.
He said after the game that the fourth down call “seeps into us and our confidence on the field.”
The 28-year-old quarterback added, “The backed-up fake punt was pretty ballsy, but it worked.”
The Lions now have 10 days off to enjoy that victory (and no, that win does not come with an asterisk) as the team prepares to host the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, will try to get in the win column when they visit the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 17.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.