The Detroit Lions had the national spotlight on them in Week 1 and shined.
Following their 21-20 road upset of defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City, the Lions will seek out another glowing performance during their home opener against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
In particular, the Lions’ rookies made some big plays in their NFL debuts. Second-round draft selection Brian Branch made the biggest of the game, a 50-yard pick-six.
“It’s a dream come true,” Branch said. “Just feeling like a little kid and just being out there. As a little kid, you look to players in the NFL and one day hoping you could make a play like that.”
First-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs averaged six yards on his seven carries and also caught two passes. Another second-rounder, tight end Sam LaPorta, contributed five receptions.
Veteran quarterback Jared Goff had a steady, if unspectacular, season opener. He threw for 253 yards and one touchdown on 22-of-35 passing.
He also kept his lengthy streak of avoiding an interception intact. He has gone 359 straight pass attempts without getting picked off.
He currently ranks third on the NFL’s all-time list of attempts without an interception, behind only Aaron Rodgers (402) and Tom Brady (399).
“It’s a cool thing to look back on it one day, but if you told me it kept going and we lost games, I don’t care,” Goff said. “I’m just trying to win games and that being a part of that formula, sure, it’s helped, but it’s not, by any means, the focus.”
The Lions (1-0) will be seeking some revenge against the Seahawks. Seattle defeated them 51-29 late in the 2021 season. The Seahawks came to Detroit last season and emerged with a 48-45 triumph.
That proved to be pivotal in wild-card tiebreakers, leaving the Lions on the outside looking in.
“This team always presents problems,” Detroit coach Dan Campbell said. “They’ve been a thorn in our side for two years. We know what’s going to be coming in here. We’re going to assume the best out of them. They got after us pretty good last year. That’s something we won’t forget.”
Seattle (0-1) is coming off a listless 30-13 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The Seahawks were outscored 23-0 in the second half.
Quarterback Geno Smith was limited to 112 yards passing. The defense allowed two unheralded wideouts to rack up 119 receiving yards apiece.
Smith and wide receiver DK Metcalf had big days against the Lions last season, but it will be tough to duplicate with both starting offensive tackles injured.
Charles Cross suffered a sprained toe during the second half of the Rams loss. Abraham Lucas was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday due to a knee injury.
Seattle added some depth by signing former All-Pro Jason Peters, now 41.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is curious to see how his team will respond.
“We need to get into those situations and see how to handle the noise and how to handle just the ruckus of it all,” Carroll said. “So it’s a really good matchup for us. We need hard ones, we need tough ones, so here they come.”
Carroll knows he won’t be able to focus on one aspect of Detroit’s offense.
“They have good balance,” he said. “They want to run the football, yet their play action game complements well and they still have a good dropback scheme.”
The Lions didn’t practice on Wednesday, but if they had, offensive tackle Taylor Decker (ankle) and cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (knee/hamstring) would have sat out.