ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP)Dan Campbell doesn’t have to think long when asked to compare the Detroit Lions fanbase to others he’s seen across the NFL.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Campbell said Monday after Lions fans turned out at Raymond James Stadium during Sunday’s 20-6 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “I played in Dallas, and Dallas travels well, but not like this.
“In the second half, it was so loud when (Tampa Bay)’s offense was out there, I swear I thought they might go to a silent cadence.”
The Lions are 3-0 on the road during their 5-1 start, including prime-time Thursday night wins at both Arrowhead Stadium and Lambeau Field – two of the league’s best-known venues.
“They weren’t really road games – at least they didn’t feel like it,” he said. “If you want to build a winning team, the first step is being able to win on the road. That’s a mindset – going on the road and it is just you against the other team and their crowd.
“I think we thrive on that.”
The Lions haven’t started 3-0 on the road since 2011, when they won in Tampa, Minnesota, Dallas and Denver before a November loss in Chicago.
That team, coached by Jim Schwartz, was also 5-1 after six weeks, but went 5-5 in its last 10 games. Their 10-6 finish got them a wild-card berth, but they lost 45-28 in New Orleans.
This season, the fans are hoping to stay home in January – a division title would see the Lions host a postseason game for the first time since 1993.
Detroit’s running game stumbled on Sunday after David Montgomery’s rib injury, only gaining 41 yards on 21 carries before Jared Goff’s kneel-down.
However, nothing changed on the other side of the ball. The Lions held the Buccaneers to 46 rushing yards – the sixth straight time they’ve held opponents to fewer than 100 yards this season and the third time they’ve kept the total under 50.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The running game is outstanding when everyone is healthy, but that’s not the case at the moment. Rookie Jahmyr Gibbs missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, so when Montgomery went out, the Lions were down to Craig Reynolds, who has only scored one touchdown in a five-season career.
Reynolds carried the ball 10 times for 15 yards and rookie Devine Ozigbo added three rushes for 5 yards in his NFL debut.
“Gibbs could be 100 percent by Sunday, but we’re comfortable with those two guys,” Campbell said. “If we needed a third running back, we’ve got some guys in the receivers room who can fill in.”
Goff needed to take things to a different level on Sunday.
With not much of a run game against a tough Buccaneers defense, he completed 30 of 44 passes for 353 yards and two touchdowns without a turnover.
Even with the increased volume – he came into the game averaging 31.8 attempts – he had a season-high 11.8 average yards per completion.
Detroit’s pass rush has been spotty. They had seven sacks in a Week 3 win over Atlanta and five more the next week in Green Bay, so the season total looks good, but they only had one in their first two games and two in the past two.
Campbell said that Montgomery has a rib cartilage injury and will probably miss Sunday’s game in Baltimore.
Three – the number of turnovers Goff has committed this season. The Lions haven’t turned the ball over in the past two games.
Patch together a running game capable of keeping the Ravens from focusing on Goff in Sunday’s game in Baltimore.
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