Gates’ Top NFL Team From Week 1

NFL, Team of the Week, Detroit Lions, Brian Branch

The NFL season is back.

Week 1 was filled with chaos, upsets, and surprise wins. One of those surprise wins was the Detroit Lions. The Lions took on the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead and won, 21-20.

Here is why Detroit was dominant in the season opener. 

Chef Goff is Cooking

The Lions did not have a 100-plus-yard receiver (they at least caught the ball; looking at you, Kadrius Toney), but Jared Goff was able to spread around the ball. Their leading receiver was Josh Reynolds with four receptions for 80 yards. Just below him was the sun god, Amon-Ra St. Brown, with six catches for 71 yards and the Lions’ only receiving touchdown.

Lockdown Defense

The Lions’ defense was able to keep Patrick Mahomes under 300 yards (21-for-39 with 226 yards, two touchdowns, one interception), which is great when it comes to a defense facing the league’s best quarterback. Rookie Brian Branch was able to pick off Mahomes thanks to an assist from Toney. 

C.J. Gardner-Johnson led the Lions in solo tackles with five while Derrick Barnes and Alim McNeill each had two assists. The defense was able to keep the pressure and lock down the Chiefs’ sloppy wide receiver play. 

Lions Rookies Dominate in Debuts  

Most of Detroit’s high-level picks from the 2023 NFL Draft made an impact in their first games. Credit to the Lions organization and their scouting department for finding the right guys. 

  • Jahmyr Gibbs (12th overall) had seven carries for 42 yards with a 6.0-yard average. On the receiving end, Gibbs had two catches for 18 yards. Overall, a solid performance.
  • Jack Campbell (18th overall) had two solo tackles.
  • Sam LaPorta (34th overall) had five catches for 39 yards with an average of 7.8 yards per reception. He had more receiving yards than Blake Bell, Jerick McKinnon, Richie James, Justyn Ross, Skyy Moore, and Kadarius Toney combined. Not bad for the tight end in his pro debut.
  • Brian Branch (45th overall) was the headliner rookie of this game with three solo tackles, a pass defended, and the sole interception of this season’s opener. 

Early in the game, the Lions were on their own 17-yard line and faced a fourth down. Campbell decided to do a fake punt. Lo and behold, the fake punt worked, a perfect symbol of how smooth Week 1 went for the Lions. 

Congrats to the Detroit Lions for getting the first Top Team of the Week honors in the 2023 NFL season. 

Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images

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