JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When D’Andre Swift dropped the game win touchdown pass Detroit Losing the Lions ’Week 1 at the Chicago Bears, the rookie running back swears up and down to everyone who listens that it will not be a sign of things to come in his NFL career.
On Sunday, playing his first professional game at a stadium where he had a lot of college success, he did well with Swift.
Swift ran 116 yards and two touchdowns in 14 innings and the Lions got their best defense of the season to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 34-16, at TIAA Bank Stadium.
“The thing I like about him is that nothing really makes him strong,” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “He made a mistake like that and it just kept moving and knew he could make good plays later in the game. He had a lot of confidence in himself and his teammates. We had a lot of confidence in him. , really all the men in this group. So he was just a big part of it and did a very good job as a young man. “
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Swift, a second-round pick in the April draft, saw his most extensive workload of Sunday season in the Lions ’first game from bye.
He broke a 54-yard run in his first game from scrimmage, logging most of his career-high 14 carry while playing behind a temporary offensive line and helping the Lions build what – in final – is an unresolved double digit lead scored on a jumping 1-yard run early in the second quarter.
The Lions, who lost six straight games in which they played double digit leads, with all three defeats this year, played in a spinning line of linemen on Sunday after starting the right-hander. Tyrell Crosby and right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai left in the first half with dehydration
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Matt Nelson, a converted defensive lineman who played exclusively as the sixth offensive lineman in the first four games, finished Sunday with the right deal and helped the Lions lift a season-high 180 yards rushing.
“Just give credit to our people,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “I thought our people really handled well in the last two weeks. They ignored everything and went out and played aggressively. It was great to see.”
In particular, Patricia, and the lions as a whole, are under intense scrutiny this year for their repeated defeats and repeated struggles in the field.
They wasted the lead of 17, 11 and 14 points in beating the Bears, Green beach Packers and New Orleans The Saints, and Patricia entered the Sunday game that many believed was in danger of losing her job in another loss.
Sunday’s win, against one of the worst teams in the NFL – the Jaguars (1-5) have given up at least 30 points in five straight games – will not alleviate that pressure, but at least give it the Lions have something to establish as they begin a win along games today through Thanksgiving.
The Lions (2-3) are playing low Atlanta Falcons next week, and face only one team with a winning record before December. The Falcons (1-5) beat Minnesota The Vikings, 40-23, on Sunday for their first win of the year.
“We really see the equation (for the win), when we combine the four quarters, even if we are better,” defensive end Trey Flowers said. “I think it’s for us, doing that, putting it there, we see the equation. So we know we go back to the drawing board in practice, put the focus on all the little things we did throughout the week that resulted. with this win.And we just have to keep playing.
“A lot of people will probably criticize us, but it’s still hard to win the NFL. That was an NFL team and they got a lot of good skills from people, especially in offense and in defense. It’s hard to win and win the win. “
The Lions led the game from the start of Sunday, forcing a three-and-out in Jacksonville’s first home and following a 10-play touchdown drive.
Swift, who went 3-0 at TIAA Bank Stadium against Florida during his career in Georgia, added his first touchdown of the day to the next series, and the Lions led comfortably, 24-3, when Stafford threw his first career touchdown pass against The Jaguars – the only opponent he failed to throw a TD against in his first 11 NFL seasons – in the middle of the third quarter.
Stafford finished 19-of-31 with 223 yards, Swift added a 6-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, and Kenny Golladay had four catches in 105 yards. Swift and Golladay have been the first Lions team to lead in the 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game since 2013.
Defensively, the Lions forced Gardner Minshew’s two turnovers – a fumble and an interception – and held the Jaguars (1-5) in a timely 44 yards in a hurry.
“This is not necessarily a statement,” said the safety of the Lions Duron Harmon. “We just knew we could play better and we just had to find a way to play better and I think we did that. I mean, I would not say the statement because doing it for a game makes no sense. I mean, we’ve been looking for ways to be consistent and that’s what needs to be done now. “
Contact Dave Birkett at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.