BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
The Detroit Lions vs Jacksonville Jaguars game was a contest that was slated to be played in London, England., but COVID-19 prevented that from occurring.
Another thing that could have stopped this game was Jacksonville placed 12 players on the Practice Squad/Covid List and one player on the Reserve/Covid-19 List.
But on Game Day, there were zero positive tests on the active roster since Saturday and the players received multiple tests therefore, they were eligible to play.
My wife and I stayed at the Downtown Jacksonville Hyatt Regency and there were some Lions jerseys on Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. There were flags on motor vehicles. The Lions only play in Northern Florida once every eight years.
This was a matchup of two of the four teams that have never played in the Super Bowl.
On Sunday, those fans wouldn’t be disappointed as Detroit cruised to a 34-16 win.
There would be no double-digit blown leads and QB Matthew Stafford checked another box in his fine career. Going into the game, he hadn’t thrown a TD pass vs the Jaguars. In the second quarter, the Lions converted on a fourth and goal and tight-end T.J Hockensen was the recipient of a one-yard TD pass.
RB DeAndre Swift is no stranger to TIAA Bank field as he, like Stafford played in this venue for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Swift made the most of his return with 14 carries-116 yards and two touchdowns. One run went for 54 yards. He also caught three passes for seven yards.
Swift’s performance reminded me of the stellar outing by then rookie Kerryon Johnson, who on October 21, 2018 led the Lions to a road 32-21 win at the Miami Dolphins, five hours south on I-95. Johnson rushed for 158 yards and added 21 yards in the air.
Stafford completed 19-31-223 yards and a touchdown.
Kenny Golladay caught four passes for 105 yards.
Adrian Peterson rushed four times for 40 yards and one touchdown. He also had one catch for 18 yards.
Minshew was 24-44-243 with a touchdown and one interception. RB James Robinson rushed for 29 yards and also caught a TD pass. Keenan Cole Sr had six receptions for 143 yards while DJ Chark had seven receptions for 45 yards.
What propelled the Lions to the win was they led in Time of Possession 35:57-24:03 and they out rushed Jacksonville 180-44 and controlled the tempo of the game.
Jacksonville has been outscored 161-98 and has lost five straight. In those five losses the Jaguars have given up 30 points. The Jaguars have set a new NFL record by employing five kickers in five consecutive weeks.
Detroit improved its record to 2-3 while Jacksonville dropped to 1-5. Detroit leads to all-time series 4-3 and the next time these squads face each other will be at Ford Field in 2024.
During the next week, Lions Coach Matt Patricia and General Manager Bob Quinn won’t have to answer questions about their job status. This easy win will somewhat silence the media.
Detroit faces the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday in Georgia, another homecoming for Swift, who played in nearby Athens. Another win against an opponent that they’re expected to beat will continue to silence the Media.
Meanwhile, Jacksonville Jaguars Coach Doug Marrone still continues to search for answers with his young team and will face the Los Angeles Chargers in Southern California.
Since Jacksonville’s 2017 AFC Title year, with two playoff wins, Marrone has a 12-27 record including the title game loss to Tom Brady, who played for the New England Patriots.
Going into the game, I was slightly on edge as to what it would be like to cover an NFL Game during Covid-19. No problem! I was impressed with the pre-screening and the protocols worked well with me.
We all know that Covid-19 is every disruptive and will continue to cause tension during the week as we see games cancelled and postponed. So this is something that everyone has to live with.
As far as this game is concerned, going into the contest, this is the Tale of Two Coaches with Matt Patricia and Doug Marrone. It will be interesting to see what they’re fates will be when Black Monday occurs at the end of the season.
Marrone has one year left on his contract so the question is will Jacksonville fire him and move on or allow him to continue the rebuilding process?
Scott Morganroth can be reached at email@example.com.