Don’t look now, but the Detroit Lions are hot.
After starting the season 1-6, Detroit has now won six of their last seven games to climb all the way back to .500 – they defeated the New York Jets on Sunday, 20-17.
Down 17-13, the Lions faced a 4th and 1 from their own 49-yard line, but Jared Goff dumped it off to Brock Wright in the open field, and he did the rest by taking it 51 yards to the house, giving Detroit a three-point lead with 1:49 to go.
There couldn’t have been a better set up for redemption for Zach Wilson, who’s been benched the last few weeks, but got the nod as Mike White was not cleared to play with rib fractures. He was sacked for a loss of nine on the first play of the drive, but two plays later, he found rookie receiver Garrett Wilson for a 22-yard gain and a first down.
However, the Jets made the questionable decision to not call one of their three timeouts until there were 19 seconds left and they were about to face a 3rd and 18. After an incomplete pass, Wilson scrambled and found Elijah Moore for the first down, and the Jets called a timeout with a second left. But Greg Zuerlein’s 58-yard field goal was wide left, and the Lions won the game.
Jared Goff went 23-for-38 for 252 yards and a touchdown, as Amon-Ra St. Brown continued his breakout sophomore season with seven catches for 76 yards. D’Andre Swift ran for 52 yards on eight carries.
Wilson threw for 317 yards in his return under center, completing 18 of his 35 passes. He threw two touchdowns and an interception that Detroit turned into a field goal in the third quarter. Detroit also returned a punt to the house in the first quarter that gave them an early 7-0 lead.
The Lions are right in the thick of the playoff hunt after being written off by just about everybody – they are tied with the Seattle Seahawks for the final eighth seed, while two 7-5-1 teams (the Giants and Commanders) will face off. At this point, that tie benefits both teams, as Detroit will have to finish with a better record, thus throwing out all tiebreakers.
As for the Jets, they fell to 7-7 and will need some help getting into the playoffs. A New England Patriots win (the seventh seed) over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday will put them two games ahead of the Jets, and New England also has the tiebreaker over Gang Green.
The Jets will host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, while the Lions will visit Carolina on Christmas Eve.