The Detroit Lions got their Christmas present a few weeks early.
The team earned its first win of the season Sunday as Jared Goff hit Amon-Ra St. Brown in the end zone as time expired to seal a 29-27 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Goff said in his postgame interview the Lions had "just been begging for one."
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"I don't know if I can put words to it right now... We've just been begging for one. When you get one, you feel what it's like to win." <br><br>Jared Goff is nearly speechless after the <a href="https://twitter.com/Lions?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lions</a> win at the last second. <br><br>🎤 <a href="https://twitter.com/jayfeely?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jayfeely</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/SperoDedes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SperoDedes</a> <a href="https://t.co/ApCzZPHRmD">pic.twitter.com/ApCzZPHRmD</a>
That desperation seemed evident when head coach Dan Campbell decided to go for it on 4th-and-1 with his offense backed up at its 28-yard line.
With the Lions holding a 23-21 lead at the time, a first down would've allowed them to eat precious clock time. Instead, this happened:
Vikings get the strip sack! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SKOL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SKOL</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MINvsDET?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MINvsDET</a> on CBS<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/Y6J7s3uUH7">pic.twitter.com/Y6J7s3uUH7</a>
The Vikings took the lead on a touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Justin Jefferson with 1:50 remaining, and it looked like Detroit bumbled its way into an 11th defeat. Campbell's squad had lost five one-score games entering Sunday.
This time, the Lions finally encountered some good luck.
All year they've been slightly better than their record indicated, and their effort level hasn't dropped much as the misfortune piled up. Even if it felt at times as though the football gods were intentionally spiting Campbell, it seemed as though they'd eventually get into the win column.
Now that it happened, the first-year head coach shed a massive weight from his shoulders:
In 2019, the Miami Dolphins lost their first seven games as they embarked on a total rebuild under head coach Brian Flores. They closed out with a 5-4 record over their final nine contests to serve as a springboard toward a 10-win season in 2020.
Maybe Campbell can inspire a similarly strong finish in the Motor City to change the narrative for the Lions in 2021.