Through seven weeks of the season, the Lions had never taken a lead into halftime and had never had a comfortable lead at any point in any game. And then they played the Jaguars.
In Jacksonville on Sunday, the Lions got by far their easiest win of the season, jumping out to a 21-0 halftime lead on the way to a 31-14 victory. The win improves the Lions’ record to 4-4 at the halfway point of the season and keeps alive their hopes of brushing off a shaky start and returning to the playoffs.
The Lions got a big game from their best player, Calvin Johnson, who missed practice all week with a knee injury but still had 111 first-half receiving yards as the Lions built up their big lead. All three of Detroit’s first-half touchdowns were scored by running back Mikel Leshoure, who is developing into the kind of dependable running threat that the Lions need to complement their big-play passing game.
In addition to the defense’s inability to stop Johnson and Leshoure, the Jaguars’ offense looked ugly. Jacksonville’s first seven offensive interceptions ended up like this: punt, punt, punt, punt, end of first half, interception, interception. Blaine Gabbert’s two picks were costly, and although he threw a couple of late touchdown passes, he didn’t really get the offense going until garbage time.
We know the Jaguars aren’t a good team, but it’s still an open question whether the Lions are. At .500 midway through the season, they still have a chance to go on a run toward the postseason, but they also have a tough schedule the rest of the way and can’t afford many letdowns. Next week’s game against the Vikings will give us a better idea of what kind of team the Lions are. This week in Jacksonville was just an easy win against a bad opponent.