DETROIT — The debut of Jameson Williams had Detroit Lions fans buzzing Sunday, but even though the rookie receiver was held without a catch in limited action, the Lions offense gave the home crowd at Ford Field plenty to cheer about on Sunday.
The Lions scored on the first eight of the team's possession, prior to taking a knee to end the game, dismantling the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, 40-14. The 26-point margin of victory marked the team's largest since the 2018 season finale.
It also marked the fourth win in the past five games for the Lions, keeping them on the fringes of the playoff race in the NFC.
The afternoon got off to an ideal start for the Lions. After winning the coin toss and deferring to the second half, safety DeShon Elliott knocked the ball free from the grasp of Jacksonville running back Travis Etienne on the game's second snap. Linebacker Alex Anzalone pounced on the fumble, giving the Lions possession in Jacksonville territory.
Capitalizing on the opportunity, the Lions turned the takeaway into seven points. Amon-Ra St. Brown caught a deflected pass in traffic at the 1-yard line, setting up running back Jamaal Williams to punch it in for his league-leading 14th rushing touchdown.
Jacksonville was in position to match the early score, but receiver Zay Jones dropped a third-down pass in the red zone, which would have put his team in a first-and-goal situation. Instead, the Jaguars settled for a 31-yard Riley Patterson field goal.
The Lions countered with another touchdown, this time driving 75 yards on seven plays. Quarterback Jared Goff connected with DJ Chark on a 41-yard bomb down the right sideline, and two snaps later Goff found St. Brown on a 10-yard scoring strike to make it 14-3.
Detroit extended that lead to 20-3 with a pair of Michael Badgley field goals in the second quarter, before Patterson stopped the bleeding for the Jaguars with his second field goal, this time from 42 yards out.
In the closing minute of the first half, the Lions pushed their advantage back to three scores with a third Badgley field goal and the offense only continued to pile up the points coming out of the locker room after the break.
St. Brown starred on the opening possession of the third quarter, drawing a pass interference for one first down and catching a pair of passes for two more, including a 12-yard grab on third down that gave the Lions a first-and-goal from the 10-yard line. Running back D'Andre Swift did the rest, rushing twice and lunging across the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown to give Detroit a 30-6 lead early in the third quarter.
Jacksonville finally found the end zone late in the third quarter, taking nearly eight minutes to drive 80 yards. Needing a touchdown to keep any hope of comeback alive, they twice converted on fourth down during the series before quarterback Trevor Lawrence found tight end Evan Engram for a 3-yard score. A successful two-point conversion by former Lion Jamal Agnew cut the lead, 30-14.
But the Lions did enough to quell the Jaguars' hopes, responding with another field goal early in the fourth quarter. Just as important as the points, the Lions ate another 5½ minutes off the game clock before Badgley's 44-yard make made it 33-14.
After forcing a quick punt, the offense kept its perfect day intact with another lengthy touchdown drive. St. Brown capped the series with his second touchdown, hauling in a 4-yard pass from Goff.
Detroit's quarterback was stellar in the victory, completing 31-of-41 for 340 yards, the two touchdowns and no interceptions. St. Brown paced the receiving corps with 11 catches for 114 yards and the scores, while Chark pitched in a season-high 98 yards against his former team.
Swift led Detroit's ground game with 62 yards on 14 carries. The dynamic running back, who battled injuries through the middle of the campaign, matched his season-high with 18 touches against the Jaguars.
Up next for the Lions is a game against division-leading Minnesota. The Vikings won an early-season matchup between the teams, 28-24, after scoring a go-ahead touchdown in the closing minute.©2022 www.detroitnews.com. Visit at detroitnews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.