Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell made an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” Monday on the heels of his team’s 34-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 14 Sunday.
Campbell’s Lions are one of the hottest teams in the NFL — and most confident. If you don’t believe me, see the ballsy play call from offensive coordinator Ben Johnson late in the game. Clinging to a 31-23 lead with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Johnson dialed up a trick play on third-down which sent offensive tackle Penei Sewell in motion.
Sewell had reported as an eligible receiver prior to the play, allowing him to catch a pass from Jared Goff. Sewell’s reception went for nine yards and a first-down. The Lions added a field goal a few plays later to go up by two possessions.
Campbell, however, apparently didn’t see it coming. Talking about the play with McAfee, Campbell revealed he was distracted by the wave taking place in the stands at Ford Field when Johnson came over through his headset asking if the trick play for Sewell was a go.
“Here’s another thing that happened,” Campbell said. “These things happen during the game, but—so we’re in that situation and the fans are doing the wave around the stadium. And so I’m just watching it and I hear Ben Johnson go, ‘Hey coach, do you want to…’ and I’m so focused on the wave and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s fine.’ And then I look up, and we’re throwing it to Penei, and I’m like, ‘What the f— are we doing?’ He said, ‘Coach, you said it was fine.’ But it worked out great. It was unbelievable.”
Lions Rolling in Year Two Under Dan Campbell
Alas, Campbell’s incredible story turned out to be a rib. Lions fans were, in fact, not doing the wave during the most intense part of the game. Campbell later told McAfee it was a play they had practiced many times this season.
”Listen, we knew it would be wide open,” Campbell said. “We worked the heck out of it. We’ve seen him run the reps, we’ve seen him flip his hips. He’s got soft hands. The only thing I was worried about, and I made sure [quarterback Jared] Goff got to him, was ‘Make sure you stay in bounds. Stay in bound, stay in bounds.’ And he was great.”
In just Campbell’s second season, the Lions sit at 6-7 having won five of their last six games. With four games remaining, Detroit has placed itself into the playoff hunt in the NFC.