Dan Campbell placed his onions on the football alter early in Thursday night's Kickoff Game against the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs in K.C.
The Detroit Lions head coach called a fake punt on fourth-and-2 from his own 17-yard line on the game's second drive. It was a gutsy call that, if it had backfired, would have led to heaps of criticism Friday.
Instead, the Lions converted, the offense settled down after six poor plays to open the game, and rattled off a 14-play, 91-yard touchdown drive. Quarterback Jared Goff completed 11 consecutive passes after the successful fake punt.
"It seeps into us and our confidence on the field," the QB said of Campbell's propensity to go for it on fourth down. "The backed-up fake punt was pretty ballsy, but it worked."
It worked and helped highlight the fearless mentality Campbell brings to the sideline. When you play Patrick Mahomes on the road, even without his star tight end on the field, you can't be afraid to take chances. Play afraid, and you've already lost.
"That is something that (special teams coordinator Dave) Fipp and I talked about," Campbell said of the fake. "We knew there was going to be a right time to do it. I felt like that was the right time to do it."
While he punted on a few other fourth-down chances, Campbell's club scrapped all night, overcoming self-inflicted wounds -- a bad snap, a massive fumble in the red zone, penalties, allowing Mahomes out of the pocket -- to secure a 21-20 road win against the defending champs.
"I think we expected to win this game," Campbell said. "We came in here and we knew what we needed to do, and we knew it wasn't going to be easy. We did that. What it really means is that it is one. That is one. We have to clean up our issues that hurt us on some stuff today and be ready for Seattle in 10 days. That is what it is."
Campbell's staff can certainly point to some miscues and areas they can play better, but the grinding win displayed the team's ability to play keep-away from the NFL's best QB, and a defense that won't be so easily ripped apart in big spots.
It wasn't a pretty win, and with the Chiefs missing two stars and dropping the pigskin like it was greased in oil, the Lions got some help from their opponent. But wins are wins. For a team that has far too few in the past six decades, not shrinking in Thursday's big moments helps validate the ballooning offseason hype.
"I didn't learn anything. I got verification on what I already knew," Campbell said. "This is a resilient team. It already was a resilient team and we added pieces to that resilient team. We are built to handle some stuff and we did that today against a very good opponent."
Next stop on Train Hype: Ford Field, which will be deafening in next week's home opener versus the Seahawks. Now Campbell and Co. have to keep that train rolling in Motown.