Sports

After Tuesday’s fatal high school shooting, the Detroit Lions dedicate their first win of the season to the Oxford community

After Tuesday’s fatal high school shooting, the Detroit Lions dedicate their first win of the season to the Oxford community
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Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell laid his hands on his knees on the sideline of Ford Field, slightly slouched over in anticipation of the game’s last play.

Campbell yelled, leaping in the air with glee as quarterback Jared Goff came over to him for a big hug after Goff found rookie receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown on a walk-off touchdown pass for a 29-27 shock win over the Minnesota Vikings that gave the Lions their first win this season.

Campbell didn’t lose sight of the greater picture after experiencing the emotional high of victory for the first time this season.

“This game ball goes to the whole Oxford community and all those who were affected,” Campbell added, referring to the shooting at nearby Oxford High School on Tuesday, which killed four teens and injured numerous more. “And that being said, man, I just … I want us to not forget these names: Madisyn Baldwin, Hana St. Juliana, Justin Shilling, Tate Myre, Phoebe Arthur, Jon Asciutto, Riley Franz, Elijah Mueller, Kylie Ossege, Aiden Watson and Molly Darnell, who’s a teacher.”

“Those names for all those who will never be forgotten and they’re in our hearts and in our prayers.”

On the heels of the shooting, the Lions were playing inspired football even without dynamic running back D’Andre Swift (shoulder). A little more than 30 miles outside of Detroit, the school is located. The Lions observed a moment of silence before the game and wore T-shirts, hats, and helmet decals in honour of the victims.

“Like to me, I just … my thought was, ‘Hey man, if we can for three hours just ease their suffering a little bit, that’s worth it. That’s worth it,'” Campbell said. “And so that’s kind of how I thought of this and we just did a great job. Players, they responded, played well.”

On Saturday, the team met to go through the specifics of the Oxford High shooting to ensure that everyone understood the gravity of the situation. Because some of the players were so focused on football, Campbell and his team sought to educate them about what was going on by showing them recordings and news stories from the tragic situation. A 15-year-old pupil has been charged as an adult with the murders of four of his classmates. Involuntary manslaughter was also filed against his parents.

The Lions stated that they attempted to unite around the storey.

“You never hope for a tragedy like this, but you hope to be a light for those people and a positive thing that they can have fun watching today,” Goff said, fighting back tears while wearing an Oxford hat. “I hope that they were all watching today and were able to enjoy that win, and we can take their minds off it for whatever it may be, three hours. I think anytime we can do that, it’s a lot bigger than our sport, it’s a lot bigger than us. I think that today is one of those special circumstances that we were able to rise to the occasion and make something special happen.”

On Sunday, Lions fans were treated to something exceptional as well: a win for the first time in over a calendar year. After celebrating its first regular-season win since Dec. 6, 2020, Detroit will no longer have to answer inquiries about its winless season. It was also the Lions’ first home win since Nov. 15, 2020.

After going up 20-6 at halftime, the Lions had their greatest lead of the season, ending a streak of 10 straight games in which they had been held under 20 points. Goff was in command of the offence, completing 25 of 41 passes for 296 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Without Swift, Jamaal Williams stepped up and rushed for 71 yards on 17 carries, while St. Brown caught 10 catches for 86 yards.

In addition, the Lions (1-10-1) ended an eight-game losing streak against the Vikings, which dated back to 2017. Since 1970, this is the latest in a season (the Lions’ 12th game) that a club has won its first game on the final play of regulation. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the previous mark was set by the 1999 Cleveland Browns, who were 0-7 before winning on a Tim Couch Hail Mary against the New Orleans Saints on Halloween.

St. Brown recalled the atmosphere after scoring the game-winning touchdown as “unforgettable.”

“Definitely, definitely. I mean, my first NFL touchdown, first NFL win, I’m going to remember this day for a long time,” St. Brown said. “The way it happened, the way it unfolded was … I mean it was just … it couldn’t be any better.”

Topics #Dan Campbell #Detroit Lions #Oxford community

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