Lions respond to Dan Campbell 'pressure' with win over Falcons

DETROIT -- The fourth-largest crowd in Ford Field history left disappointed after witnessing the Detroit Lions suffer a 37-31 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks in last week's home opener.

Preparing for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, and trying to avoid a 1-2 start, Lions coach Dan Campbell acknowledged his mood wasn’t the best following the letdown against the Seahawks.

“I was really proud of the staff. It’s not always easy to deal with me,” Campbell said following the 20-6 win over the Falcons. “So, they did a great job of prepping these players and collectively wanting to bounce back after last week.”

Campbell’s challenge to the team this week worked, as the Lions are off to their first winning record through three games since 2019 after limiting the Falcons to just two field goals.

However, they won’t have much time to rest before heading to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night (8:15 p.m. ET, Prime Video).

“I just applied a little pressure, and the guys did a heck of a job, they responded well,” Campbell said. “And the coaches really did, and the players did a great job. We got back on our feet, and we’ve got a tough one now on the road at Green Bay in a short week.”

The Lions' defense put together their best performance of the season, holding rooking running back Bijan Robinson to just 60 yards from scrimmage -- his fewest of the season. Atlanta ended the afternoon with just 183 yards of total offense.

“Shoot, stopping the run was the big emphasis coming into this week,” said Lions rookie defensive back Brian Branch, who recorded 11 tackles, including three for a loss, and two passes defended. “Atlanta was a good team that runs the ball, and we knew they were going to run the ball, shoot, 70% of the time.

“The fact that we were able to stop the run during the whole game shows a lot about us. Up front they set the tone early -- linebackers shooting the gap. The DBs when they passed were able to stop it.”

The Lions' defense registered just a single sack in the first two weeks but ended with seven sacks by six different players against the Falcons.

Linebacker Derrick Barnes and defensive lineman Benito Jones wasted no time in the opening quarter with back-to-back sacks on Atlanta quarterback Desmond Ridder.

Second-year defensive end Aidan Hutchinson registered two sacks while Charles Harris, Alim McNeill and rookie Jack Campbell finished with one sack each.

Although Hutchinson wasn’t pressing the issue for sacks in the first two games, he did find it frustrating not to produce the numbers that he wanted.

Hutchinson said Campbell and the staff elevated the level of urgency all week by saying “stuff to get to you a little bit.”

“When you have a team like ours with the talent that we’ve got, going into this year, you know that this is gonna be our year -- and after a tough loss like that, with the guys that we have, there’s no other way,” said Hutchinson, who also forced and recovered a fumble. “You’ve got to bounce back, so that was the plan and we did that, and we’ve just got to continue it.”