Dan Campbell: Lions haven't played best football yet

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- At 6-2, the Detroit Lions are atop the NFC North standings with their best eight-game start since 2014.

However, coming out of the bye week, coach Dan Campbell made it clear that the Lions need to take it up another notch to reach their season-long goals, which include a playoff appearance.

That second-half push starts Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers (4:05 p.m. ET, SoFi Stadium, CBS).

"Well, I know this, by December, we need to be playing our best football collectively and up to date, like the Chargers, we need to play our best football game," Campbell said during Monday's practice. "We still have left so much out there and as good as we played to get six wins, we've been able to complement each other, but yet, I would say, we have not played our best football collectively: offense, defense and special teams. So, we've got to play a clean game."

The bye week was beneficial from a health perspective. Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow (toe/calf), offensive lineman Jonah Jackson (ankle) and running back David Montgomery (ribs) all returned to practice after missing the Oct. 30, Monday night win against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Even without the starting trio, the Lions soundly beat the Raiders behind a breakout performance from rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who ended with a season-high 152 rushing yards and 189 yards from scrimmage. Even if Montgomery returns in Los Angeles, Gibbs will continue to "get his fair share" of touches, Campbell said, as he continues to improve.

Campbell also said the Lions need to play their best in the second half to prove their legitimacy.

"We've gotten a little bit better, but we need to be playing our best football because those are the teams that are going to make a push," Campbell said. "I mean, you see what Minnesota does, I'm not surprised by that. They just keep winning, they're playing good football.

"We've got to keep playing good football for us and every team that is going to make a run here are the teams that start to clean it up and they just get a little bit better, a little bit better," he said. "And some of the teams that stay the same are going to begin to lose and they'll be jockeying going on here November into December, so we've got to keep playing good ball and we've got to clean our own issues up."

Cleaning up mistakes has been a point of emphasis. Detroit committed three turnovers against the Raiders.

"We're still gonna play hard, still gonna try to do what we've been doing by trying to outplay our opponent," Gibbs told ESPN. "We're not trying to be Superman, just trying to do our job, you know."

Outside of the win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, Lions quarterback Jared Goff said the team hasn't played a complete game. Specifically, he would like to see improvement in the red zone, where their touchdown efficiency (48.1%) is tied for 24th in the league.

"We're still really hungry for a lot of reasons," Goff said. "One of them is that we know we can play better, and we can finish games a little better and put together a complete game in every facet of the game and as well as we haven't done anything yet. We're 6-2 and feel good about it, but we're not even at the halfway point. We still have nine games left and we've got to do a lot better stuff if we want to be playing latter into the playoffs."

Defensively, second-year edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson feels refreshed after the bye week and said he got some "twitch" back with the rest. He said the difference between this year's team and last year is "everyone in this locker room is preparing for January."

"We have that in mind so it's a little bit different than the usual around here, but it's a good different," Hutchinson said. "We feel in a point of control and when you can control your own destiny, things are different and I feel like the mindset over here is not just play 17 games and head to Hawaii, it's play 17 games and now the real season starts."