If there’s an NFL coach with the nerve to call a fake punt inside his own 20-yard line less than 10 minutes into the new season, the answer would always be Dan Campbell.
Campbell gave his team an early injection of confidence in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. On their second drive, they faced a fourth-and-two at their own 17-yard line and ejected the punt team, of course. But the Lions weren’t punting.
They faked it. lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin took the snap snap and ran forward to gain 3 yards for a first down.
It was the kind of decision few coaches would even consider. Campbell would have been torn apart if the Chiefs had sniffed him out and stopped Reeves-Maybin before the first down. But there is a rare bravado with Campbell. That’s part of why players seem to love it.
The Lions got the first down on the fake punt and then went on a long drive deep into Chiefs territory. On the third try, Jared Goff hit Amon-Ra St. Brown for a touchdown. Campbell stole those seven points.
The Lions weren’t going to bother the defending champion Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium because they were safe. Campbell took a big risk and got a big reward.