Jahmyr Gibbs stats today: Lions RB silences draft critics with big game in playoff win vs. Buccaneers

The Lions faced a lot of criticism for spending the No. 12 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs.

Many questioned why the Lions would spend an early selection on what many viewed as a luxury resource. As such, it was believed it would have been more prudent for the Lions to draft Christian Gonzalez or target another player to upgrade their defense.

Gibbs silenced those critics with his performance during the Lions’ 31-23 win over the Buccaneers in the divisional round of the 2024 NFL playoffs.

Gibbs was held in check for most of the first half, but his second-half outburst helped Detroit to pull away from Tampa Bay. He made plays in all facets of the game and produced one of the biggest highlights of the day — a 31-yard touchdown run that gave the Lions a lead they would not relinquish.

Here’s what to know about Gibbs’ performance against the Buccaneers on Sunday.

MORE: Lions beat Buccaneers to earn first NFC championship game since 1992

Jahmyr Gibbs stats vs. Buccaneers

Gibbs was the Lions’ leading rusher on Sunday with 74 yards on nine carries. He vastly outproduced his backfield partner David Montgomery, who generated 33 yards on 10 carries and largely struggled to move the ball against Tampa Bay’s solid run defense.

Gibbs’ combination of speed and balance helped Detroit break through against Tampa’s strong front. That was something the Lions weren’t able to do in their first matchup with the Buccaneers, when the team’s Craig Reynold-led attack generated just 40 rushing yards on 22 carries. Gibbs missed that game because of a hamstring injury.

While the Lions were able to win that contest solely through the air, the more balanced attack proved critical in what was a more closely contested battle in the postseason.

That said, Gibbs didn’t just star on the ground. He also was a threatening force through the air, generating 40 yards on four catches. He ranked third on the team in both categories behind only Amon-Ra St. Brown and Sam LaPorta, and he provided Jared Goff with a reliable check-down option throughout the contest.

So, while Gibbs’ 114 scrimmage yards and a touchdown may not be viewed as gaudy, his dual-threat ability helped power the Lions to their first NFC championship game appearance since 1992. That alone is enough to justify his lofty draft status.

MORE: How center Frank Ragnow epitomized Lions’ toughness with effort on TD drive

Jahmyr Gibbs draft

The Lions selected Gibbs with the 12th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The team’s choice of the Alabama running back was viewed as a surprise, as the team had signed Montgomery to a three-year deal to be what many presumed was its top running back for the deal’s duration.

However, the Lions had always had an interest in Gibbs, whose combination of speed and balance paired well with the more powerful Montgomery. So, once cornerback Devon Witherspoon went off the board to the Seahawks with the No. 5 pick, the Lions traded down from the No. 6 spot and ultimately selected Gibbs with the 12th overall pick.

Despite trading down, many questioned the selection of Gibbs, as the Lions had been positioned to get the better-regarded Bijan Robinson with the sixth pick. Many also wondered why Detroit didn’t wait on Gibbs and select a cornerback like Christian Gonzalez to patch up the team’s shoddy cornerback group.

Even so, the Lions were confident in their selection of Gibbs, as general manager Brad Holmes viewed him as a true three-down weapon at the position. He also believed that the running back wouldn’t have made it to their second selection at No. 18 overall.

“When we were able to select him at 12, that’s when all the texts started coming in of, ‘Oh, (he) would’ve been gone by 15,’” Holmes said, per SB Nation. “Just a lot of picks, a lot of people saying they wanted to trade up, they wanted to get him.”

Gibbs racked up 1,261 scrimmage yards and 11 touchdowns during his rookie season and became the first Lions rookie running back to score multiple touchdowns in a single postseason. So, it seems like Holmes and Co. made the right decision in “reaching” for the Alabama product.

Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *