The Detroit Lions chose quite a way to win their second game of the 2021 season on Sunday — by cruising to a 30-12 victory against the Arizona Cardinals, one of the best teams in the entire NFL.
A number of fantastic individual performances made the stunning upset possible, like quarterback Jared Goff’s three touchdown passes with only five incompletions, or linebacker Charles Harris’ 12 tackles with three tackles-for-loss. But perhaps no performance was more important than the one by running back Craig Reynolds.
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Reynolds, a third-year pro playing in only his seventh career NFL game, received his first career start and ran for a career-high 112 yards (the second most in the NFL this week) on 26 carries. He repeatedly sliced up the Cardinals’ defensive front and chewed up the clock on the way to the 18-point win.
In his postgame press conference, Reynolds made sure to thank God before he answered any football questions.
“First off I gotta thank God, for sure,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here without Him. He’s been along with me this whole time on this journey.” He continued later, “Like I said, I wouldn’t be here without God.”
He also profusely praised his teammates and credited them and the coaching staff for his second consecutive impressive outing.
Last week against the Broncos after being called up from the practice squad, he recorded 83 yards on 11 carries (an average of 7.5 yards per carry). It was Reynolds’ first significant NFL action ever, and it was the highest graded running back performance of Week 14, according to Pro Football Focus.
After that game, Reynolds took to Twitter to detail his football journey, the difficulties he’s faced along the way and how God has been faithful through it all.
0 D1 offers coming out of Abington. Kutztown was the only D2 school to offer me as a RB. After graduating took job interviews. Undrafted. P-Squad. Cut 7 times. God, Prayer & Hard Work… Anything Is Possible!🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/51isXQQhZW
— Craig Reynolds (@13_CJR) December 13, 2021
Reynolds also mentions the Bible verse Luke 18:27 in his Twitter bio. The verse reads, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Reynolds, a 25-year-old Pennsylvania native, hasn’t had a smooth path to become a starting NFL running back. He was with Kutztown University (Division II) for five seasons after receiving no Division I offers out of high school, and despite being a first-team selection in his conference three consecutive seasons, he went undrafted in 2019. Most of his NFL career has been spent on practice squads.
Now in his first true opportunity as a running back, he’s making the most of it. Meanwhile, the Lions are also changing the narrative of their season. Rallying around first-year coach Dan Campbell, they’ve won two of their last three contests after enduring a tie and five one-score losses in their first 11 games.
Next up for Detroit is a road game against the Atlanta Falcons (6-8) at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday. Reynolds is expected to be the starter once again with D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams still dealing with injuries.
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