The Detroit Lions are not a dominate running team. But their rushing attack behind starting running back Ameer Abdullah only has to be respectable.
Since the start of the new millennium, the Lions have had three running backs rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season. Those players being James Stewart (2000, 2002), Kevin Jones (2004) and Reggie Bush (2013).
But in those four years, Detroit has had a combined win/loss record of 25-39 and failed to make the playoffs in each season. Without a dominate running game, this current version of the Lions has made the playoffs twice of the past three years.
Now that fact doesn’t mean the Lions should abandon to running game altogether. In fact, adding a consistent rushing attack to their current pass heavy offense could be the key to unlocking the postseason success that’s evaded this franchise for 25 years.
But Detroit’s ground game doesn’t need to be the focal point of the offense. Instead, all the Lions’ coaching staff wants is a rushing attack that opposing defenses have to at least respect.
"“We are not a team that’s going to run the ball for 300 yards in a game,” head coach Jim Caldwell told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s not a wishbone. So, we just need to be respectable. And I think that’s what we were on Monday, and what we’re working to do is improve upon that and make certain that our running game is respectable against a great front that we got to face with linebackers that can run and tackle, and a secondary that’s outstanding.”"
Against the New York Giants Monday night, the Lions’ rushing attack showed signs of gaining that respect. Ameer Abdullah rushed for 86 yards on 17 carries, nearly posting Detroit’s first 100-yard game for a Lions’ running back in four years!
The Motor City’s success on the ground allowed them to easily defeat the Giants at home Monday night. And Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford only had to throw for 122 passing yards in order to do so. That;s what having a respectable running game can do for this Detroit Lions’ team moving forward.