Detroit Lions: Is there a cure for their ailing run defense?
By Robert Jones
As the Detroit Lions head into their bye week, they are putting in some extra work to fix the run defense. But can it be fixed with its current personnel?
Let’s get this out of the way first and foremost. Yes, the Detroit Lions received a gift from the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, but at least they were opportunistic enough to take advantage of it.
The Lions defense this season can only be described as everything you might expect from this franchise.
They tantalize you with their pass defense which is ranked fifth in the NFL and their 17 sacks which ranks third overall, but then bring the reality of surrendering 145.8 yards a game on the ground each week which ranks dead last. That’s right, a whopping 32nd out of 32 teams.
Not to mention only six other teams are giving up more points a game than the Lions lofty 27.4 a contest.
This may be one of the ultimate split personalities in sports.
Now let’s start with the Packer game. No one misses three field goal attempts and an extra point in a game. At least not in the NFL.
Yet it did happen. And despite the Packers ringing up over 500 yards of total offense against the Lions, they were left holding the bag for once while the Lions laughed their way off the field.
That usually works the other way around.
So the Packers had twice as much total offense as the Lions, but couldn’t win. The reason? The Lions defense. Yes, you all heard me right. The Lions defense played a big part in this victory. But it doesn’t change the fact that this unit still desperately needs to improve.
It only means they did make some plays, but at the end of the day they were more opportunistic than good.
Now in the Lions favor, they did hold the Packers to three field goal attempts, I won’t count the last one since that was the Packers choice to attempt the field goal rather than throw to the end zone. But they also gave up 5.5 yards a carry to Jamaal Williams and 5.7 yards a carry to Aaron Jones which is completely inexcusable.
The only reason it didn’t affect the outcome of the game was due to the Packers settling for field goal attempts. Ones that they missed in the first half and had to pass the ball in the second half to dig their way out of their 24 point deficit. As a result, Williams and Jones combined for only 13 rushing attempts.
Apparently, that’s the secret formula; build a big lead so opponents have to pass and can’t take advantage of the Lions putrid run defense.