Detroit Lions running game disappears in loss to Seahawks
The Detroit Lions were forced to abandon their running game far too early due to the scoreboard against the Seattle Seahawks in Week Eight.
This offseason, the Detroit Lions front office made a commitment to improve their rushing attack, which was the NFL’s worst in 2017. Three key acquisitions were made with the hope of turning their biggest weakness into a strength.
Those moves were the signing veteran running back LeGarrette Blount via free agency. And in the 2018 NFL Draft, selecting Arkansas center Frank Ragnow and Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson with their first two selections respectively.
After a slow start to the season, the plan seemed to be working. In Week Three, against the New England Patriots, Johnson posted the first 100+ yard rushing day by a Lion since 2013.
Last weekend, in a 32-21 win over the Miami Dolphins, Detroit recorded a season-high 248 yards on the ground. That’s the highest rushing total in a contest from the Lions since 1997 when Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders posted an incredible career-high of 2,053 rushing yards that season.
Against a Seattle defense that allows an average of 120.7 rushing yards per game, 24th worst in the league coming into the contest, the Lions figured they’d be able to run all over the Seahawks at Ford Field on Sunday afternoon. Instead, it was the complete opposite.
The vaunted Lions running attack posted a paltry 34 rushing yards against the Seahawks. Let me write that again … 34 rushing yards. In fact, it was Seattle who did the damage on the ground, running around and through Detroit’s defense to the tune of 176 total rushing yards.
Johnson ran the ball just eight times for 22 yards, averaging 2.8 yards per attempt. He had 158 yards on 19 carries against the Dolphins. Blount only recorded three yards on three carries against Seattle after posting 50 yards and a touchdown on 10 attempts in Miami.
After Detroit jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, the Seahawks put up a 21-point second quarter, forcing the Lions’ offense to abandon the run.
The Lions’ running game was unable to produce the kinds of chunk plays versus the Seahawks that it did against the Dolphins in Week Seven. And a bulk of the blame lies on the offensive line, which had been performing much better as of late.
But the fact the Detroit Lions abandoned the run so early also shows how much this team still needs to learn about being a balanced offense, even in the midst of a comeback. Especially considering the success they had on the ground in their previous game.