While there were not a lot of positives to take away from the loss on Turkey Day, one running back has proven to have a bright future for the Detroit Lions.
The 2019 season for the Detroit Lions is officially over in terms of playoff chances, as the small string of hope was snapped on Thanksgiving Day when the Lions lost their second game of the season to the Monsters of the Midway.
Despite the loss, the offense looked versatile thanks to newly-acquired running back Bo Scarbrough opening up the offense for third-string quarterback David Blough. While the defense held the former Alabama back to 2.3 yards per carry in the first quarter, it opened up Blough to throw for a few big plays early on against one of the best defenses in the NFL in Chicago.
Things only got better for Scarbrough as the game went along, as over the next 45 minutes, Scarbrough’s bruising style, coupled with some success from Blough, wore down the Chicago defense and by the time he finished the game, he brought his average up to 4.0 yards per carry — totaling 83 yards on 21 carries.
While those numbers don’t seem too impressive to the naked eye, but for a guy who was previously released from the Dallas Cowboys and waived by the Seattle Seahawks, this stat-line has to be a sign of relief.
Scarbrough has been able to prove that he can go off for big games, as he was impressive in his time with the Alabama Crimson Tide. In a busy backfield full of future NFL backs, Scarbrough was still able to put up 1,512 yards and 20 touchdowns through 31 games. He has proven that he deserves a spot in a starting role in this league, which makes his seventh-round draft slot laughable.
Through three games with the Detroit Lions, Scarbrough has been the leader in the Detroit backfield by far, he has rushed 53 times for 236 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and a rushing touchdown a few weeks back against the Dallas Cowboys.
He has actually led the team in snaps multiple times this season, and Scarbrough is getting roughly half the snaps out of the backfield, out-touching the Lions collective backfield running backs 3.5 to 1. The former seventh-round pick is making the most of his opportunity.
His running style is similar to that of former Seattle Seahawks standout Marshawn Lynch, as while he doesn’t have blazing speed, he has the strength and size to run over defenders while also having the field awareness to read cutback lanes beautifully.
The running back who started the season for the Lions, Kerryon Johnson, has proven to be injury-prone, as this is the second season in a row that he is going to end the season on the IR.
Him and Scarbrough could be a great 1-2 punch out of the backfield, and with Scarbrough on a cheap contract, they have enough young talent in these two backs and rookie Ty Johnson to save a few dollars by letting J.D. McKissic walk in free agency.
Until Kerryon Johnson proves that he can stay healthy for a full season, this will remain Bo Scarbrough’s backfield, as he clearly has proven that he deserves the throne atop the Detroit Lions offense.