Can the Detroit Lions current running backs break this record?

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Can the current Detroit Lions running backs have the same kind of success their predecessors did?

I’m sure most people can remember the last time the Detroit Lions had a decent run game. It was seven years ago, back in 2013 when we watched the last 1,000-yard rusher as well as watching then running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell set an NFL record for the only duo in NFL history to both accumulate 500+ rushing and 500+ receiving yards in the same season.

It’s a feature that has still yet to be repeated. It’s not an easy task to have two successful running backs in the NFL.

The only other team to even come close recently was the New Orleans Saints back in 2017 where running back Mark Ingram was only 81 receiving yards away from setting the same record with teammate running back Alvin Kamara. Even with two of the better backs in the NFL it’s difficult to accomplish.

Current Detroit Lions running backs Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift are two very talented backs that can both catch the ball in space when needed. If you look at their receptions they do show some promise.

In three years at Georgia, Swift generated 73 receptions for 666 yards, and in Johnson’s first two years in the NFL he’s caught 42 receptions for 340 yards. Not huge numbers thus far, although some could argue that Johnson’s numbers could be higher if not due to injuries both seasons.

Can Johnson and Swift stay healthy an entire season for the Detroit Lions?

That’s the keyword for majority of the team, injuries. As just mentioned above we’ve seen both of Johnson’s first two seasons cut short due to knee problems.

Also Swift has had his fair share of injuries as well, including foot and ankle injuries back in 2018, as well as nagging shoulder problem towards the end of his 2019 season. He also never had more than 200 carries any given year. The benefit of having two capable running backs on the team will be very beneficial to both of them.

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There is also a lot of other factors that go into the run game of a team other than just how good your running backs are statistically. You’ve got to factor in the health and quality of the offensive line, how much the team actually likes to run the ball and whether you’re leading or trailing in a game.

Everyone knows Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has consistently had a strong run game everywhere he’s coached prior. Lions fans can expect that to continue this year.

As far as actually breaking the record set by Bush and Bell back in 2013, it is not going to be an easy task. I for one, see it as a long shot to happen. Especially considering the fact that the Detroit Lions have so many weapons on offense and have three very skilled running backs they can plug and play for any situation.

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If you look around the league and try to determine another running back duo that could accomplish it, I don’t see a team with the talent and all around players that the Detroit Lions do. Even if Johnson and Swift don’t break the record, you can still expect big things from the run game this year.