Just how bad has the Detroit Lions’ pass rush been? A new graph perfectly illustrates it
The Detroit Lions have struggled to apply a consistent pass rush during the three-year run of head coach Matt Patricia. The defense hasn’t had a player record a double-digit sack total since Patricia’s hiring in early 2018. In fact, the year before, defensive end Ezekiel Ansah racked up 12.0 sacks under former head coach Jim Caldwell.
Five weeks into the 2020 NFL regular season, things don’t appear to have changed when it comes to the pass rush under Patricia. Through their first four games, the Lions have recorded a total of five sacks as a team. That’s currently tied for 31st in the NFL.
Defensive end Romeo Okwara leads the team with 2.0 sacks. Defensive end Trey Flowers plus linebackers Jamie Collins and Reggie Ragland each have one sack apiece. Okwara was the Lions’ sack leader back in 2016, registering 7.5 sacks in 15 games.
According to Pro Football Reference, the Lions are dead last in the league in number of quarterback hurries, meaning the passer was forced to throw the ball early or was chased out of the pocket. Detroit has registered just six QB hurries in four games.
That lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks plus an inability to stop the run has resulted in the Lions fielding one of the five worst defenses in the NFL so far this season. Detroit gives up an average of 405.0 yards to opposing offenses per game. While the Lions’ pass defense ranks a respectable 13th (234.8), their run defense is last, 32nd (170.3).
Here’s a graph by ESPN’s Brian Burke that illustrates just how bad the Lions’ pass rush has been this season as compared to other NFL teams.
After losing three of their first four games of the 2020 NFL regular season, the 1-3 Detroit Lions will need to turn things around quickly in order to avoid a potential rebuild To do so, the Lions must figure out a way to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks and stop the run. It’s the kind of lingering problem that seems unlikely to be solved over a bye week.