Detroit Lions have simply shut down opposing running backs lately (and all season)

Possibly lost in all the controversy of Week 17, the Detroit Lions are simply shutting down opposing running backs lately (and really all season).
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Amid all the controversy over the finish to the Week 17 game against the Dallas Cowboys, it might have been easy to miss how well the Detroit Lions' defense played in that game. Take out the night wide receiver CeeDee Lamb had (13 catches for 227 yards, with a 92-yard touchdown), and the Cowboys got little else going offensively.

More specifically the Lions held Cowboys running back Tony Pollard to 49 yards on 16 carries in Week 17, and he had one run that went for 18 yards. The week before, the Lions held Vikings' running back Ty Chandler to 17 yards on eight carries and Minnesota's running backs had 16 yards on the ground. The week before that, the Broncos' trio of running backs (Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Jaleel McLaughlin) combined for 66 yards on 20 carries.

Detroit Lions' defense has simply shut down opposing running backs this season

Since their Week 9 bye (h/t to Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire), the Lions have allowed just 474 rushing yards on 151 carries (3.2 yards per carry) to opposing running backs Quarterbacks and wide receivers, and whatever label you want to give Taysom Hill, have fared a lot better against the Lions on the ground.

Getting down to it, opposing running backs really haven't found room to run against Detroit all season (3.4 yards per carry; 58.4 rushing yards per game).

Risdon added another recent note about the Lions' stifling of opposing running backs.

"It looks even better on first-down carries by running backs. The Lions have more tackles-for-loss on running backs (10) than runs of five or more yards (9) on 1st-and-10 runs in the last six games."

Overall the Lions have the NFL's fifth-best run defense entering Week 18 (88.8 yards allowed per game), and they are a couple notches better in yards per carry allowed (3.7; tied for third-best in the league).

Whatever ups and downs the Lions' defense has had this season, they have basically removed opposing running backs from the offensive equation for their opponents.


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