Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson talks about third quarter scoring woes

The third quarter was a thing for the Lions' offense last year, and Ben Johnson knows it needs to be corrected.

The Detroit Lions had the fifth-best scoring offense in the NFL last season (27.1 points per game), with the third-best touchdown rate in the red zone (64.1 percent). But starting the second half of games well was an issue, leading to the third quarter earning a "turd quarter" moniker.

The Lions were tied for 20th in third scoring last year (4.2 points per game), which was (of course) quite a drop-off from being second in first quarter scoring and seventh in second quarter scoring.

To his credit, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson did not dodge addressing the issue when it came up recently (via

"I love the football questions," Johnson said. "This is great, this is good. I did this a couple of months ago, so I’m spit balling a little bit here -- I don’t have the numbers exactly in my head, but I got it, I know what the third quarter says. Overall, third quarter was not good enough for us. I didn’t watch every single snap from that particular quarter. We did go back, we studied the opening drive of the second half, we did do that," said Johnson. "There is a significant difference from the first 10 games of the season to the last 10 games of the season and how we were in the opening drive of the second half."

Ben Johnson points to positive trend in Lions' offense to start second halves

While addressing that the Lions' third quarter offense wasn't good enough last year, Johnson also pointed out a positive trend.

"We we’re significantly better in the second half of the season, the last 10 games. I want to say, those 10 games, those possessions, we scored five touchdowns, which is – 50 percent of your drives are going for touchdowns? You’re doing something right," Johnson explained. "So, I understand what’s going on out there. I do think it was something we talked about, we addressed during the season, and we started to see some results as the season went on. So, if you separate it up that way, I think we’re trending in the right direction.”

To Johnson's point, the Lions did not score on any opening drives of the second half in their first 10 games last season. From that point on, Thanksgiving through the playoffs, they scored five touchdowns on drives to start the second half with a field goal on another of those drives.

So while the third quarter scoring issues didn't completely go away for the Lions late last season, it appears Johnson figured something out in terms of the first drive to open the second half. Without doing a deep breakdown, it's fair to assume a shift toward being a little more aggressive with play-calling helped things. Whatever adjustments brought that turnaround, that should further evolve this year.