In a pretty desolate 2021 season, Detroit Lions fans have at least been treated to a decent run game: D’Andre Swift managed back-to-back 100-yard games and offensive line fans get to drool over Penei Sewell run blocking highlights each week. That’s great, but in the end, you really need to attack down the field sometimes in the modern NFL. Good ball-control offense keeps the game close, but once in striking distance the team must be prepared to do something to seize the game.
For those who believe the current run-focused offense is too conservative and needs to open up the aggressive part of the playbook, Justin Rogers from the Detroit News has a fantastically horrible factoid to share.
The columns below are third-down distance, times Lions have run the ball in those situations and where that figure ranks across the league. pic.twitter.com/N9aeoj6802
— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) November 26, 2021
According to Rogers, out of the 16 times the Lions have run the ball on third-and-long this season, they have only converted four into a new set of downs. As our own Chris Perfett put it, you’d like to “end this team’s incredibly useless succession of third-and-long situations that go nowhere, but the quarterback and receiver options are beyond sub-optimal.”
Running in these situations often feels like the team is giving up on even bothering to try and reach the sticks, which is a terrible feeling. Thanksgiving, at least, showed some reason to hope the addition of familiar face Josh Reynolds will jar starting quarterback Jared Goff out of his funk and induce more throws down the field, but the last few weeks have been tough to stomach.
Weren’t we done with the conservative attitude of the last regime? What happened to the surprisingly aggressive Dan Campbell that was rolling the dice to compensate for a lackluster roster? The job is incredibly tough and this is just year one, so at least there is a chance for things to improve.
In the meantime, if the Lions are going to lose games then at the least it would be nice if they could just go nuts and play some wacky wide-open football. Make it fun to watch instead of whatever this is. Now, on to the rest of your weekend Notes: