Running game passes first test, shows room for improvement
In the NFL preseason it’s tough to judge the running game and there was some hand-wringing from Lions’ fans. It didn’t look as pretty as the passing game which was stellar.
At Tampa on Sunday though, the running game passed the test when the Lions amassed 126 rushing yards in the 27-20 win over the Bucs.
Coach Jim Schwartz said on Monday that it was spotty the whole game and he wants to see less negative-yardage plays.
“Overall we did a lot of things we wanted to do with our run game — 126 yards rushing, it was lopsided when you compared that to Tampa’s run stats (56 rushing yards). I think we took advantage of our run opportunities,’’ Schwartz said.
“Their defense was definitely geared toward stopping the pass but we still had a good day passing the ball and I think Matt (Stafford) for the most part got us in plays to be able to run the ball,’’ the coach added.
It was different in the fourth quarter when the Lions had a 14-point lead and were trying to run the clock. Schwartz said Stafford couldn’t move much at that point due to leg cramps from the heat.
Jahvid Best had 21 carries for 72 yards, Jerome Harrison had eight for 27 yards — that’s 3.4 yards per carry for each.
“It was a good start for us, the biggest thing is just getting the win and we went out there and did that so that’s the biggest thing,’’ Best said.
Maurice Morris had two carries for four yards, but fumbled twice. He’s coming off a broken hand which was an issue.
No one denies there’s room for improvement, perhaps that will come on Sunday against the Chiefs at Ford Field.
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