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Against Chicago, offense showed more of being a 'two-headed monster'

Posted Oct 13, 2011

As an offense that’s built to throw the ball, the Lions’ running game can at times be overlooked, but the passing yards play a big role in setting up the run plays, and by working together, it made a big impact on Monday night against Chicago.
 
Running back Jahvid Best finished with a career-high 163 yards against the Bears, which included two explosive carries, an 88-yard touchdown return and a 43-yard run in the fourth quarter to set up a field goal.
 
Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan says this was really the first time that people were able to see how the two elements of their offense can really work together to be effective.
 
“When you’re so conscious on a team about the passing game, when you get a crease with a guy that has the juice that Jahvid has, you can see what can happen,” he said.
 
“We’ve all been working hard at getting to that point and having a couple plays like that because really, it changes everything for us. It gives us more of a two-headed monster, as opposed to being a team that that is keeping the defense honest with the run game.”
 
When evaluating how those plays broke out it comes down to looking at the execution of the offense in terms of individual player match-ups, and scheme.
 
Linehan says it was a combination of the two that led to big plays.
 
“Our players, when they have a good scheme, they execute it,” he said. “When they have a good understanding of what we’re doing, then they go and make the plays.”
 
Guard Rob Sims said a lot of their ability to get the running game to be as effective as it was had to do with their preparation during the week.
 
“It was just like the coaches drew it up, just like we do it in practice,” said Sims. “(Lance) Briggs went out there and chased whoever and Jahvid ran straight and faster than anybody else.
 
“I think it was a little bit of everything. Our execution was good from a blocking standpoint and the big reason was because we were practicing it all week.”
 
Through the first five games, Detroit has gone up against some stout defenses that do a good job of stopping the run. This week against San Francisco will prove to be no exception.
 
Running mostly a 3-4 defense, the 49ers have a solid group that are currently tied for fourth in the league in rushing yards per game (76.4).
 
“They don’t really have to load the box to stop the run, mainly because they play very gap sound defense and then the linebackers play off of that,” said Linehan.
 
“The linebackers make all of their tackles, both linebackers are leading tacklers and I think that’s really what you want to see as a defense. We’re going to have to block, stay on blocks, and not just the line and the tight ends, but the perimeters.”
 
Sims agrees that this week will be a challenge for the offensive line, especially in shifting back to preparing for a 3-4 scheme.
 
“This week with Justin Smith, who’s probably one of the strongest guys in the league, he’s got a good, nice head start at you,” said Sims. “Running right downhill at you, that’s’ tough, that’s the difference.
 
“Some teams when they play their 3-4, I think we have good matchups and sometimes you play teams that have good 4-3 matchups. It’s just whatever is up that week. It seems like it’s been a test (for us) every single week, but I guess that’s the NFL.”

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