The Lions are on a ridiculous pace for third-down defense. They lead the NFL on third down, allowing opponents to convert only 21.3 percent of the time.
Even head coach Jim Schwartz knows that pace isn’t sustainable, but he’s certainly enjoyed it through the first month of the season.
“I think our defensive staff and Gunther Cunningham do a good job at preparing the players for what opponents do,” Schwartz said Monday.
“I think we work hard to put our players in good positions and let them do what they do the best. I think it’s just a result of that. I’d caution reading anything in to any stat at four weeks of the season. We certainly spent a lot of time on third down and we want to get off the field on third down. It’s just the rate we’re going at now is pretty tough to sustain.”
Reading too much into stats is exactly why we designed the Stats Pack feature, though. So, let's have a look.
The Lions have a good meld of the proper talents on defense to be good on third down.
- They can rush the passer
- They have players in the backend who can get the ball
- They have an underrated group of linebackers that has been playing the pass very well
The league average for third-down defense is 37.7. That shows how dominant the Lions have been.
Here’s a look at some other key stats – good and bad – after four weeks of football:
Offense: 6th overall (21 rush, 5 pass) -- 4th in points scored
Defense: 18th overall (20 rush, 21 pass) -- 20th points allowed
Offense: 3rd overall (9 rush, 3 pass) -- 2nd in points scored
Defense: 28th overall (8 rush, 28 pass) – 27th in points allowed
- The overall opponent passer rating vs. the Lions defense this year is 69.4. That's the fifth-best mark in NFL. The league average is 87.2.
- Lions had 11 interceptions in 2012. They have eight so far in 2013.
DeAndre Levy(2), Glover Quin (2), Louis Delmas(2), Chris Houston(1), and Stephen Tulloch(1).
- Detroit has 625 receiving yards after the catch this year. That's No. 1 in the NFL. The league average is 377.
- The Lions' defense ranks near the bottom in the NFL (29th) allowing an average 6.59 yards per play on first down. Part of the reason they’ve had to be so good on third down.
- Running back
Reggie Bushranks ninth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (433). He has 254 rushing yards and 179 receiving yards. He’s also missed six quarters because of injury.
- The Packers rank near last in the NFC and 31st in the NFL in defense inside the 20 (11 possessions, nine touchdowns); the Lions are fifth in the NFC and tied for ninth in NFL (13 possessions, five touchdowns).
- Through the first month of the season, the NFC North is a high-scoring division. After Denver (45.75), Green Bay (32), Chicago (31.75), Detroit (30.5) and Minnesota (28.75) rank in top five in points-per-game average.
- Lions quarterback
Matthew Staffordhas the fifth-best passer rating in the NFL in the fourth quarter (114.7).
- Lions rank first in the NFL in average starting field position at home (39.8) and last on the road (17.8).
- Detroit is plus-four in turnover ratio. Eight of the top 10 teams in the NFL standings are plus-four or better. Exceptions are Denver ( 1) and Miami (-1), which entered Monday night's game at plus-two.
- After scoring five touchdowns all of last year,
Calvin Johnsonhas four through four games, good enough to tie for sixth among NFL leading scorers (non-kickers).
- The Lions rank in the top 10 in the NFL allowing a touchdown just 38.5 percent (5-of-13) of the time an opponent gets in the red zone.
- The Lions' offense is second in the NFL with 91 first downs. San Diego is No. 1 with 92.
David Akersleads the NFC in scoring with 36 points. He’s made 8-of-10 field goals and all 14 extra point attempts.
- Rookie punter
Sam Martinmoved up to fourth in the NFL in punting with an average of 48.8. Miami's Brandon Fields is No. 1 at 49.7.
- Running back
Joique Bellis third in the league in receiving yards among running backs (207). New Orleans’ Darren Sproles (277) and Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles (213) have more.