Twentyman: Red zone offense showed life last week, can Lions keep it going?

Posted Nov 2, 2012

With all the talent on offense, it was baffling how the Lions were so mediocre in the red zone through the first six weeks of the season. Through six games, they scored only 11 touchdowns on 23 trips inside the 20-yard line. Even worse, they had seven scoreless possessions.

The offense snapped out of their red-zone funk in last week’s win over Seattle when they went 3-for-3 with three touchdowns.

Ryan Broyles took advantage of Calvin Johnson drawing coverage away from him for a six-yard touchdown from Matthew Stafford. Stafford took the next one in himself from 1-yard out on a bootleg. The third – the game winner in the fourth quarter – was a 1-yard touchdown pass to Titus Young, set up again by coverage drawn to Johnson.

“You’ve just got to make a conscious effort to be careful with the football, but at the same time you’ve got to be aggressive and go in and try and get touchdowns and we were able to do that,” Stafford said in a conference call with Jacksonville reporters this week.

In prior weeks, it was turnovers and a lack of execution that was stalling Lions drives in the red zone.

“Had a few fumbles, had a few picks, had a couple non-scores and those are tough to overcome in a game,” Stafford said.

“So we’ve done a good job of bouncing back and being better about that.”

The Jaguars’ defense is eighth in the NFL in red zone touchdown percentage (43.8, 14 of 32). Opponents have scored 27 times on Jacksonville in the red zone, but less than half the time that’s a touchdown.

Last week’s performance bumped the Lions’ touchdown percentage to 53.8, which is tied for 14th in the NFL.

Numbers don't lie, but the Lions should have a much higher touchdown percentage with the weapons this offense employs and the mismatches it can create.

Maybe they figured something out last week against a tough Seahawks defense?