O'HARA: Lions' run game a bright spot for offense

Detroit Lions fullback Jason Cabinda has learned that his job isn't over after he has watched D'Andre Swift break through one of the big holes Cabinda helped create for a long gain.

There can be more work to do before Swift finishes the run.

"Every single time he gets past me, I have to finish the play," Cabinda said this week. "He's going to make the next guy miss.

"Who knows? Maybe I can pick up the touchdown block. You always have to play through the whistle when Swift's on the field getting loose."

The development of the running game in recent weeks has been the bright spot for the Lions' offense. Swift has led the way to the end zone with his break-away speed and ability to make defenders miss in the open field.

Swift has gotten most of the attention for his production in the last two games. He rushed for 130 yards against the Steelers two weeks ago and backed that up with 136 – and a 57-yard TD run – in Sunday's game against the Browns.

The Lions would like to keep rolling on the ground against the Chicago Bears Thursday in the traditional Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field.

Overall, seven different players have at least one 20-yard gain. That's the most of any team. Cabinda was number seven last week with a 21-yard run up the middle on a play that caught the Browns flatfooted.

Others on the Lions' running back depth chart have made substantial contributions in their limited opportunities.

Rookie Jermar Jefferson had an eight-yard TD run for the Lions' only score against the Eagles.

Much more meaningful was Jefferson's performance against the Steelers in the next game. He had three carries for 41 yards, with a 28-yard TD run.

Unfortunately, Jefferson sustained an ankle injury when he was hit crossing the goal line. It kept him out of the last two games.

Also against the Steelers, Godwin Igwebuike had two carries for 56 yards with a 42-yard TD run. For the season, he has five carries for 74 yards.

Of course, Jamaal Williams plays more than a bit role in the running game. As part of the 1-2 punch with Swift, he's rushed for 323 yards despite missing two games with a thigh injury.

Cabinda has had only four carries in his four-year career. Three were this season. Two have gained first downs, as has his only reception. One run was a clutch two-yard gain on fourth and one in the fourth quarter against the Steelers.

The 21-yard run against the Browns was special for Cabinda. It was a reward for the hard work he has put in, and also for taking advantage of a rare opportunity that fullbacks don't often get.

"It was definitely huge for me to have that carry – breaking free to get some good yards," Cabinda said. "It was a confidence booster for me."

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