The Detroit Lions have been a team that utilizes the running back in the passing game ever since Theo Riddick was drafted in 2013.
Riddick has caught 30-or-more passes in five consecutive seasons, the longest streak among active running backs. He's caught a pass in his last 51 games played, the longest streak among running backs. Arizona's David Johnson has the next longest streak at 37 games.
Riddick has 36 receptions on the year – 13 coming the last two weeks playing a bigger role after the Golden Tate trade – for 234 yards.
The addition of Kerryon Johnson to Detroit's backfield this season via a second-round draft pick has now given the Lions a dual-threat option from their backfield in the passing game.
Johnson has 30 catches on the year for 203 yards and a touchdown.
Detroit is the only team in the NFL with two running backs that have recorded at least 30 receptions through the first 10 weeks of the season.
Lions running backs overall have combined to record 74 receptions of the team's 223 completions, accounting for 33.2 percent of the team's receptions. Only Oakland (33.6 percent) and New England (33.5 percent) are getting more pass-reception production from the running back position.
"I think it gives you a few more threats on the field when you do drop back and pass," Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said of having runners as receiving threats. "There are certain defenses in this league that can really key on different receivers and drop to certain depths to take away deeper routes. When you're able to throw the ball to the back and make some yards, whether that's underneath or wherever on the field, has value for an offense to attack a defense."
Pro Football Focus Week 10 grades:
Top 3 graded players on offense by Pro Football Focus vs. Chicago (at least 10 snaps):
- RB Theo Riddick (71.1)
- WR Kenny Golladay (70.4)
- LT Taylor Decker (69.7)
Bottom 3 graded players on offense by Pro Football Focus vs. Chicago (at least 10 snaps):
- WR Brandon Powell (51.0)
- WR TJ Jones (53.6)
- TE Michael Roberts (53.6)
Top 3 graded players on defense by Pro Football Focus vs. Chicago (at least 10 snaps):
- DT Damon Harrison (83.4)
- DE Ziggy Ansah (82.6)
- LB Christian Jones (77.3)
Bottom 3 graded players on defense by Pro Football Focus vs. Chicago (at least 10 snaps):
- LB Jarrad Davis (45.1)
- CB Nevin Lawson (45.8)
- LB Devon Kennard (46.1)
Here are some other statistics, both good and bad, for the Lions after ten weeks of football:
- Sunday was the first time the Lions have lost three consecutive games by 10 or more points since 2009.
- Kerryon Johnson's 554 rushing yards are fourth most among rookies runners behind Phillip Lindsay (591), Saquon Barkley (586) and Nick Chubb (579).
- Detroit's 19 penalties from offensive players through nine games are the second fewest in the league (New England, 16). However, their 25 defensive penalties are the eighth most, and 15 special teams penalties are fourth most.
- Matthew Stafford's 93.8 passer rating ranks 17th in the NFL. His fourth quarter passer rating of 102.3 is 16th. His third down passer rating of 80.0 ranks 28th.
- Matt Prater's 70 points ranks in the top 10 (ninth) among kickers.
- Sam Martin's 36.6 net punting average – a team statistic – ranks last in the league.