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Twentyman's bye week report: Offense

The Lions are 3-3, and looking to heal up heading into their bye week. Detroit got off to a hot start, but has lost their last two games and three of their last four.

As head coach Jim Caldwell said this week, the bye has come at a good time for the Lions.

"I think in terms of our health it does, yeah," he said. "Because we're going to need a little time, it's a good thing we're not playing a Thursday night game or something of that nature ... or even next Sunday probably with some guys.

"So, with the amount of time that we have, it comes in a good time in terms of where we are right now. You'd love to have it halfway, but six games in, we'll take it in this situation."

Inconsistencies on offense, and some slow starts, have played a factor in Detroit's last two losses.


The good: Stafford has had an up and down first six games. He's thrown 12 touchdown passes, which is tied with Kansas City's Alex Smith for the fifth most in the league. He's also shown throughout the year that the Lions are never out of a game in the fourth quarter with him at the helm.

View the best photos of the Detroit Lions offense during the first six weeks of the 2017 NFL season.

Stafford continues to show how tough of a player he is. He's been hit too many times this year, but continues to battle through those hits and some bumps and bruises he's developed because of them.

The bad: Stafford was very good taking care of the football early on this season, but the turnovers have started to pile up lately. He turned it over five times vs. the Saints (three interceptions and two fumbles) and now has four interceptions and four lost fumbles in six games. He has six fumbles total.

Stafford's completion percentage of 60.4 ranks just 26th and his passer rating of 89.3 is 16th.

One statistic that sticks out is Stafford's passing vs. the blitz. He has a passer rating of just 66.3 when blitzed, and has been sacked 10 times.


The good: The Lions are still struggling to find consistency in the run game, but have flashes of solid play on the ground, which proves they're capable there moving forward.

Detroit completely controlled the New York Giants game on the ground, rushing for 138 yards as a team.

In Detroit's victory in Minnesota, Ameer Abdullah was poised to break the Lions' 55-game streak of not having a 100-yard rusher had he not rolled his ankle early in the fourth quarter. Abdullah had 20 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown against one of the best rushing defenses in the league.

The bad: The problem with Detroit's run game is that there's been just as much bad, if not a little more, than there's been good. Their 84.0 yards per game ranks 28th in the NFL. They notched just 71 yards on the ground vs. Atlanta, 50 vs. Carolina and 66 against New Orleans. All three of those contests were losses for the Lions.

The Lions are averaging just 3.52 yards per attempt. Coaches like to see that number at 4.0 or better. Only 35.7 percent of Detroit's runs gain at least four yards, the fifth-lowest percentage in the league.


The good: Golden Tate continues to play good football in Detroit. His 36 receptions are seventh-most in the league, and he leads the NFL with 13 receptions on third down.

Kenny Golladay, when healthy, has proven he can be a downfield and red zone threat for this team. The team is hoping they can get their rookie receiver back on the field after the bye week as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the last three games.

TJ Jones has caught 13 passes this season, 11 of those have gone for first downs. His 84.6 first-down percentage is the second-highest in the league. He's been solid.

Marvin Jones Jr. is tied for the team lead with three touchdown receptions.

The bad: The Lions aren't getting enough explosive plays from the position. There have also been instances this year where they've struggled to beat press coverage and get consistent separation.

Stafford has just eight passing plays of 25-plus yards, which ranks 20th. The two longest pass plays for the Lions this season were the 45-yard touchdown Stafford threw to Golladay Week 1 and Tate's 45-yard catch and run down sideline last week in New Orleans. This offense needs more explosive plays.


The good: The Lions appear to have found a versatile weapon in Darren Fells. The veteran tight end was brought over via free agency as one of the best blocking tight ends in the league. But the former professional basketball player is a terrific athlete, and the Lions told him when he signed he'd get an opportunity to be a factor in the passing game. He's certainly been that.

With Eric Ebron's struggles early this season, Fells has gotten more opportunities in the pass game, and is taking advantage of them. He's tied with Jones Jr. for the team lead with three touchdowns. He's caught 10 of his 13 targets for 101 yards.

The bad: Ebron continues to struggle with consistency. He was terrific in New York Week 2, leading the Lions with five receptions and scoring a touchdown. In the other five games, however, he's either been a non-factor or struggled catching the football. He's caught just half (13) of his targets (26) this season for 102 yards and one score. He's also had a few key drops. The Lions need him to be more consistent moving forward.


The good: The Lions spent considerable resources to upgrade the right side of their offensive line with the signing of guard T.J. Lang and tackle Rick Wagner. Detroit's offensive line has struggled as a unit, but Lang and Wagner have played pretty well individually. Both players are graded among the top 10 at their respective positions by Pro Football Focus.

One statistic that shows how much the Lions value those two guys is that they've run the football 66 times to the right, 20 more times than they've run left.

Starting left tackle Taylor Decker (PUP) could be back on the field soon. That would give this unit a huge boost. Greg Robinson, who's been filling in for Decker early on, has allowed 5.5 sacks in six games.

The bad: Sacks aren't only on the offensive line, but the line plays a big factor them. Stafford's been sacked 23 times, which is more than any quarterback in the NFL. That's not good enough.

Detroit's had 23 rushes of negative yards, the fourth most in the NFL. That statistic is more on the offensive line than it is on the running backs.


He continues to be a reliable weapon for Stafford. Hopefully, the shoulder injury that forced him out of last week's Saints game doesn't sideline him for too long. Tate leads the Lions with 36 receptions, 13 more than the next guy (Theo Riddick) on the list. His 363 receiving yards also leads the team.


It's too bad we've seen so little of Golladay this season because of the hamstring injury. He's missed half the season thus far because of it. Golladay (6-4, 213) caught two touchdown passes in his first game as a professional Week 1 vs. Arizona. That game showed his potential in this offense.


Fells was brought in to help Detroit's edge blocking. He's proven he's not just a one-trick pony. His three touchdown receptions are tied for the team lead, and he's expected to continue to be a key part of the passing game moving forward.

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