After a big win vs. the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football, the Detroit Lions are looking to keep the momentum rolling this week as they head to Dallas.
“I think those guys prepared really hard last week,” head coach Matt Patricia said Monday. “I think it’s a good example to go back and say, ‘Hey, this is what Wednesday looked like and this is how it paid off in the game. This is what Thursday looked like and that’s how it paid off in the game. This is what Friday looked like, this is how our preparation, our rest, our recovery, all aspects of the things that we do to help us get ready for the game paid off.’”
One of the biggest positives to come out of last week's contest was the emergence of a legitimate running game, led by rookie running back Kerryon Johnson. Johnson broke the Lions' 70-game streak without a 100-yard rusher, finishing the game with 101 yards on 16 carries for a 6.3 average.
“I think that was our most physical game that I’ve seen,” Johnson said this week. “I just think (the O-line) came ready to play. They got tired of (the talk about the run game), just like we got tired of it, just like the organization got tired of it, and they came out and made a decision like, ‘hey, this is what we’re going to do today’ and we stuck to it.”
In addition to a strong run blocking performance, the Lions' offensive line was also very good in pass protection, limiting the hits on quarterback Matthew Stafford to one sack. Stafford is currently the least sacked quarterback (among qualifying passers) in the NFL through three games.
“Is that the deal, huh? I didn’t even know that,” Stafford said Thursday when informed of the fact. “That’s great. Our guys up front are fighting like crazy. I knew it was less. I don’t know the numbers. I don’t check on everybody around the league. But I knew our guys were doing a good job up front.”
The key now for the offensive line is to continue to stack good performances.
“It’s been a while since we had a game like that,” veteran right guard T.J. Lang said. “It’s obviously something we’re hoping to build off of.
“That’s the type of game we’ve been talking about playing since we got together as a group in April,” Lang said. “But that’s in the past in our mind, we put that to bed early on Monday and got a new challenge ahead of us in Dallas. They’re a very good defense.”
CONTAINING THE COWBOYS
While this week's opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, have had some struggles with their passing offense this season, their run game is still as formidable as ever.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Game situations have forced the Cowboys to abandon the run at times this year, but Elliott hopes to see more work soon.
“I’d love to see it more,” Elliott told reporters covering the Cowboys this week. “It’s the nature of the first three games we played. We’ve been down. It’s hard to come back and try to run the ball.
“When you’re running out of time in the game, you can’t be sitting there trying to pound it. You’ve got to conserve that clock and try to score as fast as you can.”
For Mike O'Hara's full scouting report on the Cowboys, click here.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- Linebacker Devon Kennard talks about his purpose, focus and faith in this week's edition of Under the Helmet.
- Tim Twentyman takes a look at the good and the bad for each of the four teams in the NFC North.
- Catch up on all the news from Jim Bob Cooter and Paul Pasqualoni's Tuesday conference calls.
- Watch guard T.J. Lang sit down with tight end Luke Willson for the second episode of Talkin' With T.J.