A Look At The Defensive Rushing Touchdowns Let Up By Detroit In 2016.
Detroit’s Run Stopping Success In ’16
While the Lions’ defensive unit was solidly in the middle of the pack in terms of rushing yards this past season, they ranked 2nd overall in keeping opposing rushers out of the end zone. The Lions trail the number one ranked Patriots by two touchdowns in this category. The Lions allowed a total of eight touchdowns with the Patriots allowing only six.
The Lions opened the season well against the ground game. The defense did not allow a single touchdown in the first five weeks of the season. The first one coming from a one yard scamper by Case Keenum in Week six. The following week they gave up their second rushing touchdown, again to a quarterback. This time it was Kirk Cousins with a 19 yard scramble for the go ahead touchdown before Matthew Stafford engineered the late game comeback.
The Lions also did not allow many yards on the rushing touchdowns they gave up. With the exception of Ezekiel Elliot’s 55 yard run and Cousin’s scramble, the remaining six touchdowns total only 10 yards, with all except one of the touchdowns being one yard scores.
Hopefully, with the additions of Paul Worrilow and Jarrad Davis the Lions can help limit these goal line stands and improve in this area in 2017.
Poor Pass Defense Could Be A Factor
However, it is likely some of this had to do with how bad the Lions were at stopping the passing game. In 2016, the Lions gave up 33 touchdowns through the air. That was the 31st worst ranking in the NFL.
With teams finding such success against the Lions defense passing, it could partially be responsible for the low rushing touchdown totals. It’s feasible that teams took notice of this weakness and chose to exploit it versus trying to get the touchdown on the ground.