DETROIT - No running game. No Kenny Golladay. No chance. The Lions loss to the Colts underscored a problem that’s been around longer than Ford Field: No consistent running game.
The 41-21 defeat moved the Lions (3-4) back below .500. This particular loss also gives future opponents a few insights into exactly how to stop the Lions’ offense.
“Too many third and longs,” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said after the game. “We didn’t run the ball as good as we can. We didn’t play well enough in the passing game to overcome that.”
At halftime, the Lions had seven rushing yards on seven carries. Granted, the Colts have a formidable defense, having allowed just one team this season to run for more than 100 yards, but the Indianapolis coaching staff may want to put a star next to the rushing yards allowed on the stat sheet for this victory. The Lions finished with 29 yards in total rushing. D’Andre Swift and Adrian Peterson combined for just eight yards.
“Obviously they (Colts) have a very good run defense, they’ve been that way all year,” said coach Matt Patricia. “There was some movement up front that gave us some issues. And I thought they did a good job with their pressure calls, too. They made some negative plays against us.”
The Lions have rushed for more than 100 yards in just two games this season.
In the second half, the Lions abandoned the running game almost completely. The Lions coaches turned to Stafford to cut into the Colts 14-point lead, but Stafford didn’t have his favorite target in Kenny Golladay. He left the game at halftime with a hip injury and did not return. He finished the game without a reception for the first time in five games.
While the running game struggled, so did Stafford. He committed two turnovers and Indianapolis scored on both. Near the end of the third quarter, he was stripped of the ball after he dropped back to pass. On the Lions next possession, Colts cornerback Kenny Moore intercepted Stafford and returned the ball 29 yards for a touchdown. The PAT put the Colts up by 21 points and made another dramatic comeback by Stafford improbable.
“If I play like that, it’s going to be tough for us to win,” said Stafford who was sacked five times. “If you guys want to put it on somebody put it on me. I can’t turn the ball over twice. We've got to get the ball into the end zone more.”