Ben Johnson: 'Third Quarter Was Not Good Enough for Us'

Detroit's offensive coordinator addressed struggles after halftime in 2023.
Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson speaks during OTA at Detroit Lions headquarters and training facility in Allen Park on Thursday, May 30, 2024.
Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson speaks during OTA at Detroit Lions headquarters and training facility in Allen Park on Thursday, May 30, 2024. / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson understood the results for the team's offense in the third quarter were not where they needed to be.

But, Detroit's talented play-caller indicated, when asked about the second-half woes, the team steadily made progress once the issue was identified.

“I love the football questions," Johnson said. "This is great, this is good. I did this a couple of months ago, so I’m spit balling a little bit here -- I don’t have the numbers exactly in my head, but I got it and I know what the third quarter says. Overall, the third quarter was not good enough for us. I didn’t watch every single snap from that particular quarter. We did go back, we studied the opening drive of the second half, we did do that. There is a significant difference from the first 10 games of the season to the last 10 games of the season and how we were in the opening drive of the second half."

The Lions ranked tied-for-20th in the league in third-quarter points with an average of 4.2, indicating the difficulties that the unit had coming out of halftime. The issues were directly addressed by Johnson and members of the offense throughout the season.

In contrast, Detroit's offense ranked second in first-quarter scoring and seventh in second-quarter scoring.

While the overall results could have been improved, Johnson indicated the offense was trending in the right direction.

It appeared the team struggled mightily with efficiency and execution coming out of halftime compared to the rest of the game. This was on display particularly late in the year, as the Lions squandered a 24-7 halftime lead over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.

After sprinting to the big advantage over the 49ers, the Lions failed to score until late in the fourth quarter. Their advantage dwindled as the 49ers scored 27 unanswered points to clinch their spot in the Super Bowl.

Detroit's offense has emerged the past couple of seasons to be among the most high-scoring in the National Football League. It has ranked fifth in points per game each of the last two seasons.

"We were significantly better in the second half of the season, the last 10 games. I want to say, those 10 games, those possessions, we scored five touchdowns, which is – 50 percent of your drives are going for touchdowns. You’re doing something right," Johnson explained. "So, I understand what’s going on out there. I do think it was something we talked about. We addressed during the season, and we started to see some results as the season went on. So, if you separate it up that way, I think we’re trending in the right direction.”

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John Maakaron


John Maakaron has covered Detroit Sports since 2013. Brings a vast array of experience covering the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, Detroit Mercy Titans, and Oakland University Golden Grizzlies. John brings a wealth of sports broadcast experience. In 2013, John had the vision to establish the Detroit Sports Podcast Network. Has recorded over 3000 podcasts analyzing Detroit Sports. In 2019, Sports Illustrated Media Group, a historical sports media outlet, partnered with Detroit Sports Podcast to provide daily Lions content for their growing and expanding digital media outlet. Our Lions content can also be read in the newspaper at The Oakland  Passionate about Detroit Sports and it is reflected in his coverage of the local teams!