Lions have reason for optimism despite 1-3 start

Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson looks like a No. 1 so far in his rookie season.Photo: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Sports Xchange

That optimism stems from the play of rookie running back Kerryon Johnson. He ran for 55 yards and a touchdown against Dallas on just nine carries.

"I think we have a lot of really good running backs and I think we try to use them appropriately. I think Kerryon played a significant amount of the game," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said. "We had two other running backs, plus we had a couple two-minute drives in there with some other personnel packages and things like that. So, there were quite a few reps in there for Kerryon."

Johnson only had 13 carries for 60 yards in the first two games of the season, but last week Johnson carried the ball 16 yards for 101 yards in a win against New England.

Johnson was finally able to end the Lions' 70-game drought of not having a 100-yard rusher.

The Lions looked like they were going to rally after beating perennial powerhouse New England last week, but losing to the Cowboys on Sunday put them in last place in the NFL North a quarter of the way through the season.

"There's a lot of work in front of us," Patricia said Monday. "I think we're learning a lot about our team. I think we see a lot of different things on the field. I would say these guys are tough, these guys work extremely hard. They will fight all the way to the end for 60 minutes."

On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions have allowed a league-hiugh 157.8 yards rushing per game.

"We just have to get better," Detroit linebacker Eli Harold said. "Get back in the meeting rooms, lock in, be on one accord, all 11 even the backups. We just have to find out what is killing us in the running game obviously, and just go from there."

--QB Matthew Stafford suffered his third straight loss at Dallas even after throwing for 307 yards, two touchdowns and 131.5 rating. "I've got to get out to a faster start, maybe snatch the lead a little bit earlier in the game and go from there," he said.

--WR Golden Tate had 132 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches. . "I like where our offense is right now as far as getting the ball to a lot of people," Tate said. "We've just got to continue to do that and figure out a way to win."

--WR Kenny Golladay had 74 yards on four grabs on Sunday.

--WR Marvin Jones had 56 yards on three catches on Sunday.

--RG T.J. Lang didn't return after sustaining a concussion in the first quarter of Sunday's loss to the Cowboys.