Should Lions Abandon the Run against Saints?

John Maakaron

Defensively, the New Orleans Saints present a formidable challenge against the run. 

Heading into Week 4, they rank fourth in the NFL against the run and 11th overall in terms of total yards allowed.

Against Arizona, Adrian Peterson was able to break off a big run early in the game, but then Detroit's rushing attack was unable to consistently average more than three yards per rushing attempt for the remainder of the game. 

Detroit Lions Adrian Peterson© Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans stout defensive front has demonstrated an ability to limit opponents running backs to less than 3.5 yards per carry consistently.

Head coach Matt Patricia was asked Thursday in his pre-practice media session the importance of maintaining a rushing attack despite struggles at times to rack up yards on the ground. 

"The run game is critically important. It's a big part of what keeps an offense balanced and kind of keeps a defense trying to stay in between defending both. It's really important," Patricia said. 

He explained further, "The Saints, obviously, they've got a phenomenal front. They've got some guys up there that play the run extremely well. They play a lot of five down looks and they're not going to let you run the ball. They're going to play out upfront and they want to make you one dimensional because that's when they can release into that whole pass rush and get into their exotic blitzes and pressures and all the stuff that they do. So that's a big challenge for us."

The Saints have struggled to keep opponents off of the scoreboard though, as they've given up 11 touchdowns and 94 points in 2020 -- an average of 31.3 per game. 

If Detroit is unable to gain traction on the ground, it may behoove Darrell Bevell's offense to lean towards passing the ball at a much higher rate then they have the first three games of the season.

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Comments (15)
No. 1-5

Need to establish your will at the line of scrimmage, can’t shy away from it. If Vaitai plays Guard again it will be better than last week after his first game in (would rather see him at RT). I know Linehan used to say establish the pass to make the run game work - but the team has to believe they can run the ball. With all passing too many 3 and outs and can’t control the clock. Balance should be the order - and Bevell needs to let Matt lose like he did last season on passes over 20 yards

Da Ti
Da Ti

Lions resurgent defense stymies Saints. AP goes for over 150 and Johnson adds
80 of his own. Stafford 3 TDs through the air. Lions 38-0. We're going to the
Super Bowl baby!


Lions have to set the tone with an effective run game. It will draw the defense inward; and thus opening passing lanes and possibly some one-on-one matchups. So, the OL has to move the Saints’ DL off the line and create gaps. Time to get roaring strong.


As Patricia said, you have to try and establish it early so you can pass it. This will be a dilemma for sure


Really interesting dilemma. Saints strength is their front and they have been terrible against pass. But our defense is not that great either. Really interesting idea man to throw it 40x