Run­ning hot and cold: Li­ons bet­ter than Bears

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - TOP OF THE SECOND - @mike__chicago

What kind of game plan would you ex­pect to see from the Li­ons af­ter Matthew Stafford got hit 17 times and sacked 10 last week? They don’t run the ball very well, so will we see a lot of quick passes? An­other 12 to 15 tack­les for Ro­quan Smith? The Li­ons have been bet­ter run­ning the ball than you might ex­pect and cer­tainly bet­ter than in the past. While they are 20th over­all with 104.3 rush­ing yards per game, they are tied for 10th with 4.5 yards per carry and rookie Ker­ryon John­son has been a nice ad­di­tion. While the Li­ons are in a bit of a funk, John­son has 503 yards on 89 car­ries (5.7 per carry) and is on pace to be­come the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Reg­gie Bush in 2013. The Li­ons are ad­just­ing to life with­out lead­ing re­ceiver Golden Tate, and I would ex­pect them to put a sig­nif­i­cant em­pha­sis on pro­tect­ing Stafford.

Jor­dan Howard has five touch­downs, on tar­get for 10. Can we stop talk­ing about how many yards the guy has and talk about bot­tom line: TDs and ef­fec­tive­ness? His in­flu­ence from a scor­ing stand­point is about what it was last year. The coaches openly ad­mit the run game isn’t op­ti­mized, so his pro­duc­tion can be even bet­ter as the of­fense im­proves.

Jeff C., Parts Un­known I look at a lot of things be­fore touch­downs when eval­u­at­ing a run­ning back. Howard could have six this sea­son if he didn’t fum­ble at the goal line against the Dol­phins. It was un­char­ac­ter­is­tic for him as he gen­er­ally has ex­cel­lent ball se­cu­rity. Howard has not been as ex­plo­sive to the hole this sea­son, and he also has strug­gled cre­at­ing yards af­ter con­tact — al­though Bills safety Jor­dan Poyer might have a dif­fer­ent opin­ion on that af­ter Howard ran him over like a truck to score on an 18-yard run last week. I don’t think Howard has been as ef­fec­tive this sea­son, and that in­cludes fac­tors other than his touch­down to­tal. Hope­fully the Bears will be bet­ter on the ground in the next eight games.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.