Following the heartbreaking loss, Peterson was nothing but positive on social media. As he tweeted, Detroit’s 27-23 defeat is only a temporary setback that the team can learn from in order to get better and stay on track in 2020.
Temporary setback!! We’re only learning and getting better from here 💯 pic.twitter.com/pZupqF1sFE
— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) September 14, 2020
More than his leadership, Peterson was great on the field for the Lions, racking up 93 yards rushing in his debut. Few runners hit the hole like Peterson even as a veteran, and he showed off that ability in a big way in the game. Perhaps the only unfortunate development was how inconsistently the Lions used Peterson most of the afternoon. At times in the late stages, they went away from the run with Peterson far too much relative to how it worked.
Credit Peterson for not getting frustrated but simply trying to stay positive and keep things in a good direction.
Adrian Peterson Consoles D’Andre Swift After Drop
After Swift dropped the game winning pass in the end zone, Peterson had nothing but positive words to build up the young running back. As he said, he didn’t want to see the unfortunate drop define Swift, who has a chance to help the team out this season so long as he can keep grinding.
Adrian Peterson on Swift: "I just pulled him to the side and told him, 'Hey, it’s all about how you respond to this. Don’t let this get you down.' I can imagine how he must feel. But at the end of the day … he’s going to be able to help us. He’s going to help us win games."
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) September 13, 2020
All told, this is just another great show of leadership for Peterson, who is saying and doing all the right things after his team suffered a tough loss. Having been there before in the NFL, Peterson likely knows all too well the frustrations of Swift and wants to make sure he stays on the right track.
A show like this could mean a lot to the team moving forward, and it’s nice to see Peterson taking a leadership role on multiple fronts so soon after he signed with the team.
Adrian Peterson Stats
In his career, Peterson has been one of the more productive backs in football. The 2012 NFL MVP stuck with the Vikings from 2007-2016, then landing with the Saints and Cardinals and finally in Washington for the last 2 seasons. Peterson is a lock to be in the Hall of Fame soon once his career ends given his exploits. The former Oklahoma Sooner is also a 7 time Pro Bowl player and a 4 time first team All-Pro runner as well.
This season, Peterson could make NFL history with the Lions. Peterson’s 14,216 career rushing yards currently ranks fifth all-time, and he trails Barry Sanders’ 15,269 yards. That means Peterson could surpass Sanders this season if he rushes for 1,054 yards at the age of 35 in Detroit.
It would be an interesting post script if Peterson was to play the last years of his career with the Lions and manage to surpass Sanders. That’s especially true given his standing as a long time Lions rival and classic tormentor.
Peterson is more than capable of putting up a big season and chipping in to lead a rushing attack revival in Detroit.
Stats Prove Adrian Peterson Isn’t Done
Peterson could be aging better than many other running backs do. As NFL analyst Gil Brandt pointed out, Peterson still had a great season in 2019 at age 34, putting up some very quality numbers even against stacked boxes and grinding out the yards.
Looking at AP's numbers from last year at age 34, he was as steady and reliable as ever:
Was at his best vs. stacked boxes, averaged 5.3 ypc, 2 yards above his expected ypc (highest in NFL), according to @NextGenStats. He saw stacked boxes 29.4% of time, 12th highest avg in NFL.
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 8, 2020
Obviously, the Lions haven’t had a consistent running game in decades. A Detroit runner was hard pressed to come close to 5 yards per carry last season, with Kerryon Johnson only averaging 3.6 yards per attempt. If Peterson can come in and add some strength and depth, the team will be very thankful. Reliable is a good buzz word to use for the situation.
In 2019, Peterson ran for 898 yards and 5 scores. These numbers would have put him far and away atop the heap of Detroit runners, the closest of whom was Johnson, who finished with 403 rushing yards and 3 scores on the ground. Along with D’Andre Swift, all of a sudden, the Lions have some depth and consistency to rely on out of the backfield.
Coming into Week 1, many might have chided Peterson as over the hill, but he still gets it done as a runner on the biggest stage, perhaps a testament to his great preparation.
Peterson’s mindset might help both he and his team stay on track this season.