The Detroit Lions were likely hoping for a big season out of running back D’Andre Swift, and after Week 1, they look poised to get it.
Swift had a major breakout in a big way on the field for the Lions, and racked up the yardage and impact plays for the team. He also racked up some of the statistical positives that only come from such a performance.
For the first week of the season, Swift was revealed to be Football Outsiders’ top running back in the NFL in terms of DYAR. That of course stands for defense adjusted yards above replacement, a metric the site uses to measure players.
With that metric in mind, it seems as if there are no better runners in the NFL. Swift’s DYAR was 74, which was a full 22 points higher than Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the next closest runner last week.
This statistical show is quite something for Swift, who has struggled staying on the field long enough to make an impact given injury troubles in his career. With those problems behind him, Swift was finally able to show his value to the team and the league in a complete way.
While this metric might not mean a lot to some, it shows off the fact that the Lions have a player who can deliver major statistical value for their offense. To that end, it might paint the strongest sign of a breakout for 2022.
Swift Nominated for Ground Player of the Week
It wasn’t just metric websites that quickly realized Swift’s value to the Lions in Week 1. The league itself had Swift as one of their nominees for the top ground player of the week.
Swift was training in the voting to Jonathan Taylor who enjoyed 161 rush yards and 1 touchdown, but was in clear second-place. Fans have time to get the vote out for Swift ahead of the Wednesday afternoon deadline.
Swift Enjoyed Major Week 1 for Lions
Detroit has long dreamed of having the kind of ground game that can strike fear into the opposition, and with Swift running the ball, it appears they finally have something like that.
Swift had a fantastic breakout performance as part of Detroit’s frustrating loss, and was a big reason the Lions were even in the game in the first place. His ability to keep the opposition off balance proved to be a significant variable all day long.
To start the game, Swift showed off his legs with an immediate burst that led to an eventual Detroit score:
Later on, Swift helped get into the end zone with a nice run on fourth down. The burst showed his speed on the edge:
In total, Swift would finish with 144 yards rushing and a solid 31 yards receiving on the day. It was the kind of effort that the Lions needed to see out of their young runner in the opening game of the season.
It’s possible that he might make the biggest difference of all the running backs in the league by the time the 2022 season is all said and done. At the very least, it’s a very positive start.