In the NFL, a team’s best might not even be good enough for a coaching staff. Such is the case with the Detroit Lions and their offense right now.
Detroit has made history through their first two games of the 2022 season and dating back to 2021. For the first time in nearly 70 years, the team has scored over 35 points in successive games.
With the run and the pass, the Lions are piling up numbers. So far, Detroit has a top-three rush offense in the league, and they haven’t been shabby throwing the ball either, ranking 19th overall.
Still, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is not satisfied and is shooting for perfection. Speaking to the media on Thursday, September 22 including Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Johnson made a bit of a surprising claim. He doesn’t think the Lions are clicking or hitting their stride as of yet.
“Lions have the league’s second-highest scoring offense at 35.5 ppg. Lions OC Ben Johnson: “We are not hitting our stride, we are not clicking on all cylinders,” Birkett tweeted after listening to Johnson.
Obviously, most teams in the league would take Detroit’s effort so far, no matter how inconsistent it may look. The Lions hung 35 points on Philadelphia in a near-win and managed 37 against Washington. Even though that’s the case, it is also clear the spreads could have been larger in both games.
At this point, the Lions do have more room to grow. That’s a scary but interesting thought. Clearly, Johnson wants to see the Lions be crisper and make more big plays.
To hear he is driving for excellence is certainly great news for the Lions and their hopes in 2022.
Lions Ground Game Leads Offense
While the team’s passing attack has been huge thus far this season, the running game has been fantastic as well. Detroit has bruised on the ground, and that has led to helping the passing game along.
In terms of the run, the Lions have hit on three runs of 40 yards or more already this season. That total is tops in the league at this point in time. D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams and company have done a nice job in between the tackles, especially breaking big runs and getting into the end zone.
Swift has rushed for a total of 81 yards and two touchdowns on the year, while Swift has gone for 200 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. That’s the kind of balance that can be huge for a team that makes the pass all the more dangerous.
It’s easy to see that the Lions are in very good shape as it relates to their offense, and that is due mostly to a strong running game. For that reason, it’s easy to proclaim the team looks for real so far in 2022.
Lions Passing Attack Has Room to Grow
In terms of the pass, however, Johnson might be right about Detroit. The Lions seemingly have room to grow in a big way.
Jared Goff has been far from perfect at quarterback, and while he has a solid 100.1 QBR as well as six touchdowns to just one interception and 471 yards passing, he has missed his fair share of passes. That’s something he discussed with the media on Wednesday, September 21.
Clearly, Goff agrees with his offensive coordinator that the team’s offense and specifically the passing game could have a little bit more to give.
“I’ve kind of said two weeks in a row now, we’ve scored however many points we’ve scored but just missing DJ (Chark) on that deep ball twice, in the first week there was a handful I can’t quite remember. There’s a handful that we missed that we could have had,” he said. “Missing (Amon-Ra) St Brown in the shallow and the end zone there in the red zone, that would be another one so it’s good. But it’s also like we’ve got so much more left in the tank and hopefully we can reach our full potential as we go.”
As Goff explained, the variety in the team’s playbook has seemingly been a huge asset to the Lions so far this season. The arsenal of plays has allowed the team to explore a lot early on.
“I think that’s what good teams do have. Are we there yet? I don’t know. We’re 1-1 and time will tell but we feel like we’re doing the right things and on the right page and going in the right direction,” Goff said. “Ben (Johnson) has been helpful in having a lot of answers for different things.”
Detroit has already proven scary on offense, but it might be even scarier that both their quarterback and coordinator think they haven’t reached their full potential. How high can they go? That remains to be seen in the weeks ahead.
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