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Lions toward bottom of NFL in play-action usage

The Detroit Lions were once again toward the bottom of the NFL last season when it came to utilizing the play-action pass.


Football Outsiders released its play-action numbers for the 2012 season on Thursday. These numbers provide a look at how often each team used the play-action last season and how effective each team was on play-action plays.

In terms of play-action usage, the Detroit Lions came in 28th in the NFL. They only ran play-action on 16 percent of their offensive plays last season, and they averaged 6.7 yards per play when play-action was involved. On average, NFL teams ran play-action on 21 percent of plays and gained 7.6 yards per play when play-action was involved.

How do these numbers compare to what the Lions did in 2011? The 2011 play-action rankings also had the Lions 28th, and they only ran play-action on 14 percent of plays. Their play-action plays were much more successful, though, as the Lions gained an average of 9.8 yards, putting them among the very best in the NFL.

Perhaps the most interesting stat to come out of all this is that the Lions averaged 6.5 yards on plays with no play-action in both 2011 and 2012. When play-action wasn't involved, there wasn't any difference from 2011 to 2012 simply from a statistical standpoint. When the Lions ran play-action, however, they averaged 3.1 more yards in 2011 than 2012.

With the Lions adding Reggie Bush this offseason in hopes of improving their run game and overall explosiveness on offense, it will be interesting to see what these numbers look like for the 2013 season.

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