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Notes: The Lions had the most—and least—valuable running back of Week 11

Unfortunately, they’re only likely to have one of them this week—and it’s not the good one.

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Detroit Lions v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

About halfway through the Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers game, I turned to my buddy Erik Schlitt from Lions Wire and said, “I don’t think there’s a team in the NFL that has a bigger disparity between their No. 1 and 2 rushers than the Detroit Lions.”

Kerryon Johnson was in the middle of a big day, rushing for 87 yards on 15 carries. LeGarrette Blount was in the middle of an embarrassingly bad performance; he would finish with a single yards on seven carries.

Both players were recognized in this week’s Quick Reads over at Football Outsiders. Let’s start with the good.

Kerryon Johnson, according to their DYAR metric (defense-adjusted yards against replacement), was Week 11’s most valuable running back. Here’s how Vincent Verhei explained it:

“Johnson ran for a league-best nine first downs against Carolina, with four runs of 10 yards or more, including a 24-yarder,” Verhei wrote. “That’s a fantastic ratio (a little more than one-quarter of all runs have gained first downs this season) even though his other runs were awfully bad—he was stuffed four times.”

On the other hand, Blount was literally the least-valuable back of Week 11 per DVOA. His -23 DYAR number was well below Kerryon’s 43 DYAR on the day. Looking at each of Blount’s runs, it makes a lot of sense:

Blount Run 1: 3 yards
Run 2: -2 yards
Run 3: -1 yard
Run 4: 1 yard
Run 5: 0 yards
Run 6: 4 yards
Run 7: -4 yards

Blount had nearly as many rushes go for zero or fewer yards than positive yards.

Unfortunately for Detroit, it’s looking more and more likely that Kerryon Johnson will be sidelined for a couple weeks due to a knee injury suffered in the third quarter.

  • Watch former Lion Chris Spielman break down three key plays from Lions vs. Panthers:

  • It appears offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has responded a bit after watching his quarterback get sacked 16 times in two games:

  • Will Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky play this week? No one seems to really know:

  • Let’s check in on Ndamukong Suh...