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Film Room: How Kerryon Johnson, the Lions offensive line, reached the century mark vs. Patriots

Examining a few runs from the rookie’s big day.

NFL: New England Patriots at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

It took 70 games, but the Detroit Lions finally had a player run for 100 yards in a single game last Sunday. Rookie Kerryon Johnson ran for 101 yards on 16 carries and was crucial in the Lions upset win.

The Auburn product showed off his amazing vision and open-field running abilities on Sunday night. He took advantage of any opportunity the Patriots gave him. His excellent patience, vision and football IQ were on full display.

Johnson did a great job reading his blocks and knew when he needed to cut back. He was fully aware of where his running lanes were and did a great job reading his blocks.

The running back’s vision and patience were his most heralded skills coming out of college. Detroit has made a huge investment into their offensive line and needed a great running back with the skill to take advantage of the space that the run blocking could create for him.

Detroit’s run blocking isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t need to be with the rookie in the backfield. Even when the run blocking failed him, Johnson still managed to make plays. His smart, shifty running makes him incredibly slippery in the backfield.

As great as the running back was on Sunday night, his success would have been impossible without the play of the offensive line. The Lions run blocking was near impenetrable and New England’s defensive front stood no chance. Detroit’s offensive line mauled them up front and were able to open gaping holes for the running back to waltz through.

The Lions running game had a rough start to the season but it seems that they have finally gotten going. While we still need more time to tell whether the Lions’ investment upfront will truly pay off, games like last Sunday should give Detroit more confident in their run game—and give opposing defenses another thing to think about in their weekly game planning.

To fans, though, the best take away from Sunday’s game may be that they won’t have to hear about that streak 100 times on every broadcast anymore.

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