Stats & Info: Jahvid Best

Lions party like it's 1956

October, 11, 2011
The Detroit Lions hadn’t appeared on Monday Night Football since 2001, the longest absence for any of the 32 NFL teams.

With a 24-13 win over the Chicago Bears, the Lions accomplished something they hadn’t done in much longer than a decade. The Lions improved to 5-0 with the win, the first time that Detroit football has started a season with that many wins since 1956. That year, the Lions started 6-0 before splitting their final six games and missing the playoffs.

The Lions also extended their winning streak to nine games. That’s ties the longest streak for the franchise since it won 10 straight games during the 1934 season.

Calvin Johnson did the most damage for the Lions. With a touchdown catch in the second quarter, he set an NFL record with nine touchdown receptions in the first five games of the season. He also recorded the 15th 100-yard receiving game of his career.

Matthew Stafford threw two touchdowns for the Lions, and joins Aaron Rodgers as the only quarterbacks with at least two passing touchdowns in every game this season.

Jahvid Best rounded out the attack for Detroit with a career game. He ran for an 88-yard touchdown in the third quarter, which was the second longest touchdown run in franchise history. That single run also broke his previous career high for rushing yards in a game (78), and he finished the game with 163 yards on the ground.

The first quarter did little to foreshadow the rest of the game. The two teams combined for a mere 60 yards of total offense while accumulating 10 penalties for 69 yards. Only five first downs were recorded in the quarter, and three of those came via penalties. It was the first scoreless opening quarter on Monday Night Football since November 2009, when the Ravens and Browns didn’t score until the second half.

The Bears struggled to deal with the Ford Field crowd throughout the game. They were flagged for 14 penalties in the game, nine of which were for false starts.

Jay Cutler lost to the Lions for the first time in five career starts for the Bears. Even though the Lions sent four or fewer rushers on 38 of his 42 dropbacks, he was under duress over 40 percent of the time. That’s the highest percentage of any quarterback so far this season.

Leshoure injury has Lions stuck in middle

August, 8, 2011
Rushing up the middle was an uphill battle for the Detroit Lions in 2010 and running back Mikel Leshoure was drafted in the second round to help improve just that. Leshoure suffered a torn Achilles tendon in practice Monday and will miss the 2011 season. The Lions will now look to a healthy Jahvid Best and veteran Maurice Morris to improve a ground game that ranked in the bottom quarter of the league when running up the middle.

Multiple injuries to Best’s toes slowed him for much of his rookie season. Best suffered the first injury Week 3, one week after he gained 232 total yards and scored three times against the Philadelphia Eagles. Best’s touches per game dropped from 18 to 14.6 per game after the injury and his yards per touch fell from 5.7 to 4.2. All but one of Best’s six touchdowns were scored in the first two weeks.

With Leshoure out for the season, Detroit’s biggest running back is Maurice Morris. Morris posted a respectable average of 4.1 yards per rush up the middle last season but doesn’t offer much else. Rushing to the outside is not Morris’ strong suit and even running toward the tackles has been a struggle. Morris averaged just 2.4 yards per rush when running toward the tackles in 2010. Chester Taylor was the only player with at least 20 rushes in those directions to have a lower average (2.1).