Detroit Lions: D’Andre Swift looks great as a three-down back

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Lions held on to edge the Washington Football Team Sunday, riding the coattails of a 59-yard game-winning, job-saving field goal.

The Detroit Lions can’t seem to do anything without there being some drama.  Entering Sunday’s Week Ten matchup with Washington, the team announced that rookie running back D’Andre Swift would start the football game and play as the featured back.  Finally.

Keeping Swift in the stable (for the most part) over the first eight games of the season had been one of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s downfall.  For much of the season, Bevell continued to feed the corps of Adrian Peterson the football as if he were 25-years old in the prime of his career, not treating him like a 35-year old, short-yardage, change of pace back.

The veteran future first-ballot Hall Of Fame running back can remain valuable to the Detroit Lions without garnering 12-15 touches per week, and it seems Bevell just arrived at the same conclusion.  Peterson effectively recorded five touches, four carries totaling 21 yards, and reeling in one catch for nine yards.

More from Detroit Lions

That is exactly how the veteran should be used.  Swift carried the football 16 times for 81 yards and made five receptions for another 68 yards and a touchdown.  Swift looked phenomenal in his new role as the lead back.

Swift proved to be a valuable pass-catching back along with showing tremendous vision while carrying the football; he often found the cut-back lanes and exploded through them for large gains on the ground.  On Swift’s 15-yard touchdown reception, he displayed some of that power he possesses, lowering his shoulders and pounding his way into the end zone; he’s the definition of a three-down back, and finally, the Detroit Lions are using their prized rookie runner in that capacity.

Another great takeaway from Sunday’s victory over Washington had been kicker Matt Prater seemingly returning to form.  Entering the matchup, Prater had been converting field goals at a 70% rate, a far worse percentage than he’s used to.

Plenty of folks, including myself, were starting to think Prater’s best days were firmly behind him.  Prater quickly put that narrative behind after converting on all three of his field-goal attempts, with two coming from beyond 50 yards, including the game-winning walk-off 59-yarder.  Last season Prater hit 8 of 9 from beyond 50 yards; entering Sunday’s game, he’d hit just 2 of 5 from the same range.

Having the ‘automatic’ Prater back is a great thing for the Detroit Lions.

In closing, let’s not overlook one thing.  The Detroit Lions once again padded themselves with a double-digit lead only to watch it waste away.  This time the Lions were up 21 points, yet somehow, the two-win Washington team found themselves nearly forcing overtime.

Once again, Darrell Bevell’s playcalling continued to get extremely conservative as the Lions held the lead in the second half, and that’s beyond frustrating.  Everyone on earth knows you will run the football on first and second down, leaving Matthew Stafford handcuffed on third and long.

It seems like a broken record, but the Detroit Lions coaching staff continues to be schooled in the second half of football games.  The coaching staff needs to do a much better job making halftime adjustments and matching their opponents’ play in the second half, moving forward.

The Lions defense seems to lack aggressive play once they find themselves up a couple of scores.  Rather than continuing to create pressure on the passer, the Lions roll into that ‘bend don’t break’ style of play, that Matt Patricia seems to love.  The problem here is that it’s allowing opposing offenses to get back into a rhythm and back into ball games.

Next. Being completely wrong about Darrell Bevell. dark

It’s simply bad coaching or perhaps a scheme/mentality flaw, leaving many to continue pleading for a change despite the victory.