Lions simplifying playbook to remedy offensive woes


The Detroit Lions' offense stinks.

(I'd be more flamboyant with my language in that sentence, but my editor advised against it.)

The Lions rank 26th in scoring (18.8 points per game), haven't scored more than 24 points since Week 1 and in their three losses have a combined 27 points. Detroit's nine consecutive games south of 25 points is the second-longest active streak, ahead of only the Jacksonville Jaguars (13).

The Lions are the only team ranked in the bottom 10 in scoring with a winning record (thank the NFL's No. 1 defense).

Detroit is scoring on just 28.6 percent of offensive drives, 27th in the NFL. Joe Lombardi's group is scoring an average of just 1.9 offensive touchdowns per game this season, almost one fewer per game than last season (2013: 2.8 TDs per game; 2012: 2.4; 2011: 3.1; 2010: 2.3).

To help his wayward group become more efficient, Lombardi told reporters he plans to reduce the call sheet by about 20 percent.

"You have a certain number of calls or maybe you get this one play repped against one or maybe two defenses, so if you have less calls you can kind of show more situations and you're not just talking about them," Lombardi said, per the Detroit Free Press. "It's just a matter of practicing fewer plays and then they're able to handle all the different looks that come up."

Matthew Stafford has had some fantastic moments, but he's failed to find any consistency. The sixth-year signal caller is on pace for his lowest total yardage in any season (4,286), thrown for 300-plus yards just twice, has a passer rating below 90 in six straight games and an interception in four straight.

Stafford is 0-15 on the road against teams that finished with a winning record in his career.

Against a Tom Brady-led New England Patriots team that has been on a roll, Stafford will have to move the offense to keep pace Sunday.

The Lions hope that pulling plays out of the book will help jump-start an offense that has been stalled for more than two months. It seems like grasping at straws, but at this point Lombardi has to try something.

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