Kerryon Johnson ends Lions' 100-yard rushing drought


Joique Bell, Theo Riddick, Reggie Bush, George Winn, Ameer Abdullah, Zach Zenner, Dwayne Washington, Justin Forsett, Tion Green, LeGarrette Blount, Kerryon Johnson.

The above running backs each toted the rock for the Detroit Lions since Reggie Bush last scampered for 100 yards in a Honolulu Blue jersey on Nov. 28, 2013. None reached the century mark for 70 games, the longest drought by any team since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.

Until Sunday night.

Kerryon Johnson plowed over, around and through the New England Patriots for 101 yards on 16 carries, a 6.3 average, in Sunday night's 26-10 win.

The 21-year-old rookie was in high school the last time a Lions running back went for over 100 yards in a game.

"Well, I graduated high school in '15, so I was 15 years old, a sophomore in high school," Johnson said after the tilt, via the team's official website. "I was probably winning state or something, I don't know. But, it was a while, that's for sure.

"I think we saw a different offense today and we won. So, I think it helped us a lot, opened a lot of our passes, it made life a lot easier for (Matthew) Stafford and our receivers and the O-line did a fantastic job. It takes a lot to get us there, it takes a lot to do that and pass-block and they did an awesome job."

Johnson didn't earn the 100-yard game by getting a plethora of 2-yard carries. Instead, he chunked the Patriots to death, picking up eight yards here, 14 yards there, six yards over here. The rookie displayed tremendous burst in the hole, good vision, ability to break arm tackles and speed to the edge.

"I think he just does everything well," quarterback Matthew Stafford said of Johnson. "He can catch the ball out of the backfield, he's a smart player, he's got good vision. He's a slippery runner.

"He's got probably a little bit more strength than people give him credit for, a little bit more speed. It doesn't maybe jump off the page to you but when he's out there he's really efficient and does some really nice things."

The Lions spent the offseason focusing on upgrading the running game. Through the first two weeks, getting down big tossed that plan out of the window. Sunday night they were able to build a big lead against a punchless Patriots defense and salt it away with an improved running game behind Johnson, Blount and a bulldozing offensive line.

Perhaps the surprise stat of the night: Detroit's running backs went for 149 rushing yards; Tom Brady threw for just 133 yards.

For Lions players, it's a relief to end the ignominious streak.

"Thank God," center Graham Glasgow said, via "We don't have to talk about the streak anymore. That'd be nice."