Detroit Lions RB Ty Johnson and S Tracy Walker return; Stafford out vs. Cowboys

DETROIT — While Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford, Da’Shawn Hand and Rick Wagner were ruled out on Friday, Romeo Okwarais is also inactive in today’s matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.

Running back Ty Johnson, who sustained a concussion last week at Chicago, will return which will be a boost to the running back bunch. On Saturday, the Lions signed RB Bo Scarbrough to the active roster from the practice squad and released RB Paul Perkins.

Damon “Snacks” Harrison (groin), Sam Martin (abdomen) and Tracy Walker (knee) are active. They had all been listed as questionable on Friday. 

It’s the second straight game that Stafford (back/hip) will sit out. Coach Matt Patricia said on Friday that he is following a doctor’s plan and doing well. Jeff Driskel will start his second consecutive game. He took first-team snaps in practice this week so should be more prepared.

Right tackle Rick Wagner, who sustained a concussion in the loss at Chicago last week, will miss his first start this season.

Defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (ankle) has played in just two games this season. This will be his second straight game sitting out.

Other Lions inactives: T Dan Skipper, G Beau Benzschawel and CB Michael Jackson.

The Lions (3-5-1) have lost five of their last six while the Cowboys (5-4) are coming off a loss to the Vikings.

 

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Detroit Lions’ offensive line plays best game in win over Patriots

Run game exploded; Stafford sacked just once

ALLEN PARK — Without a smart and strong offensive line, the Lions run game was going nowhere this season.

The O-line played its best game early this season in the 26-10 win over the Patriots on Sunday night at Ford Field.

The Lions rushed for 159 yards and rookie Kerryon Johnson became the first Lions player to reach 100 yards in a game since Reggie Bush scampered for 117 yards on Nov. 28, 2013.

“That’s obviously a critical part of every football game, I think (the line) did a great job up front, definitely very difficult against that defense and the multiple looks they’ll give you,’’ coach Matt Patricia said on Monday. “They were spinning the dial pretty good last night with a couple different looks — four-man rushes, five-man looks, six-man looks and I think those guys did a great job up font of recognizing that stuff, getting on the same page, executing their blocks well. There were a couple plays they could have done better, but I thought we had good movement at the line of scrimmage which is most important.’’

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

Pro Football Focus’ analysis of the line: “(They) performed exceptionally well against New England. Not a single starting lineman graded below a 65 and three of them graded at 70 or better.’’

Ragnow, who allowed seven pressures the previous week to the 49ers, came back with a “dominant performance.” He didn’t allow a single pressure against the Patriots, per Pro Football Focus.

The Lions O-line features two first-round picks — Taylor Decker (2016) and Frank Ragnow, a rookie. Also center Graham Glasgow was a third-round pick in 2016.

Right guard T.J. Lang returned after missing the previous game with a back injury. Lang, who signed as a free agent in 2017, proved he’s still got something in the tank because the line was more effective with him than the previous week with Kenny Wiggins.

Right tackle Rick Wagner, who was also signed as a free agent in 2017,  quietly had a good game.

Not only did they open lanes for the running backs, they also gave Matthew Stafford plenty of time in the pocket. It’s possible more time than he’s ever had consistently for four quarters. He was sacked just once.

Immediately after the game, Stafford couldn’t say enough about the line’s play.

Stafford has been sacked on just 2.2 percent of pass attempts (3/138) this season which is the best in the NFL. The league average is 6.6 percent, per Josh Norris of Rotoworld.