Lions snap counts: Detroit increases two-back sets
Allen Park — As Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush returned from injuries on Sunday, the Lions looked to get the offense back on track.
Both missed the previous game against the Falcons in London, opening the door for other targets, such as running back Theo Riddick and receiver Corey Fuller, to see increased reps.
With the regulars back, though, both Fuller — who started while Johnson was out the previous three games — and Riddick saw their workloads scaled back.
Against the Falcons, Riddick played 31 of 75 plays (41 percent) and had three rushes for five yards and a career-best eight catches on 12 targets, for 74 yards and a touchdown. Sunday versus the Dolphins, Riddick was in on just seven of 67 plays (10 percent), but was targeted on almost every one of those. He had three rushes for zero yards but added two catches on three targets, including the winning, 11-yard touchdown with 29 seconds left.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi indicated that the Lions would like use more two-back sets, which they did Sunday.
Joique Bell played 45 snaps (67 percent) and Bush 19 (28 percent). While Bush was coming off the knee injury, the usage could indicate an effort to keep Bush fresh and to split the load among three backs instead of just two.
Bush had 20 yards on four carries and one catch for five yards; Bell had 10 rushes for 44 yards and two receptions for 37 yards, including a 28-yarder. The Lions combined for just 63 yards rushing and rank 31st in the league, at 77.8 rushing yards per game.
Fullback Jed Collins was in on 17 snaps (25 percent) on offense and had two catches for 30 yards, including 24 on a fake punt.
OTHER NOTABLE SNAP COUNTS
Offensive line: Rob Sims 67 (of 67), Riley Reiff 67, Dominic Raiola 67, Travis Swanson 59, LaAdrian Waddle 45, Cornelius Lucas 22, Larry Warford 8.
Analysis: The extent of the injuries to Warford and Waddle still is unknown, but if Warford has to be out for an extended period, the Lions can feel confident in the performance that Swanson, a rookie third-round pick, had in his debut at right guard. He played all except the first drive and handled himself well after Warford went out because of a knee injury. Lucas had his struggles at right tackle, but with Garrett Reynolds inactive, he had to play the whole way.
Receiver: Golden Tate 63, Calvin Johnson 58, Jeremy Ross 44, Corey Fuller 13.
Analysis: With Johnson back, the numbers were a little closer to where they were before his injury. Tate missed only four plays, a sign to his versatility in the different formations, and he produced, with 11 catches on 13 targets for 109 yards. Johnson added seven receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown. Ross had a catch and Fuller wasn't targeted. Ryan Broyles, who had increased playing time while Johnson was out, was inactive.
Tight end: Brandon Pettigrew 43 (64 percent), Kellen Davis 26.
Analysis: Pettigrew played through a foot injury but was pretty good in blocking schemes. Neither he nor Davis was targeted for a pass.
Defensive end: Jason Jones 43 (of 61), Ziggy Ansah 36, George Johnson 29, Darryl Tapp (15), Devin Taylor 14.
Analysis: Jones (70 percent) saw a nice increase in his snaps, after playing 38 (63 percent) against the Falcons. The Lions have continued to use rotations along the defensive lines, sometimes moving ends inside to create different pressures. Jones had just one tackle and a QB hit on Ryan Tannehill. Ansah recorded six tackles, with a sack and two tackles for loss, in addition to a hit. Tapp had two tackles and a half sack.
Defensive tackle: Ndamukong Suh 48 (79 percent), C.J. Mosley 42, Andre Fluellen 10, Caraun Reid 7.
Analysis: Suh played his normal amount and was effective, with four tackles and a sack, with three tackles for loss. Mosley took Nick Fairley's place and had two tackles. Fluellen, signed this week, was worked into the rotation and had a QB hit. Reid, who had taken most of Fairley's snaps, was limited.