Snap observations: Lions lean heavily on RB Riddick
Detroit — Although he had been limited in practice this week, Theo Riddick dominated the Detroit Lions' running back rotation during Thursday's 16-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Riddick played 48 snaps, compared to 13 for rookie Dwayne Washington and one for Zach Zenner, a failed fourth-down attempt.
It's easy to understand why the Lions lean so heavily on Riddick, even though they made him the focus on the play 14 times (nine carries and five targets in the passing game). Washington showed last week against the Jaguars, he's not ready for an expanded role. Not only has he shown a lack of feel when running the ball, with both his vision and patience, he's struggled with some of his blitz assignments, leading to quarterback Matthew Stafford getting dropped twice the past two weeks.
As for Zenner, the fourth-down carry was indicative of his biggest struggle, consistently gaining positive yards. He's been stopped for no gain or a loss on 27 percent of his 38 rushes this year, the worst rate among running backs. Washington (19.6 percent) and Riddick is (17 percent) are also bottom 15.
Here are some additional observations from the snap count report.
• Miles Killebrew continues to make plays in limited snaps. The rookie safety recorded four tackles with nine snaps, one week after registering five stops in 12 snaps against Jacksonville.
• Fullback Michael Burton wasn't part of the game plan against the Vikings and has seen his role steadily decline. In the victory, he was on the field for six plays, including two offensive snaps.
• The Lions worked guard Laken Tomlinson back into the mix, rotating the 2015 first-round pick with Graham Glasgow. The rookie still out-snapped Tomlinson, but it was a fairly even split, 34-27.
• The last time Eric Ebron was held without a catch was almost exactly a year ago. Despite playing 49 snaps, the third-year tight end was targeted once by Stafford. It's the most snaps Ebron has played in a catch-less performance.