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Allen Park — Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter wouldn’t talk directly about the running game’s struggles Thursday afternoon.

The Lions are last in the NFL in rushing yards per game (78.0), and tied for last in rushing yards per attempt (3.4). When the Lions lost on Sunday to the 6-9 Cincinnati Bengals, knocking them out of playoff contention, Lions running backs only ran for 80 yards on 21 carries, a 3.8-yard average.

“You can look at all the stats. You can write your stories that you get to write every week on whatever you want to write about. Some things have been good this year. Some things have not been so good. We’d love everything to be great,” Cooter said after a third question about why the rushing game didn’t work this year.

The abysmal rushing attack comes after the Lions signed veteran offensive lineman T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner in the offseason.

“We’d love to be top five in every stat. It’s not how this league works. It’s a competitive league, and we’ve got to fight for everything we get. Sometimes we have great years, sometimes we have sort of good years in some areas, average years in some other areas,” Cooter said.

Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer.