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Lions with 86 rushing yards, two touchdowns in massive first quarter vs. 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers have a great overall defense, but the Detroit Lions clearly believed that they could run the ball on that defense, and through the first quarter of the NFC Championship game, that was proven out to a ridiculous degree. The Lions had nine rushing attempts in that first 15 minutes for 86 yards and two touchdowns.

This should not come as a surprise. The Lions came into this game ranked seventh in rushing success rate, while San Francisco’s defense ranked 16th. Detroit had explosive plays on 12% of their runs, while the 49ers ranked 16th in explosive runs allowed. Perhaps most importantly, the Lions ranked ninth in yard per attempt outside the tackles (3.9), and the 49ers ranked 24th in yards per carry allowed outside the tackles.

That’s going to be crucial for the terms of this discussion.

There was receiver Jameson Williams’ 42-yard touchdown run with 13:18 left in the first quarter…

…and the Lions just pushing everybody out of the way on David Montgomery’s one-yard touchdown with 2:34 left in the first quarter.

Not to mention Jahmyr Gibbs’ ridiculous jump cut here.

Ben Johnson’s run game has been one of the NFL’s most creative and efficient all season long, so it makes sense that the Lions are dragging the 49ers around on the ground early on.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire