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Jim Schwartz Defends the Lions Gameplan vs the Niners

After a Lions offense that led the league in passing yards in Week 1 ran the ball on 10 of its first 14, first-down plays against the 49ers on Sunday, seasoned observers of coach Jim Schwartz‘s team were left asking the question made famous by the title characters of the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

“Who are those guys?”

Schwartz defended a game plan Monday that saw offensive coordinator Scott Linehan use power rushing plays instead of the short pass routes that were a staple of the team’s Week 1 win over the Rams.

“San Francisco took an approach that they were going to try to limit the passing game,” Schwartz said. “We need to be able to rush for better than [3.2 yards] a carry.”

Schwartz downplayed suggestions that the increase in rushing plays – Detroit rushed the ball on 44 percent of its offensive plays Sunday compared to just 27 percent of its Week 1 snaps – was partly to blame for the Lions’ 27-19 loss at Candlestick Park. He said the key to making the run game a viable part of the Lions’ offense is ensuring that the backfield is efficient regardless of the number of rushing plays Detroit calls.

“[In Week 1 we] ran the ball efficiently,” he said. “We didn’t run it a whole lot of times, but we ran it efficiently – 4.6 (yards per carry), something like that. [Sunday] we ran the ball more, but it wasn’t as efficient. There are a lot of things we can do better.”

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