As the Lions look to rebound from their Thanksgiving loss to the Packers, the Lions and their loyal fan base can feel good about a good problem that the team has – two starting running backs. The Detroit Lions have been fortunate to have two standout players in their first seasons with the team. David Montgomery has been impressive with 648 rushing yards in seven games, averaging just over 4.9 yards per carry and scoring eight touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Jahmyr Gibbs has also been making a name for himself with 566 rushing yards on 109 carries in nine games, along with 41receptions for 278 yards and five touchdowns. With six games left in the regular season, it’s possible that both running backs rush for over 1,000 yards.
The last time two running backs on the same rushed for at least 1,000 yards were the 2009 Carolina Panthers, when Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams became the sixth rushing duo to accomplish the feat. Of course, the undefeated 1972 Dolphins featured the first 1,000-yard running back duo with Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris.
The Special Running Back Chemistry
Both players and the Lions are benefiting greatly from the successful collaboration in the backfield, as evidenced by their 8-3 record and sixth-place ranking in the league for rushing yards and yards per carry. While some may express concern about the distribution of duties, Montgomery is completely comfortable with the shared workload alongside Gibbs.
In a conversation with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Montgomery shared his happiness regarding the team’s win against Chicago. He expressed his satisfaction with the current state of affairs and praised the team’s impressive performance. Both Jahmyr and Montgomery are playing exceptionally well, and they are fully aware of their value to the team and its offense. They are ready to tackle any situation that comes their way, as they understand the team’s reliance on their skills.
By having multiple backs involved, the Lions can hedge their bets against injuries. While it’s conventional wisdom for teams to have a bell-cow back that finishes with 25 to 30 carries, by splitting the work load, the Lions can keep their rookie running backs fresh for a potential post season run. Another benefit of splitting carries is to keep opposing defenses guessing.
Also, because Montgomery and Gibbs are already proving themselves to be accomplished pass catchers out of the backfield, they are going to demand coverage. This can be the key to help take some of the pressure of Jared Goff who has been turning the ball over at an alarming rate in the past couple of weeks. It also allows Lions’ offensive coordinator, Ben Johnson, creativity to have both backs in the backfield for special plays to further confuse opposing defenses.
While Lions fans don’t mind about the rushing duo, the Lions’ achievement may not be appreciated by those who prefer a single dominant running back in fantasy or traditional NFL betting in Michigan. However, the team’s performance speaks for itself with a 2.5 game lead in the NFC North. Gibbs and Montgomery do not show any signs of disagreement or discontent.