One of the most impressive streaks in the NFL is coming to an end.
Lions left tackle Jeff Backus, who has started 186 consecutive games — the longest streak for any lineman in the NFL and the third-longest streak for any player at any position — has been ruled out for today’s game against the Texans. Backus suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday against the Packers and will not be able to play through it today, which means first-round draft pick Riley Reiff gets his first start at the left tackle spot that he’s likely to occupy for years to come.
But it’s not all bad news for the Lions: Safety Louis Delmas, who has missed most of the season with a knee injury, will be back on the field today. Also active in the Lions’ secondary is cornerback Drayton Florence, who has been cleared to play even though he suffered a concussion against the Packers on Sunday. Florence will start in place of Jacob Lacey, who’s out with a foot injury.
At receiver, rookie Ryan Broyles will get the first start of his career in place of Titus Young, who has been placed on the inactive list as punishment for his repeated mental mistakes and general bad attitude. The Lions are hoping that Broyles will be their No. 2 receiver for years to come, and today is the day that starts.
Defensive tackle Nick Fairley is also starting, in place of the injured and inactive Corey Williams. Fairley has stepped up his game with Williams out the last couple of weeks and is likely to start next to Ndamukong Suh going forward, regardless of whether Williams returns.
For the Texans, there’s a big piece of bad news on the inactive list: Cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who was expected to be a game-time decision with a hamstring injury, has been ruled out. That won’t make covering Calvin Johnson any easier.