Haloti Ngata, the Lions’ big run-stuffing defensive tackle, was lost for the season to a torn biceps suffered in Detroit’s fifth game of the season. In his absence, Ngata has shown just how important he was to the Lions’ run defense.
The Lions allowed 373 rushing yards in their first five games, with Ngata. The Lions have allowed 769 rushing yards in their next five games, without Ngata.
That’s right, the Lions’ run defense is allowing more than twice as many yards per game since Ngata’s injury as they were allowing before Ngata got hurt. That includes Sunday’s game against Chicago, in which the Bears gained a whopping 222 yards against the Lions. The week before, the Browns gained 201 yards against the Lions.
The Lions managed to win both of those games, but giving up 200 yards a week is not the path to the playoffs. They’re going to need to figure out how to stop the run without Ngata, or they’re not gonna get to the postseason.