A promising 2-1-1 start for the Detroit Lions in 2019 has sunk to a familiar 2-3-1 following two consecutive losses to divisional rivals.
A huge factor behind the two most recent setbacks is the fact that the Lions have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, sitting at 28th with 139.2 rushing yards allowed per game – a stark contrast from last season, when it ranked among the best.
Last year's acquisition of Damon “Snacks” Harrison was a godsend for the run defense. And as the veteran he is, Harrison is taking responsibility for the struggles that the unit has experienced this year.
“It really starts with me up front,” Harrison explained. “I have to do a better job in the middle and getting some of those plays that I’m used to making that I’m not making this year. It’s a lot of things that I can blame it on, but only thing I can do at the end of the day is just throw effort at it during the practice week and try to perform on Sundays.”
Minnesota's Dalvin Cook ran for two touchdowns (142 yards) in Sunday's win over Detroit, while Green Bay's Jamaal Williams also topped 100 yards last Monday night.
“I’m not making the plays that I’m used to making and again that’s for a lot of different reasons that I really don’t want to get into,” Harrison said. “But we’ve just got to get it done and it starts with me.”
While Harrison believes his level of play is high, he isn't on pace to match last season's 50 tackles. He's also been up front about it, saying “teams are doing a good job of making sure that I’m accounted for.”
“That hasn’t stopped me in the past and I don’t see why it should stop me now,” he said.
The Lions will have a chance to get back into the win column on Sunday against the New York Giants, Harrison's former team.