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Detroit Free Press
Swift ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns Sunday to lead the Lions to a 34-16 victory over the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Stadium.
The No. 35 overall pick and second running back taken in this year’s draft, Swift became the first Lion to top 100 yards rushing in a game since Kerryon Johnson ran for 125 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs last September.
He broke a 54-yard run on his first touch of the game and logged most of his career-high 14 carries while playing behind a makeshift offensive line.
Starting right tackle Tyrell Crosby and right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai left in the first half with dehydration, and the Lions finished the game with Matt Nelson, a converted defensive lineman, playing right tackle and Oday Aboushi getting snaps at guard.
Swift had been an intermittent part of the game plan through the season’s first four weeks, seeing playing time behind Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson, primarily in two-minute and special situations.
He dropped the would-be game-winning touchdown pass in a Week 1 loss to the Chicago Bears, and entered Sunday with more catches (13) than carries (12).
But facing the NFL’s 26th-ranked rushing defense and one of its worst teams, Swift and the Lions were dominant Sunday.
Peterson opened the scoring with a 1-yard run on the Lions’ opening drive, Swift followed with another 1-yard TD a possession later, and unlike what’s happened too many times this season, the Lions never were in jeopardy of squandering their lead.
Before Sunday, the Lions had lost six straight games in which they held double-digit leads, including in all three of their losses this year.
At 2-3, the Lions remain fringe playoff contenders, with a winnable stretch of games now through Thanksgiving. They play the 1-5 Atlanta Falcons next week – the Falcons beat the Minnesota Vikings for their first win of the season Sunday – and face just one team with a winning record – the Indianapolis Colts – before December.
Sunday’s win, however, does little to alleviate the pressure on head coach Matt Patricia, who improved to 11-25-1 with the Lions and has yet to prove he can consistently beat good teams.
Along with their rushing success, the Lions got their best defensive effort of the season Sunday, pressuring Gardner Minshew into two turnovers, a fumble and an interception, and holding the Jaguars to 44 yards rushing.
The Lions, after rushing for 90 or fewer yards the last three games, had a season-high 182 yards on the ground Sunday, and Swift and Kenny Golladay (four catches, 105 yards) became the first Lions teammates to top 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game since 2013.
Matthew Stafford completed 19 of 31 passes for 231 yards and threw his first career touchdown against the Jaguars, and Swift scored his second touchdown on a 6-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
The Jaguars (1-5) have given up at least 30 points in five straight games.