The Lions will be without lead running back D’Andre Swift for Sunday’s game against the Panthers. He will miss the first contest of his NFL career after not clearing the league’s concussion protocol.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter first reported the news on Twitter on Friday afternoon. The official update comes after Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press said that head coach Matt Patricia found it “difficult” to believe that Swift would play this weekend.
After being drafted by the Lions in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the 21-year-old rookie out of Georgia has quickly emerged as a star. Detroit mostly utilized him as a pass-catcher in the earlygoing, but eventually replaced Adrian Peterson as the team’s lead ballcarrier.
Through nine games with the Lions, Swift has 70 carries for 331 yards and 31 catches for 275 yards. He’s also scored six total touchdowns.
Lions' RB D'Andre Swift is out this week.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 20, 2020
Without Swift available against the Panthers, Peterson will likely assume the brunt of Detroit’s run-game responsibilities on Sunday. The 35-year-old former All-Pro joined the Lions in the offseason and remains a significant contributor in the team’s offense. In 2020, he has 97 carries for 371 yards and two touchdowns.
Third-year running back Kerryon Johnson will also see time in Detroit’s game this weekend. After a breakout rookie season in 2018, the former Auburn ballcarrier stumbled in 2019, averaging under four yards per carry. Unfortunately, Johnson hasn’t found his rhythm in 2020 either. He’s carried the ball just 30 times for 112 yards this season. Sunday presents itself as a huge opportunity for the 23-year-old.
Detroit needs a win this weekend in order to stay in the playoff hunt. The Lions are currently 4-5, tied for last in the NFC North.
Without Swift, Detroit plays Carolina at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.