Lions focus: Correct Redzone Shortcomings

Lions' inability to find the end zone while within the 20 isn't escaping head coach Steve Mariucci.

The Lions are one of the five teams limping along in the NFC wild-card race with a 5-7 record, but they are not deluding themselves into believing their 26-12 victory over Arizona is the cure to all of their ills.

In particular, the Lions have to be concerned with their inability to score touchdowns on their infrequent visits to the red zone.

Going into the Arizona game on Sunday, their percentage of touchdowns scored on possessions inside the 20 was a middle-of-the-pack 54.5 percent, but they had only 22 red-zone possessions, the fewest in the NFL.

They got to the red zone seven times against the Cardinals but -- excluding the final possession of the game when they were content to take a knee -- they scored just two touchdowns, kicked three field goals and lost the ball once on an interception.

"We still are not functioning in the red zone like we need to," coach Steve Mariucci said. "We were in there seven but in the end we knelt on the ball, so say two of six. And that's not good enough to win football games consistently.

"That's an area we're going to talk about. We haven't been good enough in the red zone to score the points needed to win big games."

Including the kneel-down possession at the end of the game, the Lions have been in the red zone 29 times and have scored 14 touchdowns and kicked 10 field goals.

One of the problems has been that they haven't had a dependable running game. They haven't been to count on the running game and they haven't been good enough to force opposing defenses to respect the run.

They are hoping the development of rookie running back Kevin Jones will provide at least a partial cure for the problem. And the rest is up to quarterback Joey Harrington and the receivers.

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