Lions RB Zach Zenner makes early impact for second straight game

George Sipple
Detroit Free Press
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Lions running back Zach Zenner protects the football as he runs through the defense of Packers defensive lineman Dean Lowry during the first half Sunday at Ford Field.

Detroit Lions running back Zach Zenner accounted for 98 yards of total offense in the first half, but just 11 yards in the second half.

The Lions went on to lose, 31-24, to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night at Ford Field.

Zenner rushed for 63 yards on 16 carries and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 5 minutes left in the second quarter as the Lions tied the game, 7-7. Zenner also had three catches for 35 yards in the first half.

“It’s tough,” Zenner said. “Any loss is tough. We want to defend this house. We had a great crowd tonight. Wanted to win the division. So very disappointed.”

Zenner said he was he’s personally disappointed that they didn’t win the NFC North. But, he added “we gotta move on.”

The Lions (9-7) did make the playoffs and will face the Seahawks (10-5-1) in Seattle on Saturday at 8:15 p.m.


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“I actually was still healthy when we played them last year,” Zenner said of the Seahawks. “A lot of guys on this team have a good feel for what that stadium brings. A lot of energy for sure. A good team and we’re going to need to be ready to go.”

Zenner has rushed for 136 yards on 32 carries and scored three touchdowns over the past two games for the Lions.

“Whenever I’m given an opportunity I just try to make the most of it,” said Zenner, who is in his second NFL season after being an undrafted free agent out of South Dakota State.

“Been getting more opportunities lately and it’s the same mantra for me – just do the best I can with whatever opportunities I’m given.”

Why wasn’t he able to have the same kind of success in the second half that he did in the first?

“It comes down to us as an offense executing our jobs and doing what we need to do to move the ball down the field,” Zenner said.

The offensive line was blocking well in the first half, according to Zenner, particularly on the touchdown he scored.

“Really well-blocked play if you watch it,” Zenner said. “I could have walked in untouched. Just the lean that I had, I kind ended up falling in. But the offensive line did a great job and I just happened to get the ball. Punch it in.”

Lions right guard Larry Warford said he loves the way Zenner runs.

“He has great vision,” Warford said. “Doesn’t try to get too fancy with anything. He sees the hole and he hits it. He’s perfect.”

So what couldn’t they run the ball more successfully in the second half?

“We just didn’t make our adjustments,” Warford said. “We didn’t execute our adjustments on the line. The coaches give us a play and it’s on us.

“It’s crap. As offensive linemen, you want to put the game on your back. When you don’t, you feel like garbage.”

Contact George Sipple: Follow him on Twitter @georgesipple.  Download our Lions Xtra app for free on Apple and Android!

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