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Lions' pass protection solid, especially at season's end

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Posted Jan. 12, 2012 @ 12:34 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

No quarterback attempted more regular-season passes than the Lions' Matthew Stafford, and though he was sacked 36 times, the numbers suggest his pass protection was fairly good, especially late in the season. In the Lions' last four games, including the postseason loss to New Orleans, Stafford was sacked once per every 27.1 passing attempts. The Saints, the NFL's leader in this category, allowed one sack for every 27.5 pass attempts in the regular season. Overall, the Lions allowed one sack per every 18.4 pass attempts in the regular season, 10th-best in the NFL.

"We were dropping back and throwing the ball as much as anybody, and that's tough on an offensive line, especially when you look at our division," Stafford told PFW this week. "You've got Clay Matthews, you've got Julius Peppers, Jared Allen. I mean, all these guys are having fantastic years. Everybody you play in the NFL has got a premier pass rusher, and our guys did a great job, kept me clean. Basically, the whole season they did a fantastic job. That was huge for us."

However, it wasn't all good news about the offensive line at season's end. OLT Jeff Backus, who has started every game in his 11-year NFL career, suffered a torn biceps in the wild-card loss at New Orleans. Backus, who is slated to be an unrestricted free agent, could miss most or all of the offseason after undergoing surgery to repair the injury on Jan. 9.

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