The Detroit Lions had not won a game in Arizona since 1993, but for most of Sunday afternoon I thought the drought would soon end. After witnessing a 2nd half Lions lead slowly dwindle to extinction, it was easy to pin this loss on one player.
When Reggie Bush is healthy I truly believe in the Lions to do great things in 2013. My conundrum is that just like our old friend Jahvid Best, new back Bush cannot be counted on to stay on the field. Is it too much to ask for?
Sure, Bush only gained 25 yards on nine carries, but his influence on a game does not reflect statistics. No matter how ineffective Bush may be some days on the ground his constant threat as a receiver is the key needed to ignite this Lions offense. The versatility and speed that he provides out of the backfield opens up the entire offense in the same way Best did two years ago.
Jahvid Best did not always have impressive statistics in his six games with the Lions in 2011. In fact he did not average more than 3.6 yards per carry in a game until week four, but again production did not matter. The team won all three of those games and went on to start 5-1 with Best in the starting lineup. When he was injured the team finished the year 5-5 with another loss coming to the Saints in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Joique Bell is more than an adequate replacement, and I really do like him; however, one cannot teach speed, and Bell does not have near the same knee-buckling ability to keep a defense honest in coverage. The Lions must have an explosive player like a Best or Bush to take away the opposition’s focus from Calvin Johnson.
Yesterday when Bush was on the field Megatron attained 96 receiving yards and two touchdowns. With him off it, Johnson only amassed 20 yards.
Let’s not beat around the bush. The Lions need Reggie.