DETROIT — Hello, Reggie.
Reggie Bush made his Detroit Lions debut with a splash.
The veteran running back was instrumental in the Lions’ 34-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the season opener on Sunday at Ford Field.
The highlight was his 77-yard touchdown on a short pass from Matthew Stafford. You could almost see Bush shift into gear and turn on the jets to get past the last lines of defense.
In the spring, the Lions lured Bush to Detroit by showing him the way defenses play Calvin Johnson.
To no one’s surprise, that’s what he saw from the Vikings.
“I was lining up and seeing six-man boxes and even a few five-man boxes. That's a dream for a running back,’’ Bush said. “I was seeing eight and nine-man boxes in Miami, so this was a lot more fun. That's what Calvin (Johnson) does. He's so good that teams are doubling him and rolling coverage toward him, and those are guys I'm not worried about. I don't think we'll keep seeing that, but that's going to open up things for him.’’
Bush finished with 191 total yards. He said he wants to average four yards a carry and he was a 4.3 with 21 carries for 90 yards. He also caught four passes for 101 yards.
“That's the dynamic Reggie brings, and that's why we wanted him,’’ coach Jim Schwartz said. “We love his talent, but he's here because of the way he complements Calvin and the way Calvin complements him.’’
Bush’s work ethic has impressed his teammates since Day One. Running back Joique Bell calls him a workhorse.
Now they know he’s tough too because he played through two first-half injuries that could have sidelined a lesser running back.
“I didn't get banged up too badly today. I did dislocate my thumb — it was pointing in the wrong direction, but they were able to pop it back in and tape it up,’’ Bush said. “After that, I just carried the ball with my right hand.’’
“On the series after that, I pulled a groin muscle, but I was able to keep going with that one,’’ Bush said. “I guess that's not too banged up. I am going home and getting some sleep, though. My thumb is going to be killing me once the excitement wears off.’’
The Lions finished with 117 rushing yards and 352 passing. They aren’t looking for a 50-50 balance with Bush, but they were looking for more from their running game.
They got it Sunday.
“That's the most air we've ever had in the running game against MInnesota, at least since I've been here,’’ Stafford said. “That wasn't just Reggie, but Joique (Bell) and the offensive line. Even when (Jason) Fox went down, (Corey) Hilliard came in and had a great game.’’
Bell credited the offensive line with the run game success.
“Our O-line was blocking the best since I’ve been here,’’ Bell said, reeling off all their names.
“We have a lot of guys stepping up, you can tell the difference in the running game from last year,’’ Bell said.
The offensive line is important, but the addition of Bush is key.
He gives the offense a new dimension, it’s exactly what the Lions were seeking from Jahvid Best. He gave it to them before his concussion sidelined him.
That’s the game Reggie Bush brings.
He got a huge ovation from the fans as he ran out of the tunnel prior to the game.
And throughout the afternoon, when he would make a big play they would chant, “Reggie, Reggie, Reggie.”
It’s been quite a few years since a Lions’ running back has been able to fire up the fans quite like that.
“He had a great game,’’ Stafford said. “He's a super-talented athlete who was out there making big plays. He does everything.’’
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