NOTEBOOK: Reggie Bush makes good on initial promises; stopping Peterson and more

Posted Sep 8, 2013

Tim Twentyman on RB Reggie Bush's performance, T Jason Fox's injury and stopping Vikings' RB Adrian Peterson in the Lions' 34-24 win over Minnesota

When Reggie Bush was wined and dined by the Lions in the first hours of free agency, the ultimate selling point for him to come to Detroit was the number of five-, six- and seven-man boxes the Lions faced last season.

Of their 1,160 plays in 2012, the Lions faced those boxes 855 times, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

The Lions, once again, saw similar looks and soft coverage vs. Minnesota on Sunday, but this time, they had a trump card.

Bush made the Vikings pay for daring the Lions to run the football and Lions fans got the first glimpse of what Bush can be in this offense.

"It’s definitely what we talked about," Bush said after the game of the first conversations he had with Detroit back in March.

"We talked about just getting me in space in situations where I’m mismatched on a linebacker, safety, cornerback or somebody (in) man coverage while they’re worried about Calvin (Johnson)."

Bush torched the Vikings for 90 yards on the ground and another 101 through the air, including a 77-yard touchdown catch and run in the third quarter that gave the Lions a 27-17 lead in an eventual 34-24 win.

What Sunday proved: defensive coordinators moving forward have a lot to think about when playing the Lions.

"Yeah, no question," Schwartz said. "And that was the dynamic that he brought. We like Reggie’s talent, but what we really liked was the way his talent complimented Calvin’s and the way Calvin’s compliments him. A lot of first downs, big plays and things like that."

Johnson was held to four catches for 37 yards, but the Lions still put up 469 yards of total offense with Bush (191) and running back Joique Bell (92) accounting for 283 yards.

The Lions proved Sunday that if teams want to play back and give the Lions opportunities in the run game and short passing game, they have the weapons to make them pay.

It’s exactly what they talked about months ago.

"This was the stuff we were looking at," Bush said. "They really didn’t have to show me much. All they had to do was turn on a few plays and show me that they were doubling Calvin, rolling coverage over to him and six man boxes, five man boxes sometimes in there and that’s a running back's dream."


Adrian PetersonLB Ashlee Palmer with the stop on Vikings' RB Adrian Peterson (Photo: G.Smith/Detroit Lions)

It looked like All Pro running back Adrian Peterson was on his way to a spectacular day Sunday after he took his first handoff 78 yards for a touchdown, but the Lions defense buckled down after that.

Peterson finished with 93 yards on 18 carries, which means he had just 15 yards on his last 17 carries.

"One person’s out of position or one person misses a tackle and it’s not a first down, it’s a touchdown," Schwartz said. "We knew that going in. We didn’t play that first one well, but after that I was proud of the way we played him."

The Lions made Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder beat them and his three interceptions proved he wasn’t up to the task.

"Obviously we did a good job shutting down Adrian Peterson after that and when we were able to get the lead, I think you’re really able to see us rush the passer and things like that, particularly in the second half," Schwartz said.


Starting right tackle Jason Fox suffered a groin injury in the first quarter and did not return.

Corey Hilliard took over for Fox the rest of the way and the Lions didn’t seem to skip a beat. The fact that Fox and Hilliard competed so closely and for long during training camp for the starting job seemed to pay dividends for the Lions Sunday.

"Corey Hilliard stepped in and did a nice job in there," Schwartz said. "We had some issues – a couple different guys cramping. It was a tough, physical game. But we persevered through it."


Bell had a career high two touchdowns Sunday and former second-round pick Mikel Leshoure had a front-row seat to it all. For the first time since he was drafted in 2010, Leshoure was a healthy scratch.

"We’ve only got 46," Schwartz said of roster spots on game day. "Ball carriers – we had a lot of them, and special teams plays a part of it, as it does for all the 46 that we get.

"But we have a lot of confidence in Mikel and when his number’s called we’re very confident that he’ll be able to go in and give us a lot of the same stuff we saw from the guys today."