In wet and rainy conditions last week in Pittsburgh the Detroit Lions went to their power running game.
"I thought, even though he got injured in the game, style-wise it was a good game for Joique (Bell) and Joique was being productive," head coach Jim Schwartz said. "He’s a different running back.
"You know Reggie, in horse racing it wouldn’t be called a mudder. He’s an explosively quick guy. He’s better on a fast track. Where Joique is a little different style running and was having effectiveness. We get those guys different reps anyways and try to feature both of them."
Last Sunday, Bell was the mudder the Lions needed.
"You know what, I’m a Michigan boy," Bell said. "I went to college at Wayne State and didn’t have any domes like the Division I schools and didn’t have any indoor facility where we could practice. Those are the conditions that I’m used to running in. Seeing that field just took me back to my college days."
Those are college days that saw Bell run for more than 2,000 yards a senior and win the Harlon Hill Trophy, which is the Division II version of the Heisman Trophy.
Bell has proven all year to be the perfect compliment to Bush’s slash and dash. Bell leads the team with five rushing touchdowns and has converted 71.4 percent of the third-and-1 runs he’s had this year (5-of-7). He’s averaging 4.0 yards per rush.
Bush is averaging 4.5 yards per run and has 20 runs of 10-plus yards in nine games played this year.
The pair isn’t exactly thunder and lightning, because Bell can provide the big play, too, but they are a nice compliment to one another in this offense.
"Joique heated up pretty good," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said of Bell’s performance last week.
"That’s a good track for Joique. He’s built for that type of game. Joique had a couple effective drives and it was unfortunate that he got a little banged up on the one drive and had to come out because he was kind of making the difference. We forced them into two-man on basically every down and he was what the doctor ordered for that."
Offensive coordinators like Linehan love options and Bell has proven to be a pretty good one when the Lions need a change of pace or to spell Bush for a series or two.