NOTEBOOK: Bush takes it back to his RB days

Defensive players dream of the opportunity to get their hands on the football and flash back to the glory days of Pop Warner or high school, when most of them played some offense as well.

Lions strong safety Rafael Bush is no different.

So, when a Blake Bortles pass fluttered innocently in the air, and Bush came down with it less than a minute into the second half, those former running back instincts of his kicked in.

He juked a defender, set up his blocks and beat everyone to the end zone.

"It's just going back to my running back days," Bush said after the game. "It's kind of natural for me. Our guys put bodies on bodies and getting blocks and I saw a lot of blue on the sideline. Once I got the ball, I saw clear day light. All I have to do is stay on my feet."

Bush returned the interception 39 yards for a touchdown give the Lions a 16-9 lead and help eek out an eventual 26-19 come-from-behind win.

Bush also recorded a tackle for loss in the open field in the third quarter on a key 3rd and 2 pass completion to Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas. He finished with three tackles.

"He's an unusual guy just in terms of how much ground he can cover," head coach Jim Caldwell said. "He can really run and he runs well. He's active, he's aggressive and once he gets the ball in his hand he can do something with it.

"I'm not certain I've seen a better run in a crowd than that one. He did a nice job of finishing it off."


Third-year tight end Eric Ebron continued his torrid play of late.

He was responsible for the biggest play of the day for the Lions' offense, a 61-yard completion early in the fourth quarter that set up the first rushing touchdown of Ebron's career from 1-yard out two plays later.

He caught three passes on the day for 70 yards with the touchdown run. He's had at least 70 receiving yards now in three straight games.

"They just called a play, man," Ebron said of his 61-yard reception. "Matt (Stafford) made great movement with his feet in the pocket to keep a play alive and he just found me, knew where I was going to be.

"I just keep working with him. We've had great rapport throughout the first half of the season since I came back and just plan on keeping it."


Bush, a reserve safety and sub-package player, made huge contributions for the Lions vs. the Jags, but he wasn't the only one who did so.

Safety Miles Killebrew recorded five tackles, a couple coming on key third downs stopping the Jaguars short of the sticks.

Backup defensive tackle Stefan Charles had a tackle for loss. Andre Roberts, the team's fourth receiver, not only returned a punt for a touchdown, but also had a 44-yard reception in the game.

The Lions are developing depth on their roster, and it's starting to help them on Sundays.

"I think that we are developing some depth. I do believe that," Caldwell said. "I do think that when (Darius) Slay was out we had a little assistance there. (Johnson) Bademosi got some really, good strong playing time where we got a comfort level with him and a number of guys across the board I think have showed up that way.

"Our defensive front, like you mentioned, young guys have been playing for us pretty steady. They're all I think getting better. They're willing to get better. They work at it consistently, so it's helping us. Sometimes an injury early in the season kind of helps you later in the season. I think in a couple spots it's certainly given us a comfort level with a couple guys."


  • The Lions are the first team in NFL history to have six comeback wins after trailing in the fourth quarter in the first 10 games of the season.
  • Cornerback Johnthan Banks got some run on defense for the first time since joining the team at the trade deadline. He filled in for Nevin Lawson on a few series and finished with two tackles. He also allowed a 29-yard pass to Marqise Lee in the third quarter that set up a Jacksonville touchdown.
  • The Lions were just 5-of-14 (36 percent) on third down in the game.
  • Jim Caldwell recorded his 50th career coaching victory on Sunday
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content