Oct 27, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA;Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush (21) stiff arms Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) during 1st half of a game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Bush is on pace to become the Lions’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Kevin Jones in 2004, and that’s even missing a game and a half with injury. He has four touchdowns in the first half of the season, is the second-leading receiver on the team with 31 receptions/335 yards, and he’s averaging a respectable 4.4 yards per carry. Also, over 70 percent of his rushing yards on the season have come on rushes between the tackles, for those who thought he couldn’t do that.
It would seem the Reggie Bush experiment is a resounding success in Detroit. The only reason his grade falls is because he had lackluster performances in big games against Green Bay and Cincinnati, and has surprisingly dropped six passes this season.
The Detroit Lions offense is just plain and simply different when there’s a speed back at the ready. It was true with a healthy Jahvid Best, and it’s true of Bush. Even when he isn’t touching the ball, Bush affects the defense on every play. The Dallas game is a perfect example: coming in, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Bush was a bigger problem to stop than Calvin Johnson, and the defense played as such, so Megatron styled all over them for 329 yards.
This is tough, because expectations for Bush have been sky high since he signed with the Lions. He’s certainly meeting expectations, but by my scale, “meeting expectations” is good for a C. How could he exceed those expectations, when some people expected (albeit unreasonably) a record-setting offense? Bush has been really good, better than what the Lions are paying for, but the Lions’ offense isn’t league-leading, much less record-setting, and the rushing attack is still in the bottom half of the league.
Despite Bush’s inability to exceed insurmountable expectations, he has absolutely transformed the Lions offense. He has been everything the Lions have expected of him, with only a couple of bumps in the road. If the Lions can get production like this for the rest of Bush’s contract, he’ll go down as one of the greatest free agent signings of all time. Not just in Detroit, but anywhere.