The Detroit Lions and The Great Running Back Conundrum

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Player Attempts Rushing Yards Touchdowns Yards per carry
Reggie Bush 223 1006 4 4.5
Joique Bell 166 659 8 3.9
Theo Riddick 9 25 0 2.8
Mikel Leshoure 2 9 0 4.5
Total 400 1,699 12 3.9
NFL Rank: 17th
13 Eagles 500 2,566 19 5.1

Believe it or not, this was the Lions best rushing season since Barry Sanders retirement. The Lions went out and got Reggie Bush in the offseason and the excitement over this move was palpable. Bush and Bell became the first running back duo in NFL history to both rush for over 500 yards and receive for over 500 yards each. The Lions ended the season at 7-9


Player Attempts Rushing Yards Touchdowns Yards per carry
Joique Bell 223 860 7 3.9
Reggie Bush 76 297 2 3.9
Theo Riddick 20 51 0 2.6
George Winn 19 73 0 3.8
Total 338 1,281 9 3.5
NFL Rank: 26th
14 Seahawks 525 2,762 20 5.3

There are a few reasons why the Lions rushing attack had such a downfall in 2014. One of them is Reggie Bush. The signing may have been a bit overstated to begin with. While the Lions made the right move at the time, the problem was the misunderstanding of what Bush could be for the Lions. If it were a situation where Bush is the number two guy, the signing would have been a massive success. Instead the Lions asked Bush to be what he’s never been, an in between the tackles, every down back. What they got was a guy that dances more than a guest on Soul Train and who’s injury history reared its ugly little head yet again.

Dec 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush (21) watches from the sideline during the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Ford Field. Ravens won 18-16. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The hope for Lions fans is that in 2015, the new group will be able to work together well in the expected running back by committee scheme. If they can’t, then the Lions will be looking at an eighteenth year of ineptitude in the running game.

What do you think? What could the Lions have done to fix this in the past? How will the Lions running game fare in 2015? Leave your comments below and be sure to follow us on Twitter @SideLionReport and @Lionmike26 for all your Lions news and original content.