Reggie Bush – 2013
Statistics: 14 games played, 223 carries, 1,006 yards, 4.5 yards/attempt, 4 touchdowns, 54 receptions, 506 yards, 3 touchdowns
Retrospective: After a highly-disappointing 2012 season in which much of their positive momentum from 2011 had evaporated, the Lions decided that their offense needed another talented playmaker to complement their potent quarterback and receiver duo. Coming off of two solid seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Reggie Bush was the man for Detroit, signed as a free agent to help address their longstanding dearth of talent in the offensive backfield.
Bush had shown flashes of brilliance over his previous seven seasons since being the second overall selection in the 2006 draft, but it was clear that he wasn’t ever going to turn into the superstar that many had hoped he would become. Still, the Lions saw him as an excellent fit in their offense with his dual-threat ability out of the backfield helping loosen up the Lions’ receivers and take some pressure off of Stafford.
Bush made his presence felt in his first game in Detroit, totaling 191 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, and using his explosive open-field burst to provide the Lions with another dimension to their at-times unstoppable attack. This included an electric 77-yard catch-and-run score.
After sitting out Week 3 with an injury, Bush registered another brilliant performance in a home victory over the Bears the week after, totaling 173 yards of offense and another score. The Lions were in great shape after a quarter of the season leading the NFC North with a 3-1 record and their balanced offense looking like one of the league’s most dangerous.
He would continue to contribute in both the passing and running games over the next several weeks, though he would not eclipse 100 yards on the ground again until a Week 10 road win in Chicago. His 122 total yards and rushing touchdown were crucial factors in the Lions’ unforgettable last-second home win against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8.
Though fumbles were an issue for Bush in 2013, (five total with four lost) and he missed a snow-covered road loss against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14, he put up an impressive 383 total yards between Weeks 12-15. It wouldn’t be enough for the Lions, however, as they went just 1-6 to close the season, missing the playoffs with a 7-9 record.
Bush’s 2013 season was one of the strongest of his career, and it helped give the Lions a balanced offense. Also, Bush is the only Lion to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season since 2004. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to propel the Lions back to the postseason, and it would be the last notable campaign of his NFL career.
Bush’s 2014 season was marred by injuries and production that paled in comparison to his 2013 output, and the Lions released him after their playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys that year. He would finish out his career with a pair of disastrous stints with the San Francisco 49ers and the Buffalo Bills.
The fact that no other running back to suit up for the Lions in the past decade has even come close to reaching Bush’s numbers and impact from 2013 is troubling. They would love for one of their young tailbacks in Kerryon Johnson or rookie D’Andre Swift to offer the same kind of boost to their 2020 offense. It has to happen at some point, right?
Which Lion do you think had the best offensive season over the last decade? Let us know in the comments section below.