Detroit Lions notes: Bush comes back strong

BY foxsports • September 29, 2013

DETROIT -- Knee injury? What knee injury?

That had to be what the Chicago Bears defenders were asking themselves as they mostly watched Lions running back Reggie Bush run for 139 yards on 18 carries, an impressive 7.7 average.

One of those runs was a 37-yard touchdown dash late in the second quarter in which Bush looked like an Olympic hurdler, leaping over Bears as they tried to tackle him.

"A sweet run," Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "It was a play that, honestly, we have been working in practice all week knowing that they were going to blitz us.

"Instead of getting out of it, we just ran right into it. Dom (Raiola) made a great call up front. (Brandon) Pettigrew had a great block. We sealed off the backside and then Reggie did the rest."

It's hard to believe that Bush was inactive last week in Washington because of a left knee injury.

"I'm not going to lie, I was a little worried because I wasn't sure," Bush said. "When you're coming back off an injury, you just don't know until you take a hit on it, so I wasn't sure how I was going to respond.

"I was a little nervous, but it held up pretty good. And after that first series, I felt like I was OK."

Bush was better than OK, collecting 112 yards rushing in the first half alone.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the first time Bush had 100 or more rushing yards in the first half of an NFL game.

Bush also finished with four receptions for 34 yards.

"That dude does special things out there, every week," Calvin Johnson said. "As long as we can give him good support in the blocking game and we do our thing on the outside, we're going to be all right."

For his part, Bush credited the offensive line rather than his own elusiveness.

"They did a great job," Bush said. "I really didn't get touched a whole lot until I got to the secondary. Kudos to those guys, man. They played their hearts out, they played well and they were the key factor why we were successful on offense."

The Bears' defensive backs were kicking themselves for not bringing down Bush when they had their chances.

"I think we just missed a lot of tackles," Bears cornerback Charles Tillman said. "And he did a good job of making his moves. He just had a hell of a day at the office. I tip my hat to him."

Bears safety Major Wright said Bush adds a lot to the Lions' offense.

"Reggie Bush is special," Wright said. "He has speed. He can shake you. He can do everything."

Johnson turned 28 on Sunday.

But it doesn't seem like his teammates were very creative with birthday presents.

"A touchdown, I guess," said Stafford, when asked what he got Johnson. "Other than that, not a whole lot.”

Johnson had four receptions for 44 yards and one touchdown, a two-yard score with 5:47 left in the second quarter.

Stafford only needed nine completions but had 23 to become the first passer in NFL history to complete 1,200 passes in his first 50 games.

"I might when I'm done playing someday," Stafford said when asked if he'd thought about the feat. "I had no idea about that or that it was coming. It's something that I'll probably look back on when I'm done and realize it was something pretty special."

Stafford also broke Kurt Warner's record for most passing yards in his first 50 games.

Warner had 13,864 and Stafford finished Sunday with 14,069 after going 23-35 for 242 yards.

With wide receiver Nate Burleson out with a broken arm, the Lions needed a few other guys to step up in his absence.

It was no surprise that Johnson, Bush and Joique Bell caught a combined 12 passes for 108 yards.

But some might have been surprised at tight end Brandon Pettigrew catching all seven passes thrown his way for 54 yards.

"It's great," Stafford said. "That guy, he works his tail off. He's been a guy that, since I've been here, has been a security blanket for me.

"He's taken some big hits and made some big plays for us. He did it again today. That guy is tough. He's blocking his butt off. I'm glad that we got to repay him with some passes today.

Kris Durham also had three receptions for 58 yards.

"I thought Durham played extremely well today," Bush said. "He was a huge reason why we converted some of those third downs."

Durham also recovered the Bears' last two onside kick attempts, one of which made coach Jim Schwartz a little mad when Chicago linebacker Jonathan Bostic hit Durham.

"We talk a lot about player safety and he's lying prone on the ground and is getting himself up and takes a helmet right to the back and we don't get any call there," Schwartz said. "It's a little hypocritical to talk about player safety when we allow that to not get called.

"Kris toughed it out and he had to hold onto that ball and he did. He did a nice job."

The Lions' secondary performed well Sunday but did not escape unscathed.

Both starting cornerbacks, Chris Houston and Rashean Mathis, did not finish the game because of injuries.

Mathis came out of the game in the first half and was tested for a concussion. Although he passed both the sideline concussion test and the one at halftime, he was not allowed to return.

"I ran down the steps, thought I was cleared to play but then our head guy said that their doctor said you might have went out for a second and protocol says you can't play," Mathis said.

Rookie Darius Slay replaced Mathis.

Houston came out in the second half.

"Chris went out with a leg," Schwartz said. "He wasn't able to return. We had a lot of different injuries but we had some guys step up and have to play."

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