It’s Bush Or Bust.

8 more penalties for more than a century of yards hindered the Lions yesterday in their 25-21 defeat to the Cardinals.

The penalties may never stop, nor may the Lions ever achieve the discpline needed to reach where they did in 2011.

Those 8 for 101, are not the numbers I’m most troubled by for the Lions.

It’s 12, 10, 14, 8 and 15. Those are the amount of games played by Reggie Bush in 5 of his 7 full years. 2006, as a rookie, and last year, are the only times Bush has played a full season.
You may not have before the season, due to the excitement of his signing, but you/we/I should’ve budgeted in missed time by Reggie.

I can lament the Lions discpline issues game after game, year after year under Jim Schwartz – it’s probably never going to be cured under this regime. Detroit will often need to win games inspite of this problem. That’s going to be difficult, if not impossible to achieve if Reggie Bush is consistently in and out of the lineup.

Last week I said even after 7 seasons in the NFL Bush, at 28, still had an agile shiftiness to shake defenders at the line of scrimmage, to dart through holes, and he still possesses an exciting burst to leave defenses clamoring for oxygen. This is all…when Bush can play. Last week Bush worked through thumb, groin and knee burdens. Yesterday, whether it one good direct shot, or the cumulative count of a week and a half of knocks, Bush was unable to continue playing. Bush admits ruminating over the injury caused a costly turnover on his part.

Two games into the Lions season we’ve seen the very best of Bush – 77 yards of defenders behind him, and the very worst – his lack of season long durability, leaving his playing time continuously in doubt.
Joique Bell’s journey from Wayne State to powerful, but plodding pass catching (and dropping yesterday too) backup running back are commendable, but his limited skill set is not something that can replace the explosiveness and unpredictability that Reggie Bush provides the Lions offense.
When Bush exited the game for good yesterday, the Lions offense looked as immobile as they were last year at times.

For the Lions, they have the top tier talent (Suh, Megatron, Stafford) to lick their self inflicted wounds of shoddy discipline but I fear that task may be an impossible one without a player who in a just short period of time became the centerpiece of their now very potent offense.

– The final Lions play of the game brought mounds of criticism. It’s something you can hear and see during any NFL broadcast. ‘Why not run a route past the first down market?!?!?!?!?’ is yelled in frustration and outrage. My perspective is a bit different. Knowing that Patrick Peterson was going to remove Megatron as an option on that vital play, as savvy as Nate Burleson is, he’s not much bigger than the play making Tyrann Mathieu. Don’t want to go the route of the 6’7″ rookie Joseph Fauria on the game’s most important play? Fine. He’d played just 6 snaps all game. Then what about the nearly as tall Kris Durham, who’d played in more than half of the Lions offensive snaps (likely because of Patrick Edwards injury). Scott Linehan was credited by some in the first half for his creativity. Well, that’s an easy accomplishment when Reggie Bush is in the game. If you know Johnson is an unlikely option, then motion and matchups become vital. The Lions lost that game of chess, by 4 yards.

– Matthew Stafford has become a veteran quarterback. Though not perfect, he’s making fewer mistakes and helping out his just-adequate offensive line by making timely reads to get rid of the ball. Stafford’s 72 yard touchdown strike to Johnson is probably only completed by one other passer in the league, Aaron Rodgers. In pitching terms, Stafford dotted the black with 99. Though his next stage of growth needs to be knowing when to use his changeup. Fastballs to receivers less than 10 yards away are a recipe for drops, and balls through hands for picks.

– Tony Scheffler is a forgotten man. Just 4 plays yesterday. It’s a shame rookie Michael Williams from Alabama lost his season before it started.

– Was that blocked Akers’ attempt his fault? Uhhhhh, Justin Bethel was UNTOUCHED.

– Suh was special again. His pressure forced many of those Palmer incompletions, but particularly on the play where Levy scored again. Late in game, I saw him triple teamed at times.

– On the Lions 2nd and 10 play, the pass to Calvin, in real time I didn’t see interference. I saw the best receiver in the game, battling the best corner in the game. A lesser corner 1. probably gets beaten for 6 there and 2. probably gets a flag for the jostling with Calvin. But Peterson has earned the ‘play on’ status from officials.

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