Bush would not be the focal point of the offense with a lethal passing game in quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and tight end Brandon Pettigrew. With all of these factors in place, Bush had an okay season. He was good enough to do what the Lions needed but still left a lot to be desired.
Bush had 223 carries (not uncommon in today’s pass-happy NFL) for 1,006 rushing yards (only the second 1,000-yard season in his eight years) and four touchdowns. The other facet of the game that makes Bush an elite player is his ability to make plays in the passing game. Bush did just that, notching 54 receptions for 506 yards and three touchdowns.
1,500 yards all-purpose is great for most running backs in the game, but for Bush there was a lot left to be desired. Bush put up these stats while missing three games with various injuries — something that has plagued his career thus far.
The most disappointing aspect of Bush’s 2013 campaign were his fumble-prone ways that have also defined him as a player. In his eight seasons, Bush has 27 total fumbles, 16 of which were lost, and that’s just too many for a running back in the NFL. These include a crucial fumble against the New York Giants in Week 16 that was a win or go home game.
Breaking down Bush even more, there were six games with 50 or less yards rushing, only three games with over 100 rushing yards and in Detroit’s nine losses, Bush had 385 rushing yards and only one rushing touchdown compared to Detroit’s seven wins where Bush had 621 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Bush will be one of the key players to look at next year in the NFL. With new head coach Jim Caldwell in place, I expect the same role for Bush as he had in 2013, being primarily a receiver out of the backfield rather than a straight ahead rusher between the tackles.
If Bush can emulate the history of former Heisman Trophy running backs in Detroit (Billy Sims and Barry Sanders) the Lions will be set at running back for years and the possibilities could be endless.