Friday, November 15, 2013
Reggie Bush will also test Steelers' defense
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- Calvin Johnson won’t be the only Detroit Lions player who presents serious matchup problems for the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at Heinz Field.
Reggie Bush has just under 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in eight games this season, and Ryan Clark said Bush is so good in open space that he reminds the Steelers' free safety of LaDainian Tomlinson.
“As far as his ability to make guys miss, I think it’s LaDainian-like,” Clark said.
That is high praise considering Tomlinson is fifth all-time in the NFL with 13,684 rushing yards and is a future Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Like Tomlinson was during his decorated playing career, Bush is a dual threat, and he has added balance to the Lions’ offense after signing with Detroit in the offseason.
The eighth-year veteran has rushed for 623 yards and added 343 receiving yards.
Clark said Bush is also comparable to Saints’ scatback Darren Sproles, because of his receiving and open-field skills.
“He’s a guy who’s cat-quick, extremely elusive in the open field, and so they feel like any opportunity with Reggie in space against a defender other than a corner they have an athletic advantage," Clark said. "They try to get him in space.”
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Bush is more than just a running back who also has good hands.
“He’s one of those few running backs that has wide receiver skills in terms of his ability to drop his weight and create separation at break points,” Tomlin said.
Many of the Steelers will play against Bush for the first time.
The only other time he faced the Steelers was during his rookie season in 2006.
Bush rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, and caught seven passes for 50 yards in helping the Saints beat the Steelers at Heinz Field.
He has never quite lived up to the hype that accompanied him to the NFL, but Bush has carved out a solid career.
And the former Southern Cal start is still one of the more feared players in the NFL when he gets into the open field.
“You have to get to him as a unit,” said Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who isn’t expected to play Sunday because of a calf injury, “because he does a great job of breaking tackles and finding a lane and taking it to the house.”