- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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Over the next two weeks, we will look at ten critical plays that shaped the Detroit Lions' season in one way or another.
Not all of them will be bad and certainly, with the way the Lions cratered to a 7-9 finish, will not all be good. And some may be have just been fantastic plays.
And as always when it comes to these sorts of lists, this is subjective and are plays, for good or bad, that stuck out to me when I made this list. Agree or disagree vehemently, let’s chat about it. Oh, and we’ll be going in reverse order from 10 to 1.
Past plays: No. 10 -- PI in Arizona
Today, we present Play No. 9.
When: Sept. 8, 2013
Where: Ford Field, where the Lions beat the Minnesota Vikings, 34-24.
What happened: On a third-and-7 with Detroit up 20-17 in the third quarter, the Lions showed exactly why they signed Reggie Bush in the offseason. The Lions used an angled mid-screen to give Bush some space, and he went 77 yards for a touchdown to open up the game for the Lions. It was the first real explosive play Bush had shown with Detroit, part of a day where he gained 191 total yards.
What they said about it: Bush: “It’s definitely what we talked about. We talked about just getting me in space in situations where I’m mismatched on a linebacker, or safety, or cornerback or somebody man covers and while they’re worried about Calvin [Johnson] and some of those guys, just taking advantage of it. I think we were able to do that today. I think you saw a little bit of what’s to come in the future.”
How the Lions’ season was impacted: This became somewhat of a go-to play for Detroit during the season, as similar play designs also scored a touchdown against Cleveland and sprung big plays in other games for the Lions. It also showed that the investment in Bush, at least as a piece to complement the vertical passing game, was a strong pickup. Plays like that forced teams to pay more attention to Bush, and eventually Joique Bell, with underneath routes so they couldn’t focus all their attention on Johnson.