Detroit Lions: Mike Tomlin

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz was leaning over last season, his nose not even on the field when he received the most unwelcome of surprises.

An elbow from an official. Right in his face. The nose, to be specific.

“I wasn’t even in the white, but that didn’t feel good,” Schwartz said. “There were probably some other people that wish they had that elbow.

“But we talk about it a bunch, staying out and things like that. It’s a difficult thing to do. I say I’m pretty good about staying out of the white but things happen in a game.”

Schwartz said he and his staff discuss staying off of the field and even off of the white part of the sideline during games and it is also part of what they discuss with players. Don’t even be near the field, that way you can avoid what happened with Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin on Thanksgiving.

Tomlin ended up on the field during a kick return by Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones that appeared to be going for a touchdown. He jumped out of the way, but Jones tried to avoid him and ended up being tackled.

On Wednesday, the NFL fined Tomlin $100,000 and is considering penalizing the Steelers with a lost draft pick. One of Detroit’s primary returners, Jeremy Ross, was stunned when he was told how much Tomlin was fined.

“Really? Wow. Wow,” Ross said. “Just be aware where you’re at on the sideline, basically. But you never want to have somebody on the field, especially when you’re returning and stuff.”

Ross and Micheal Spurlock, Detroit’s other returner, both said they would do something similar to Jones when it came to how they would have handled the return with Tomlin.

They would have done all they could to avoid hitting him instead of potentially running into him because he was on the field of play.

“I think I would do what Jacoby did. You dodge him,” Spurlock said. “You out there to be elusive and go score, not to try and run over everybody. He tried to dodge him and keep going. He got tackled but I don’t think it was done intentionally.

“You feel bad for Jacoby, that could have been a touchdown but they still won the game. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”
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.”