Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell (35) breaks out of a tackle by New York Giants free safety Ryan Mundy (21) during the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Giants beat the Lions 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Joique Bell has great game wasted in heart-breaking loss


The Detroit Lions have been eliminated from playoff contention following an overtime loss to the New York Giants, and plenty of questions will be asked about Jim Schwartz’s future in Detroit. To be honest with you, I would be surprised if Schwartz keeps his job, because this kind of a collapse cannot be ignored. The Lions were hit the least hard by injuries of the three teams competing for the NFC North crown, and they also had a better roster than the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. Yet, the Lions will be sitting at home in January thanks to a mind-boggling late-season swoon, with this loss to the Giants being a frustrating nadir. If Jason Garrett gets fired for missing the playoffs, then why should Schwartz keep his job when the Lions have a better roster than the Cowboys?

Not everything can be pinned on Schwartz, though, and that’s something to keep in mind going into the offseason. Matthew Stafford has been just as much to blame for the Lions collapse as Schwartz, and it’s been surprising and disappointing to watch Stafford’s play regress. He was one of the best quarterbacks this year through the first 11 weeks, but his only quality performance in his last five outings was the easy game against the unprepared Packers on Thanksgiving.

The Lions offense as a whole stunk yesterday, and Calvin Johnson was clearly hobbled on a knee injury that is much worse than initially thought. Reggie Bush was also benched for fumbling issues, but the man normally behind Bush stepped up in a huge way.

Joique Bell and Bush have formed one of the league’s most potent running back duos, and their ability to catch passes out of the backfield has greatly helped Stafford this year. With Bush benched, Bell once again rose up to the challenge with an increased workload, and he was the only saving grace for the Lions. In fact, I’d say that the only reason why this game went into overtime is because of Bell, who was the best skill position player on either team.

Bell caught all ten passes thrown at him for 63 yards, and he tried his best to help keep Stafford afloat. The Lions gave Bell 20 carries, and he responded with 91 yards and a touchdown. It was an excellent performance for Bell, who has really broken out this season and finished with a total of 154 yards from scrimmage.


Tags: Behind The Numbers Calvin Johnson Detroit Lions Joique Bell Matthew Stafford Reggie Bush