Schwartz explains using Riddick over Bush

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The timing seemed odd for Theo Riddick. He had barely been used on offense this season, a sixth-round pick relegated mostly to special teams his rookie season.

Yet with his team trailing and needing big plays to try and come back against Pittsburgh on Sunday, Detroit went not with running back Reggie Bush -- the guy they signed specifically for his big-play capability -- but Riddick, who has barely played in that situation.

“It was just a couple plays,” Schwartz said Monday. “We didn’t have Joique (Bell) at that time, he had gone out of the game and Reggie had been taking a lot of reps and wanted to take a little bit of that load off of him, wasn’t more than anything there.

“Riddick has a role. We have personnel packages for him. We never really, really since the preseason, he’s really never got involved once the games come around and that’s something we’re looking to do because he’s a good player and he can make some plays for us.”

But to use him there was a bit interesting. Bush’s workload wasn’t anything different than in prior weeks. Bush had 42 snaps Sunday (58 percent of the plays), the fourth-lowest full game snap count for Bush this season. In back-to-back-to-back weeks in October, he played 50 snaps against Cleveland, 55 against Cincinnati and then a season-high 64 against Dallas.

The past two weeks, though, his snaps have diminished. He played 39 against Chicago and then 42 on Sunday. His 12 carries were also the fewest he’s had in a full, healthy game this season.

Also, Bush said he was healthy enough to play at the end and Bush said he felt he wasn’t on the field for the final plays of the game because he fumbled in the first half, not because of rest.

“Probably because I fumbled the ball. Turned the ball over, you know, that’s what happens,” Bush said. “I’ve been in this league long enough to know that. So there’s nobody to blame but myself.”

Bush said it is up to the coaches whether he would be on the field in late, critical situations like the one Sunday against Pittsburgh.

On Monday, Schwartz said Bush wasn’t being punished when he sat at the end of the game.

“That was early in the game,” Schwartz said. “We weren’t all of a sudden going to pull him out late in a game on that one. Theo’s got some good ability in the pass game. He didn’t show it in this one, he dropped the ball that was thrown to him and he looked funny out there with a clean uniform on when everybody else was out there.

“But that had nothing to do with that. That being said, we do need to do a better job protecting the ball.”

Ball security has been an issue for Bush this season. He has now lost fumbles in two of the past three games and almost lost a third fumble, but the Lions were able to run a quick play before Pittsburgh could challenge the call.

Bush had an overall rough game Sunday, gaining a season-low 54 total yards -- including 31 yards rushing (a season-low for him in a full game) and 23 yards receiving.

“Yeah, just, rough day,” Bush said. “Just got to find a way to bounce back. Be better and find a way to get a win next week.

“Championship teams don’t stack losses. You know, they stack wins. So, obviously, this one stings and we know we should have come out with the win (Sunday) but we didn’t execute and turn the ball over, starting with myself. So we have to find a way to get better and be better.”