DETROIT -- Some thoughts following Detroit’s 34-24 win over Minnesota at Ford Field on Sunday.
What it means: For Detroit, this was a big-deal win. It may be only the opener, but the Lions showed a bunch of flashes of what they could potentially do on offense, with Reggie Bush being capable of running out of the backfield and the explosiveness in the short passing game. They also showed that their offensive line could hold up well, limiting Minnesota to just one sack. Considering Detroit’s next two games are on the road -- including a trip to Washington, D.C., in two weeks -- winning the season opener was extremely critical.
Stock watch: Rising -- Detroit’s defensive line. The Lions were always going to have a talented, big defensive line. But against Minnesota, Detroit’s deepest and most talented unit showed up all game long. Nick Fairley recovered a fumble, and Ndamukong Suh had a pressure that forced an interception in the first half. They spent a good portion of the day pressuring Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder. Also rising -- rookie tight end Joseph Fauria. The undrafted free agent saw a lot of time and caught his first career touchdown pass, a 1-yarder to give Detroit a 34-24 lead in the fourth quarter. In the coming weeks, he could end up taking snaps from Brandon Pettigrew if he can be consistent.
Reggie Bush’s debut: Detroit’s big-time free-agent acquisition paid almost immediate dividends. He scored a 77-yard touchdown off a screen pass from Matthew Stafford and almost had two more touchdowns, but both were reviewed and it was determined he was out at the 1-yard line. He finished with 21 rushes for 90 yards and four receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Containing Peterson: It may not look like it statistically, but Detroit’s defense did a good job limiting Minnesota superstar Adrian Peterson. Other than his 78-yard touchdown on his first carry of the season, Detroit’s defense held Peterson to 13 yards. In all, Peterson had 18 carries for 88 yards. He still did damage, though, scoring three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).
What’s next: The Lions head on the road the next two weeks, starting with a trip to Arizona next weekend.