Every Monday during the regular season, the "Detroit Lions' Scorecard" will take a closer look at the on field performance of an important positional group and rank their performance during the prior game.
Few positions the Detroit Lions feature in 2013 will be more jam packed than running back, and the team had several players step up big against the Buffalo Bills in the preseason finale. A testament to that aforementioned depth? Thursday's solid play was headlined by a rookie, even in the absence of top runner Reggie Bush.
Theo Riddick, in need of a big performance to stay on the roster, delivered his best game of the preseason. Detroit as a whole chalked up 158 yards on the ground, which was an impressive feat considering the Lions' usual inability to establish a rushing attack. Overall, the group earned an A- for Thursday's effort at Buffalo.
1. Theo Riddick, A+. Riddick looked solid in the passing game, hauling in his two touchdowns in the red zone. More than that, though, he proved he can run between the tackles as well, gaining 26 yards and adding a fantastic spin move to his film. The performance ended up helping the rookie out of Notre Dame sew up a spot on the Lions for 2013, as he made the roster on Saturday.
2. Joique Bell, A+. A tie at the top was only fair after Bell continued to steamroll the competition. Bell ran four times for a powerful 28 yards, including a beautiful 23 yard run off tackle for a touchdown. Making a push to secure the second running back spot behind Reggie Bush, Bell continued to run hard and prove he can handle the load. There's no reason he shouldn't get plenty of touches in the opening game against Minnesota.
3. Steven Miller, A-. Miller gained the most yardage of any Detroit runner, rushing for 72 yards on 12 carries including a nice 34 yard burst. He didn't find the end zone, but looked shifty through the pile with his small size. It was Miller's best running game of the preseason, and though he didn't make the roster, Miller will be stashed away on Detroit's practice squad for 2013. Not too bad for an undrafted free agent.
4. Mikel Leshoure, C-. As has been the case most of the preseason, Leshoure was the least impressive runner the Lions featured on Thursday. Though he gained 24 yards, he made a costly fumble and didn't hit the line as intensely as Joique Bell or even Miller or Riddick. Bell has made a case to steal the second running back spot away from Leshoure, who's play has looked lazy through camp and the preseason. If he's not careful, he'll find himself slipping further down the depth chart and perhaps getting dangled as trade bait.
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