DETROIT — A monster.
On paper, this is what most thought Reggie Bush would be when he signed as a free agent with the Detroit Lions.
With most defenses concerned about All-World receiver Calvin Johnson, it would give Bush an opportunity to do damage both running and catching the ball out of the backfield.
The Minnesota Vikings will have nightmares after witnessing Bush's debut in Motown.
Bush rushed for 90 yards on 21 carries and had 101 receiving yards, including a 77-yard touchdown reception. His double-threat production led the Lions to a 34-24 season-opening victory at Ford Field on Sunday afternoon.
Lions fans were so thrilled at Bush's performance that, on a few occasions, the sellout crowd chanted "REG-GIE, REG-GIE."
"I love it," said Bush, who signed with the Lions this past offseason after leaving Miami as a free agent. "They're extremely loud."
Still, it was Bush who made the most noise, even after Adrian Peterson took his first snap of the season and rumbled for a 78-yard touchdown run.
"The guy's a super talented player, like we all know," said Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford about Bush, his new weapon. "He did a great job running the ball. Caught some balls out of the backfield."
The one reception that got folks most excited came in the third quarter when Bush snagged a short pass, five or six yards, in the middle of the field and took off. The Vikings couldn't catch Bush and he wound up with a 77-yard TD, giving the Lions a 27-17 lead.
"It was just a play that we felt that we could really exploit them with the way play their defense," Bush said. "We hit them with it, I think twice, early in the first half. This one just happened to work out perfectly. I was able to score a long touchdown. It gave us a lot momentum throughout the game."
Peterson, who had 93 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns, was impressed with Bush. Last year, the Vikings were able to beat the Lions twice without Bush.
"In the offseason, when he got picked up, I knew it was a good move for them," Peterson said. "The offense they have already and being about to get a player like Reggie Bush, I knew it was going to help them out a lot. He did a spectacular job.''
Indeed. But fans have to be realistic in looking down the road. It's nearly impossible to believe this will happen on a weekly basis.
For sure, defensive coordinators will have to rethink their defensive strategy as the season moves on.
It could be a case of picking your poison – an “either or” situation when you decide to put an emphasis on either Bush or Johnson.
"I believe that can happen," Johnson said. "But we have a plethora of options.
"If they are trying to take Reggie away, I just think I should get off. But we could both get off in the same game, it doesn't matter."
If you want proof of the impact Bush can have, check out Johnson's stat line: 37 yards on four catches and no TDs.
Under normal circumstances, the Lions would have lost and lost big with a subpar performance from Johnson.
Apparently, not anymore.
The Lions are encouraged about what they can be with Bush as they try to move past their bad 4-12 season last year.
"I just knew what type of player he is and was and can be for us," said Lions WR Nate Burleson, whose team lost their last eight games in 2012. "I think today was a good indication of what he can bring to the table on a daily basis."
As great of a day as Bush had, he should have had three TDs on the day. He was credited with just one. The other two were initially ruled touchdowns. But, after review, in both cases, Bush's knee was down before he got into the end zone.
"He was a big part of today's win and he's a force to be reckoned with when he's out on the field," said Lions RB Joique Bell about Bush.
Sure, it's just one game. But if you forgot about Bush and what he's capable of doing, he delivered a wakeup call to NFL America: Beware of Bush.