(DETROIT, MI)--After his 32 carry, 172-yard rushing performance, it's hard to believe
that anyone ever doubted the Lions could run the football.
Lions' running back James Stewart had heard all the criticism, including one published
report that suggested the Lions should just forget the running game and go to a short
passing game to replace it. Stewart countered that he only needed to get the football more
than 10-12 times per game to be effective.
Sunday, he went out and proved it.
"I think we got into a rhythm. It's the first time I've carried the ball over
thirteen times," said Stewart in the post game press conference." I think the
"O" line got used to what they were doing and the backs got used to what was
Once the Lions running game got in gear, so did Lions rookie quarterback Joey
Harrington, who was having his first tough day as a pro because of a blitzing Bears front.
"Joey came in the huddle and said 'It's on you'. So I knew we were going to run
the ball. WE just wanted to get the first down and keep hanging in there and get closer
and closer. I felt like we were in a rhythm. For the first time, we were actually running
the ball a lot and the guys in the O line blocked great."
Stewart said Lion president and CEO Matt Millen's idiotic remarks over the weekend had
no effect on the team. "We've been expecting controversy all year long, that's
nothing new. From last year to this year I think people just have a tendency to want to
doubt us for whatever reason. You get used to that. You have to stay focused and keep
plugging. If I got upset every time said something bad about me, I'd be out of the game a
long time ago."
Stewart's performance vaulted him into another class of running backs. Only St. Louis'
Marshall Faulk had a better day rushing the football, racking up 183 yards. Stewart and
Faulk both got 32 carries behind just LaDanian Tomlinson's 39 carries in a 153-yard
performance for the San Diego Chargers.
With Detroit now proving that it can run the ball effectively, it will keep opposing
defenses honest and allow rookie quarterback Joey Harrington to slowly learn to deal with
defenses, like the one the Bears threw at him yesterday, while keeping mistakes to a