Detroit — Clinging to a five-point lead over the Packers early in the fourth quarter, the Lions were looking to cash in on offense.
They didn't have an offensive touchdown through the first three quarters and had squandered a pair of chances deep in Packers territory, with a fumble and a missed field goal.
But with the game in the balance, Reggie Bush came through with a long touchdown run, helping the Lions stretch the lead to 12. On the final drive, they were able to run out the clock and secure a 19-7 win over the Packers on Sunday at Ford Field.
Bush accounted for 62 of the Lions' 115 total rushing yards, but his 26-yard score was the highlight — his longest run since a 39-yarder against the Buccaneers last November. It was his longest scoring run since he went 37 yards against the Bears almost a year ago.
"After the last two games, we talked about wanting our run game to be more efficient and making sure we took the necessary steps and made the necessary corrections to make sure our run game was effective today," Bush said.
"Green Bay did a good job in the first half of slowing us down but we wore them out throughout the course of the game and were able to put together a really good drive to end the game."
In the first half, the Lions had just 44 yards rushing, but stayed committed to the run game, mixing in runs by Joique Bell and Theo Riddick.
On Bush's scoring play, he ran left and cut back inside around the 10-yard line before breaking a couple tackles and losing his helmet as he fell to the turf in the end zone.
"It felt really good. It was a needed touchdown at a crucial point of the game," Bush said. "We feel like with our run game and the backs we have on this team, when we run the ball well, there's nobody that can stop us.
"Even if they slow us down in the first half, like Green Bay did, if we keep running the ball and trusting and being patient, it's going to break."
Bush, who had gained just 41 yards on 15 carries in the first two games this season, had a breakout game — adding six catches for 38 yards — and showed flashes of the talent that makes him a dual threat in the offensive scheme.
"He did a great job today. He was great in the passing game, really good in the running game and was ball-secure. It was awesome," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "He's a guy that creates matchup issues and when we get him in space, he's electric and he showed that tonight.
"I'm just happy for him. He didn't get as many touches as he's probably accustomed to in the first two games. He came out tonight with some fire and made every one of those touches count."
Although his touchdown gave the Lions a 19-7 advantage, they needed to run the final 6:54 out after the defense forced the Packers to a turnover on downs.
Over the next 10 plays, the Lions ran nine times — with Bush gaining four yards on a third-and-3 play — to put the game away. The Lions' game plan called for maintaining possession and not letting Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers get a chance to beat them on offense.
"Overall, our offense did a nice job in terms of controlling the ball and keeping the ball out of (Rodgers') hands," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said, "by running the ball to win there at the end, running six minutes and some odd seconds off the clock, doing a tremendous job of keeping the ball in our hands."
But being able to hold on to the ball and provide a good run-pass mix was a step for the Lions, and a relief for Calvin Johnson, who is an obvious focal point for defenses. Running the ball effectively gave the Packers defense an added dimension to worry about.
"We definitely wanted to run the ball today. The line was big for us in the trenches down there and on both sides of the ball, we did great," said Johnson, who had six catches for 82 yards. "So that was good to see. Reggie, Joique, Theo, all of them ran the ball well, especially there at the end of the game. We had those long drives to ice it.