Lions show faith in Riddick after fumble

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

After losing a fumble in the Lions’ Week 2 loss, running back Theo Riddick felt “the lowest of lows.”

“I rarely fumble,” he said, “so it was a shocker to me, to be honest with you.”

Riddick didn’t have a single fumble his first two years in the NFL as he had 67 total touches. At Notre Dame, he had more than one fumble in just one of his four seasons — when he had two as a junior. Of his five fumbles in college, the Fighting Irish lost just two of them.

The good news for Riddick is the Lions didn’t bench him after the fumble last week, a sign the coaches trust his hands despite the miscue.

Riddick’s fumble came on the Lions’ third drive of the third quarter. Wide receiver Lance Moore lost one on their first possession of the third quarter, and the Lions had a three-and-out in between.

Like Moore at receiver, Riddick is effectively the team’s No. 3 back behind Ameer Abdullah and Joique Bell, but offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi defended the use of both of them in those situations last week. Riddick had a 5-yard run on second-and-1 before the fumble, which Vikings safety Harrison Smith punched out right before his knee was down.

“Theo is a real good player, obviously,” Lombardi said. “He’s made a ton of plays. He got the first down, and again, if you watch the fumble, it was a hell of a play by the defender.”

After the fumble, Riddick caught three passes for 28 yards — he had two catches for 13 yards in the first half — and was the primary back for much of the game as the Lions went into pass-first mode. Riddick didn’t have another carry and has just one in the first two games, though he thinks he improved as a runner in the offseason.

Riddick is fourth on the team in receptions (seven) and receiving yards (78) and scored a touchdown late in Week 1. With Abdullah showcasing impressive potential and Bell becoming healthier, Riddick likely will stay in a receiving role for now, but he hopes to keep getting more chances.

“I just wait until my number gets called,” he said. “It doesn’t matter the situation; I’m always ready.”