Can Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah be the Next Bell/Bush Combo?

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Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah Worked Great Together Against The Colts

The running back position for Detroit was questionable last year. The offensive line wasn’t a help, but the running backs were nothing special either. Ameer Abdullah had fumbling issues which led him to see less playing time and Theo Riddick, while a great receiver, couldn’t run the ball well to gain yardage. Zach Zenner barely saw any field play and Joique Bell couldn’t produce at the level he once had.

This year, it seems to have turned around for the better. Now it is only week one, so the hype train can’t speed up just yet, but the run game has improved so far. Zach Zenner was on the inactive list and Dwayne Washington was the number three back. He came in on just two carries and got a touchdown, besides that it was the Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick show. Abdullah had a combined 120 yards between receptions and rushing, with one touchdown. Riddick had 108 combined yards and two touchdowns, one receiving and one rushing. Seeing those two play on Sunday brought back memories to a former fantastic duo.

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Remember This Duo?

Oh man, Joique Bell and Reggie Bush. These two seemed to be the future of the running game in Detroit. Bush had 1,006 yards on the ground and 506 yards in the air for a total of seven touchdowns, while Bell had 650 yards on the ground and 547 through the air with all eight of his touchdowns being on the ground. These two seemed like a sneaky duo in the league.

Everybody knew about Reggie Bush and his receiving skills, amazing speed, and ability to make defenders miss with some great cuts. Nobody really knew about Bell and the power he had to truck players over and his soft hands to make some good catches. They were a fantastic package that sadly only lasted about a year before 2014, where Bush would deal with injuries and Bell would have to be the main back, and a good one at that, before Bush left in 2015. Bell would regress in 2015 and end up without a job this year.

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What Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah’s Impact Could Mean

Now the thing about these two running backs is they are both known. Abdullah is known for his ability to make quick cuts and find the open hole, making players miss and breaking tackles. Theo Riddick is known strictly for his receiving skills and play-making ability. A lot of people wanted to see Riddick improve in the running game – since he is a running back, and after week one it looks like he did.

Having an offensive line able to block for both of these guys is a factor and they have improved since last year, but the weight can go on the running backs shoulders as well. Abdullah needs to keep up his ability to hold on to the ball and keep plays alive with his quickness. His receiving game had an impact and it was nice to see.

Theo Riddick was a factor in the receiving game last year but when he was on the field teams were expecting the pass and sniffed it out for the most part. Now if he can improve on the run, which it seems like he has so far, he now becomes like Abdullah, a factor on the ground and in the air. Having two receivers that can do the same kind of damage to you is crazy and something not many teams have. If the offensive line can continue to do their part and these players hold on to the ball and find the holes, Detroit could have a meaningful backfield that can hopefully last longer than one season.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and leave me your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.