Kevin Smith racked up over 200 yards of total offense and scored two touchdowns during Detroit’s comeback victory over the Panthers on Sunday. Yes, that Kevin Smith. The same Kevin Smith who was drafted by the Lions in the third round in 2008. The same one who totaled over 1,000 yards of offense in his first two seasons and was jobless until two weeks ago. Apparently he’s back.
As MLive.com shared with us, the 24-year-old Smith had been doing nothing but working out and playing with his son during the 2011 season — waiting for a call. When Detroit realized Jahvid Best’s timetable for a return was a complete unknown, they decided to reach out to someone who was familiar with their offense.
“I’ve been working hard,” Smith said. “I’ve been in practice, just getting back in the groove, you know — third running back, but it doesn’t stop what I do; scout team, it doesn’t stop what I do. And I just came out and wanted to help the team, and we won, so it’s good.”
If by help the team he meant come out and make himself a top candidate for NFC Offensive Player of the Week, Smith certainly accomplished his goal. Matthew Stafford was struggling mightily in the first half and the Lions could get nothing going on the ground against a weaker Panthers opponent. Smith got Detroit back on track after a sluggish start.
“I mean, the guy was running the ball against bad boxes,” Stafford said. “It wasn’t like we were getting cover-two the whole game, and he was gashing them. We were getting man coverage — eight guys, seven, eight guys in the box.”
Having battled injuries since his rookie season, the Lions could certainly use the Kevin Smith we saw on Sunday going forward. Detroit’s passing game has shown it can be explosive all season, but without Best in the lineup they have struggled on the ground. If Smith can play the way he did on Sunday, he could be the difference between playoffs or bust for the 2011 Lions.Google+