Detroit Lions RB Bo Scarbrough joined a club with Barry Sanders and Billy Sims
Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free PressPublished 7:20 p.m. ET Nov. 17, 2019 | Updated 7:56 p.m. ET Nov. 17, 2019
The Detroit Lions promoted Bo Scarbrough from the practice squad on Saturday. On Sunday he was told he was would start and play in his first NFL game, 19 months after the Dallas Cowboys drafted him in the seventh round from Alabama.
Scarbrough had 14 carries for 55 yards and rushed for one touchdown. He even outrushed Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott, who had 16 carries for 45 yards.
Even after he joined Barry Sanders, Billy Sims and Mikel Leshoure as the only Lions to rush for at least 55 yards and one touchdown in their NFL debuts, Scarbrough seemed unfazed and unimpressed with himself.
“I mean, like it’s numbers,” he said after the 35-27 loss. “But at the end of the day I’m focused on winning the game. We’ve got to win. Usually the season doesn’t start until after Thanksgiving, but we’ve got to win before Thanksgiving and we’ve got to find the missing pieces and keep the ball moving and try to win these games.”
And as for his first touchdown ball in the NFL? Scarbrough has no idea about its whereabouts.
“Nah, I don’t have it,” he said. “I don’t know who has it. I don’t have it.”
Lions running back Bo Scarbrough signals first down during the first half of the Lions’ 35-27 loss on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, at Ford Field. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
Scarbrough says he owes his cool demeanor to playing under Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, under whom he won national titles in 2015 and ‘17. And with the Lions, he sees a lot of similarities between Saban and Lions coach Matt Patricia.
“Playing under coach Patricia just like playing under coach Saban,” Scarbrough said. “He comes from the Bill Belichick tree. We do some of the same things that we do at Alabama, so when I came in I was very used to it and the only difference was that you’ve got to come in and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and it’s a job and it’s not like you can sit on the bench or whatever.”
As for Scarbrough’s demeanor on the field, well that was similar to what he did for Saban, too. Against the Cowboys, Scarbrough ran downhill and angry, often lowering a shoulder to plow for a few extra yards, like he did on his five-yard touchdown run.
“I think he’s been working hard since we got him. He’s a big back,” Patricia said of Scarbrough, who is 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds. “He comes downhill, and some of things that we saw, we wanted to give him that opportunity to go out there and show us what he could do. I thought he ran hard, thought he showed the physical part of the run game. That was good for us to see.”
After the game, quarterback Jeff Driskel grabbed Scarbrough and told him how proud he was of his effort and performance.
Lions running back Bo Scarbrough runs by Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee during the first half of the Lions’ 35-27 loss on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, at Ford Field. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
“He ran the ball super hard,” Driskel said. “He knew what he was doing. He hasn’t been here very long at all and he stepped right in there, and it was awesome to see him run that ball that hard. He kind of brought some life to our run game and it was awesome. He’s a good player and I’m happy he’s on our side.”
Scarbrough said he didn’t have any extra motivation to face the team that drafted and released him.
“Matty P says that and that’s what he wanted me to do,” he said of running hard. “So I’m going to do my job, whatever it is, to help the team win. If I have to give someone a cup of water (on the sideline), then that’s what I do.”
Scarbrough doesn’t know if he’s done enough to earn another chance next week. He just knows he’s going to be ready when he’s called upon again.
“It’s an opportunity, week in and week out,” he said of making his debut. “Everybody needs an opportunity. It felt regular to me. Playing under coach Saban, that’s what we always done. Every week it was a different guy up. So you’ve just got to be ready when your number called, and when your number called you’ve got to take advantage of it and run with it.”
Contact Carlos Monarrez at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.