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Week 1 vs. CHI
Rushing: 14 / 20 / 2
Receiving: 5 / 16 / 0 on 6 targets
Best was the primary ball carrier for the Lions in this game, including the short yardage and goal-line situations. Although Jerome Felton and Maurice Morris had a few touches, Best was the clear RB of choice. He also contributed in the short passing game, catching a few dump off passes from both Stafford and Hill. He wasn't effective in turning them into bigger gains though, and his overall yards per touch performance was pretty poor (14 carries for 20 yards, 5 receptions for 16 yards). Best came alive near the end zone though, and both of his TDS were solid runs that reminded you of a veteran RB. With Kevin Smith on the sidelines due to injury, expect Best to continue to see the majority of the Detroit rushing game.
Week 2 vs. PHI
Rushing: 17 / 78 / 2
Receiving: 9 / 154 / 1 on 14 targets
Any concerns about Best's Week 1 performance should immediately fall by the wayside thanks to his breakout performance against the Eagles. The promising young rookie running back likely won many a fantasy teams Week 2 matchup single-handedly with his performance which was helped whole-heartedly by a game-leading 15 targets. Best looked great in both facets of the game (running and receiving) darting and cutting around the field with amazing acceleration. Although it's still entirely too early, there were a few commentator comparisons to a one Barry Sanders, mainly that the Detroit fans haven't seen a running back this impressive all-around since the vaunted #20 retired.
It's also worth noting that blocking for the Lions all-around was exceptional, including great efforts downfield from the Lions receivers and tight ends.
Week 3 vs. MIN
Rushing: 7 / 26 / 0
Receiving: 2 / 13 / 0 on 4 targets
Best left the game early in the second quarter with a toe injury. Until then had limited success against a very tough Minnesota defense. In the first quarter, he had just four touches, the longest of which was an eight yard rush on a pump fake outside and a delayed handoff to Best up the middle. On the second play of the second quarter, he took a run up the middle, made multiple people miss and broke it for a big 16 yard gain. He was stuffed on his next two carries, before taking a short check-down play for eight yards. He came up limping and was later diagnosed with a toe injury and did not return.
Week 4 vs. GB
Rushing: 12 / 50 / 0
Receiving: 5 / 34 / 0 on 7 targets
Best did not seem hampered by his turf toe injury and had a solid, if somewhat quite performance for Detroit in this game. He has some success running the ball early in the game, and three of his first four runs were for six or more yards. He also contributed well in the passing game, lining up on the outside like a WR and taking check-downs and designed screen plays for medium gains. When the Lions were looking to get back in the game in the fourth quarter, Best converted two different first downs with these short 'dump off' type receptions where he used his speed and power to barrel ahead for the first down. He lost a few touches to Kevin Smith during the game, but is still the #1 back for the team.
Week 5 vs. STL
Passing: 0 - 1, 0 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 18 / 67 / 0
Receiving: 4 / 37 / 0 on 4 targets
Jahvid Best showed no ill effects from his turf toe injury on the field turf that he loves to run on in Ford Field. Best was decisive, quick in and out of his cuts and explosive as he kept the offense chugging along. Best showed good hands and a good burst when he caught a short pass out of the backfield and turned it into a 22 yard gain. Best was bottled up somewhat in the second half by the Rams, but kept churning out positive yardage along the way. Best even got a chance to execute a half back pass to Tony Scheffler in the 4th quarter, but the throw was too short.
Week 6 vs. NYG
Rushing: 12 / 16 / 0
Receiving: 6 / 31 / 0 on 6 targets
Best had an awful day, a victim of the injury to Hill, a sub-par blocking effort by the offensive line and being behind most of the day. Best ran into tacklers behind the line quite often and while he kept his legs moving and tried to wait for a hole to open, it never really happened. He fared better in the pass game, where he was able to get the ball in space and make a few moves on defenders. On his longest reception of the day, Best was able to use some blockers to gain a little space and find the first down marker. But overall it was a long day and if the line cannot play more consistently, Best will have down games like this. Charles Davis, who was doing color commentary on the game, mentioned that Best had turf toe on both feet, which may also be accounting for some of his struggles. It also means this bye couldn't come at a better time.
Week 8 vs. WAS
Rushing: 12 / 48 / 0
Receiving: 5 / 31 / 0 on 8 targets
You might have expected Best to have a better statistical day if the Lions put up 37 points, but Best failed to take advantage in this game. He was held in check from the backfield for most of the game, as he found little running room up the middle and not much more on the outside when he bounced runs. Detroit failed to utilise his speed and quickness with ball in this hands and the Redskins contained Best on the field. Detroit liked to use Best on inside handoffs in spread formations, allowing him to survey the field and pick the biggest hole in the defense. He had a dropped pass and DET tried to get him the ball often, but he was benched late in the game and this hurt his production as he is coming off of an injury.
Week 9 vs. NYJ
Rushing: 16 / 48 / 0
Receiving: 5 / 40 / 0 on 9 targets
Best's stats may not show it but he looked fully healed from his case of dual turf toes. On his catches, Best showed great speed, vision and an ability to cut. He showed his ability on back to back looks in the closing moments of the first half. First, Best looked outstanding on a 17 yard run off the right tackle where he hit the open field quickly and did a good job of making defenders miss and then getting out of bounds. He then caught a pass for another ten, showing great hands as he picked the pass up and gained ten. He also was outstanding on the playaction fake on which Matt Stafford scored. On that play he went so far as to leap into the end zone, fooling multiple Jets defenders badly as Stafford ran a bootleg to the right side and into the end zone.
However, for all he does right, too often Best found himself hit behind the line, something which has been a consistent problem this season. Best can run --- and run well --- but he cannot magically create holes his offensive line isn't consistently able to open. When he gets blocking, he breaks off a run like the 17 yarder or the seven yard run at the end of the third quarter. On that run, Best was able to get around the left end, make a tackler miss and gain some extra yards.
Best looks healthy and ready to rock, but it's hard for him to gain much ground when his offensive line cannot give him even the room to hit the line of scrimmage.
Week 10 vs. BUF
Rushing: 17 / 35 / 0
Receiving: 4 / 4 / 0 on 5 targets
Best got lots of touches early, but he lacked explosion when he wasn't being met in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage. He also tended to bounce runs outside, but that lack of explosion was capping his gains. He did have a nice cutback run in the red zone inside the 10, but the Bills were playing good downhill defense against the run and keeping Best from breaking any significant gains. Best also had a drop and failed to get into the open field as a receiver. At this point, you have to wonder if the Lions will turn to Kevin Smith in a full-fledged committee because Best isn't getting it done.
Week 11 vs. DAL
Rushing: 3 / 2 / 0
Receiving: 4 / 15 / 0 on 5 targets
Jahvid Best is clearly hampered by the turf toe that is on both of his feet. He does not have the same explosiveness and speed as he did in the early part of the season. Watching him Sunday against the Cowboys, it is clear that his eyes are seeing holes that his body can't get to. When healthy, Best will no doubt be one of the more exciting players in the NFL. However, when injured as he is Best is not any better than his backup, journeyman Maurice Morris. Best's finest play came on a reception of a swing pass to the right that turned in to a 13 yard gain to the sideline. Otherwise, he was ineffective throughout the game, finally giving way to Morris for good as the game wound down.
Week 13 vs. CHI
Rushing: 9 / 65 / 0
Receiving: 1 / 32 / 0 on 1 targets
Best has been downright horrific the last month or so, being hampered by toe injuries that have sapped him of his explosion. He started out the game looking similarly hampered, and Maurice Morris ran the ball for the majority of the first half. But on a play with about a minute left in the 2nd half, and backed up inside their own ten, Best charged ahead, cut to the outside and took it 45 yards up the right sideline to setup the Calvin Johnson TD. Best also had a 32 yard reception and showed a hint of his explosive talent. Even with those two plays though, Best clearly isn't what he once was. The injury will continue to hamper him for the rest of the season, as these types of injuries just don't go away. But those two explosive plays are why he was drafted, and Lions fans hope that he can get healthy in 2011 and showcase his speed and elusiveness on a regular basis.
Week 14 vs. GB
Rushing: 13 / 38 / 0
Receiving: 1 / 4 / 0 on 2 targets
His first half in a word: Meh. He did nothing at all to earn his place as part of the rotation. It wasn't until late in the game, the final quarter in fact, that he started to show up. Perhaps resting him and his turf toe injury made a small bit of sense, as he came on strong and made a couple of good gains that were instrumental in the late scoring drive. But then, just as he seemed to awake, on the same drive, Best also dropped an easy screen pass when he had three blockers and a lot of empty field in front of him.
Week 15 vs. TB
Rushing: 6 / 12 / 0
Receiving: 0 / 0 / 0 on 1 targets
Best wasn't used much, and didn't look great when he was given touches. Clearly he's lost the explosiveness he displayed early in the year.
Week 16 vs. MIA
Rushing: 6 / 24 / 0
Receiving: 1 / 53 / 1 on 1 targets
Best was still nursing his dual turf toe, and Maurice Morris finished the game with more carries. However, Best was much more effective at both running the ball and in the passing game. His longest run came at the end of the first quarter when he took an off-tackle run, bounced outside and was able to break down field for a 12 yard gain. His biggest play came in the 4th quarter on a check down crossing route. Best caught the ball in the open field and turned on the after-burners. With a great down field block from Burleson, Best was able to blow by everyone and score a huge TD, putting the Lions back into the game and signaling a big momentum shift that eventually led to the Lions taking the lead.
Week 17 vs. MIN
Rushing: 10 / 34 / 0
Receiving: 6 / 23 / 0 on 7 targets
Despite his multiple turf toe injuries, Best was able to provide a little positive contribution for the Lions in this game. Unfortunately, he was never able to break anything beyond a nine yard gain. He ran hard when he had the ball, but was really unable to find that second gear that he had last week against Miami. In the first half, his two biggest plays were a nine yard screen and an eight yard off-tackle run behind Brandon Pettigrew. His best contributions were in the passing game, where he was able to act as the safety valve to keep the pressure off of Shaun Hill. Best acted as the 'check down' and dump off guy, keeping the chains moving and keeping the Lions focused on long sustained drives. When completely healed next season, Best will be a very dangerous back.