ALLEN PARK — Nick Bawden has been waiting for the perfect time to show off his “Make Fullbacks Great Again” hat. Monday was that day.
In the third quarter of Sunday’s 27-24 win over the Eagles, the Detroit Lions fullback caught a short pass from Matthew Stafford and then leaped over safety Rodney McLeod who was trying to tackle him. It’s not like McLeod was down on the field.
Hang time? Bawden is not sure.
It was impressive for a 6-2 and 245-pound fullback and a key play in the game and that drive. On the second-and-7 play from the Eagles’ 29, he gained 10 yards and a first down with his leap. Four plays later Stafford connected with Marvin Jones Jr., for a touchdown to nab a 27-17 lead over the Eagles.
“It was just, the line blocked that really well and (Matthew) Stafford gave me a good ball, I was trying to make something happen with it, luckily he wasn‘t a little bit higher,’’ Bawden said.
It was not planned. The decision was made at the last second.
“I was fired up, I got up and tried to do a little dance and Danny (Amendola) came over and gave me a high-five, just happy we got the first down to keep the ball moving,’’ Bawden said.
Coach Matt Patricia said the leap was not from the playbook.
“That was a little bit of a surprise. I think it surprised a lot of the guys on the field when that happened, but everybody was excited,” Patricia said. “It was a good energy boost, I think for everybody.”
It was not a first for 2018 Lions’ seventh-round pick.
“In college (San Diego State) I did a couple times I think,’’ Bawden said. “In high school as well, in high school I got flagged for it, it came back 15 yards.’’
Certainly he earned some good-natured ribbing from his teammates about the move, but he wouldn’t be specific.
“They’re pretty happy I got the first down, trying to move the chains and score some touchdowns,’’ said Bawden trying to stick to business.
The hat was mailed to him just before the season started from Atlanta Falcons’ fullback Keith Smith.