The Lions have two legitimate weapons at running back
It's only one game, but how about Reggie Bush and Joique Bell? Bush was expected to bring a new dimension to the offense, and he did just that, running for 90 yards on 21 carries and gaining 101 yards and a touchdown on 4 catches. Bell was excellent as well. He followed up his solid preseason with 25 yards and 2 touchdowns on 6 carries and 67 yards on 5 catches. He served as a perfect complement to Bush, and this pair of running backs really has a lot of potential for the Lions.
New offensive line, better results
The Lions went into Sunday with three new starters on the offensive line, and they ended up having to play another new starter at right tackle with Jason Fox going down early with a groin injury. Despite this, the offensive line performed extremely well. Bush and Bell combined to average 4.3 yards per carry, and generally speaking, there was consistently a lot more room for the running backs to work with than last year. What's more, the Lions only allowed a single sack, as Riley Reiff did quite well going up against Jared Allen.
Outside of one run, the Lions shut down Adrian Peterson
Peterson went 78 yards for a touchdown on the Vikings' first play of the game. Immediately after that, I had visions of Peterson going for 250-300 yards rushing in this game. Then a funny thing happened -- Peterson wasn't able to do much of anything the rest of the game. Case in point:
#Lions gave up a 78-yd TD run to AP -- then completely shut him down. 15 yds on next 17 carries(!)— Chris Sprow (@SprowESPN) September 8, 2013
Yes, Peterson finished with 3 total touchdowns and a 5.2 yards per carry average, but the Lions pretty much had him locked down after that 78-yard run. They definitely were able to contain him after that point, and keeping him in check allowed the Lions to hang around in the first half and pull away in the second.