Tonight's the time for Bush to break out
Reggie Bush has 80 yards rushing this year. Take a deep breath and let that sink in for a second. Yes, I'm well aware of the broken leg that kept him out for an extended period of time. Bush has still played in six games and started five of them. 80 yards rushing. We've got two games remaining in the regular season people. A contract worth over 7 million dollars this season and 80 yards rushing!
I've always believed, and Reggie's play has certainly proved he is a more dangerous receiving, than rushing threat. Running Bush between the tackles, or simply running him period typically has failed much more than succeeded. From his 2006 rookie season with the Saints until now, Bush has delivered most of his electrifying offensive plays on screen passes and other pass routes down the field. We all remember the little flare he took to the house in a rout at the Dallas Cowboys in '06 and his catch, run and summersault TD at the Chicago Bears in an NFC Championship loss that same year.
Well, Reggie hasn't delivered much in the passing game this year either. He's averaging 5.3 yards per catch, on 25 receptions with one score (his only TD period of the year). Last week in a loss at Baltimore, Bush appeared ready to make a big impact in the game and the receiving department, making 4 catches for 38 yards on a single, pivotal TD drive near the end of the first half. His next three catches would travel backwards to the tune of -2 yards. To make things worse, his four carries netted -4 yards. Bush is averaging a paltry 3.1 yards per carry on the year.
Simply put, Reggie Bush is due. Or better yet, it's time for #25 to step it up. I think Monday Night Football is as good a time as any.
It's been nearly a year since Bush made a huge impact in a big game. His breath-taking performance against Arizona in a 45-14 demolition of the Cardinals was the stuff of legends. The late Michael Jackson would've been proud of Bush's body control and astonishing dance moves on a thrilling 46-yard TD scamper. Bush would then deliver the game's final score on 83-yard punt return for a score that made defenders look so inept it was hard to believe any of them were on the field.
That was the Reggie Bush the Saints envisioned with the #2 pick in the 2006 NFL draft. Unfortunately he is been the ultimate home run hitter. Fans are forced to sit through countless strike outs before Bush drives one deep. This year has conjured memories of late career Sammy Sosa, not the Sosa from the late 90's.
The Saints need a win to clinch a playoff berth. Don't let this thing linger until the regular season finale against Tampa. Beating the Falcons in their own building would also be a huge psychological boost. The entire nation is watching and The Who Dat Nation is waiting. It's time to deliver Reggie.
Dial up the Monday Night Football Reggie of 2008. The one that broke a Saints' franchise record with 176 yards worth of kick returns, including punt return TDs of 71 and 64 yards. Instead, win this one unlike that 30-27 loss to the Vikings. But be THAT Reggie.
It's been frustrating to watch this guy, because I know he's capable of being a true star. Not the star he is now ... occasionally delivering big games and famous largely because he's good-looking to all the ladies. A star that accounts for 1,500 yards from scrimmage and 15 TDs a season. A star that plays a complete NFL season start to finish.
The teases have been countless. At the beginning of the 2008 season, Reggie was ON FIRE. Then, of course an injury. Before the start of this year, he was incredible again during the preseason. Game two of the season ... injury at San Francisco. Another promising campaign sabotaged in 2010. At least for that moment.
But here's the good news ... the most crucial football of the year is ahead for the Saints. Reggie can be that star. He can be that star in Atlanta against the Falcons, who will likely win the NFC South regardless of what happens tonight and likewise be the #1 seed in the NFC playoffs. The last time Bush played in The Georgia Dome he had two TD receptions and 79 yards from scrimmage in a 26-23 Saints win last season. A repeat performance would gladly be accepted.
He can still be that star in the playoffs and perhaps a run towards the "Two Dat" fans have hoped for. It's not too late.
Call me crazy. Maybe I got too warm and fuzzy over the holidays. Maybe I watched too many sappy Hallmark Christmas movies. But I have a feeling Reggie Bush is going to have a big night, on the huge stage, in an equally enormous game. It's his fifth game back from the leg injury. It's time.
We're waiting Reggie.