The Minnesota Vikings went down to New Orleans as a team desperately in need of a win. And from the kickoff to the closing seconds, the Saints, doing the Saintly thing, assisted them in ending their misery. Minnesota capitalized on 4 Saints turnovers, including a blocked Martin Gramatica field goal attempt that was returned for a touch down. But single handedly, Reggie Bush ensured that the Saints would at least remain in striking distance, and at one point, despite all the miscues, gave New Orleans the lead late in the fourth quarter. The Vikings stormed back to tie, and the Saints put their final hopes again on the leg of Gramatica, where he went wide left. In the end, the Vikings made good on their three point try, defeating New Orleans 30-27 in an action packed ballgame.
As much as Bush haters are plentiful, critical of every run, catch, and block, there’s absolutely no denying that the Saints are getting exactly what they paid for. Bush was drafted as a game-changer. With just one touch of the ball, his skills would allow him to make the big play and bring the team from behind or give them a lead. That’s exactly what Reggie has been doing.
In Monday night’s game, sharing the stage with last year’s rookie phenom, Adrian Peterson, no star shined brighter than the Heisman Trophy winner from USC. Bush finished with 269 all-purpose yards, including an NFL record tying 2 punt returns for touchdowns. Only a slip prevented him from getting three.
Bush finished with just 29 yards rushing on 12 carries, which is where the criticism will come. But in contrast, Adrian Peterson amassed just 32 rushing yards on 21 carries, against the supposedly “soft” Saints defense. Bush’s 2.4 yards per rush led all backs in the game with at least 6 carries or more. Of course, Peterson will receive no criticism, as there is honestly none deserved. But despite Bush’s production for his team, regardless of how the yards are accumulated, people will still bring up “between the tackles” conversations. Maybe it’s just me, but I think 269 all-purpose is greater than finishing a game with just 100 yards on the ground. If anyone from that 2006 NFL draft class is being forced to earn every penny of their money, it’s Reggie Bush rushing, receiving, returning kicks, and playing the role of offensive decoy.