Defending NFL champs the New Orleans Saints were defeated in the opening round of the NFL playoffs on Saturday, a defeat in which the Saints lost on more than just the scoreboard. New Orleans running back Reggie Bush reportedly suffered a hit on his right leg, which was broken during the Saints’ Week 2 victory against the San Francisco 49ers. He left the field in the fourth quarter and did not return.
The Seattle Seahawks (7-9) beat the Saints (11-5) 41-36 Saturday, becoming the first team with a regular season losing record to win a playoff game. Many fans, journalists and commentators suggested in the week leading up to the game that the NFL playoffs system needed to be changed so that a team with a losing record would not make the playoffs.
But on Saturday, the Seahawks showed that they belonged in the NFL’s second season, defeating a visiting Saints squad that was favored by double digits. Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who was dealing with a hip injury and who was unsure of his playing status earlier in the week, threw a career-best four touchdown passes against the Saints, who rallied from a 34-20 deficit to close within 41-36 with 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. But the Saints’ subsequent two-point conversion failed and Garrett Hartley’s onside kick was recovered by Seattle, in effect ending the Saints’ comeback.
It was a stunning turn of events for the Saints, who held a led 10-0 with 6:25 remaining in the first quarter and led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter. The Saints also took a 17-7 lead in the second quarter before the Seahawks exploded for 17 unanswered points to take a 24-17 lead later in the second quarter.
Even before he left the game, Bush’s impact as a running back had been limited Saturday. He ran five times for 12 yards.
As a receiver, though, Bush made critical plays. On the Saints’ first touchdown drive, Bush caught a short pass over the middle from New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees for 10 yards, converting a crucial third-and-eight. Three plays later, Brees threw a one-yard touchdown pass to FB Heath Evans.
On a 12-play touchdown drive that extended from the third to the fourth quarter and brought the Saints within 34-27, Bush had a key 14-yard reception on third-and-ten. Bush finished with five receptions for 37 yards.
With 2010 in the record books, Bush and the New Orleans Saints will look to regroup for 2011 and attempt to bring back the magic they demonstrated during the 2009 season.
Reggie Bush 2009 Stats
- 47 receptions
- 335 receiving yards
- 390 rushing yards
- 8 total touchdowns
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