Down three points and with 34 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter in yesterday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the New Orleans Saints lined up on fourth and two from the Bengals’ seven-yard line.
Inexplicably, Cincinnati defensive lineman Pat Sims jumped offsides, giving the Saints first and goal from the three yard line. On the next play, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston that put the Saints ahead 34-30 with 31 seconds remaining during regulation time.
The Bengals’ attempt at a last-second comeback came up short when quarterback Carson Palmer was sacked at his own 47 yard line by Saints strong safety Roman Harper for a 16 yard loss.
Bush’s versatility adds extra dimension to an already explosive Saints offense.
One Saints player who had to be particularly pleased with the result is superstar running back Reggie Bush. After missing eight games with a broken right leg, No. 25 returned for his second game back on the field. Against the Bengals yesterday, the Californian carried the ball five times for 26 yards, a robust 5.2 average yards per carry. His best run came on New Orleans’ first offensive play from scrimmage, when he exploded off the left end for a 10-yard gain.
Bush also caught three passes for zero net yards, despite a nine-yard reception over the middle in the second quarter that helped set up Garrett Hartley’s 24 yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining in the first half. The kick put the Saints up 13-6. Hartley also had a stellar game against the Bengals, hitting both of his field goals (including a crucial 48 yarder) and converting on all four extra-point attempts.
Yet it is Bush’s return that may pay the most dividends for the Saints as they head into their final four contests of the 2010 season. They face the St. Louis Rams at home on Sunday before heading to Baltimore to face the Ravens December 19. The Saints then head to Atlanta for a Monday Night Football match-up against division rivals the Falcons before wrapping up the 2010 campaign with a contest at the Superdome against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Bush’s versatility (he’s scored touchdowns as a rusher, a receiver and as a punt returner) adds extra dimension to an already explosive Saints offense that averages 24.9 points per game, good for eighth in the NFL.
Bush is also nearing a major career milestone. He needs only 15 rushing yards to reach the 2,000-yard mark for his career. The dynamic player surpassed the 2,000-yard receiving mark earlier this season; he now has 2,009 receiving yards.
Bush’s most noteworthy reception of the 2010 season came in Week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers. With 9:40 remaining in the first quarter, Bush came out of the right side of the backfield, juked heralded 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis to the outside and beat him to the inside, where he caught a 6-yard dart from Brees for a touchdown.
Now that Bush is getting back into the flow of the offense, he will likely become a more regular target for Brees.
Follow Soren Baker on Twitter @SorenBaker