The New Orleans Saints were down and almost out with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter as they trailed by four points to the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Reggie Bush was just trying to amp up the sold-out Louisiana Superdome crowd on Sunday as he lined up to field a punt. He waved his arms in the arm as he jogged onto the turf.
Less than a minute later, the crowd joyously waved its arms in the air. Bush the playmaker made his NFL arrival with 4:17 remaining in the game.
Bush caught the punt, broke to the outside and he was gone. He took the punt 65 yards for a touchdown to propel the Saints to a 24-21 victory over the Bucs and stay atop the NFC South.
Not only was it Bush’s first trip to the end zone since his days at USC, it was the game winner. Bush shrugged his shoulders much easier after the game.
“I got that monkey off my back,” a smiling Bush said.
Saints coach Sean Payton said he challenged Bush this week during a team meeting.
“I specifically said ‘Reggie, you need to do a better job,’ “Payton said.
Bush succeeded in pleasing his coach.
“Sean Payton challenges me every day,” Bush said. “In practice, (Payton told Bush to) be myself and make plays. Be a playmaker.”
Harrison breaks record
Marvin Harrison’s first catch yesterday against the Tennessee Titans gave him a reception in his 159th consecutive game, an NFL record to start a career.
Harrison broke the previous mark of 158 established by former Colts and St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk.
Harrison broke Faulk’s record with a 3-yard reception with 11:33 left in the third quarter. In the last two weeks, Harrison moved from sixth on the career receptions list to fourth.
He finished with three receptions and scored his first touchdown of the season on a 13-yard pass play. With 29 yards receiving, he also moved within 13 yards of passing Irving Fryar (12,785) for eighth on the career list. Harrison has 12,773 yards.
Painful game for Lions
Detroit had at least five players injured in its game at Minnesota, including leading receiver Roy Williams.
On his team’s first possession, Williams caught a first-down pass from Jon Kitna on a slant pattern near midfield, and Minnesota safety Darren Sharper finished the play with a hard hit to the upper part of Williams’ back. Williams writhed in pain briefly before walking off the field. He had his shoulder pads off on the sideline while a trainer worked on him.
Two snaps later, right guard Damien Woody hurt his left foot while pulling to his right on an outside running play by Kevin Jones. Woody walked gingerly off the field without assistance, and without his left shoe.
Running back Kevin Jones suffered a concussion late in the game after rushing for eight yards on 10 carries. Also injured were defensive lineman Shaun Cody (dislocated toe) and linebacker Paris Lenon (neck). Coach Rod Marinelli said all would be evaluated today.
Panthers’ Williams injured
Carolina rookie running back DeAngelo Williams left the Panthers’ game against Cleveland after injuring his right ankle on a first-half carry.
Williams, a first-round draft pick, was hurt when he went down in a pile on a 4-yard gain with about five minutes left in the second quarter. He had to be helped to the sideline while putting little weight on the leg, then was carted to the locker room after being examined behind the bench.
Jaguars LB leaves game
Jacksonville linebacker Mike Peterson, the team’s leading tackler, strained a pectoral muscle early in the 41-0 victory against the New York Jets.
“I don’t know how serious that is,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “I know it’s serious enough that he couldn’t return to the game. … We’re going to keep our fingers crossed and hope that’s not a serious situation there.”