Ever since the New Orleans Saints selected USC Heisman trophy winning halfback Reggie Bush in the first round of the 2006 draft, all Saints fans have waited for a break-out game for the player Saints wide receiver Joe Horn deemed “Baby Matrix.”
The speedy Saints tailback rushed for 37 yards on 10 carries and scored 3 rushing touchdowns and he also caught 9 passes for 131 yards and 1 score.
Bush became the first player since Green Bay Packers halfback Donny Anderson back in 1967 to score 3 touchdowns rushing and catch passes for over 100 yards in a single game.
After the game, San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Manny Lawson said that Bush was everything people built him up to be.
“Reggie’s a great talent,” Lawson said.
“We knew coming into this game that he was on the verge of a breakout game and we had no answer to his speed and elusiveness out in the openfield.
“He can speed up and change directions better than any back I’ve ever faced in this league. The combination of Bush and Deuce (McAllister) is as good as it gets.”
While quarterback Drew Brees was held under 200 passing for the first time in under a month, the Saints running combination of Bush and McAllister produced 202 yards rushing.
McAllister had his best game of the season against a sturdy 49er defense rushing for 136 yards.
While the Saints running attack was outstanding, the real key for success was the Saints ability to make the 49ers one-dimensional on offense and to corral 49ers halfback Frank Gore, who entered the game as the league’s second leading rusher.
The Saints front-seven held the former Miami (Fla.) standout runner to only 40 yards rushing and the secondary did their part also by getting three turnovers.
49er head coach Mike Nolan said that the Saints defense just shut down the team’s ability to hit on big plays via the pass.
“We had to try and open up our running attack by throwing the ball better, but the Saints defense seemed to have an answer for everything we did.
The Saints front seven got great pressure on our quarterback all game long and they had tight coverage on our receivers throughout the game. They just beat us in every aspect of the game.”
Cornerback Mike McKenzie intercepted his first pass in 26 NFL games and he was responsible for 2 interceptions against second-year quarterback Alex Smith.
The victory over the 49ers put the Saints record at (8-4), alone on top of the NFC South Division and ready for a prime time showing next Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys, who are also (8-4).
During the two-minute warning at the end of the game, Saints owner Tom Benson got a rousing ovation from the crowd when he announced that he was freezing season-ticket prices at their current rate for the 2007 season.
Enjoy the ride to the playoffs Saints fans, like the t-shirt that is being sold in New Orleans says, “this ain’t your daddy’s Saints, anymore.”
Speculation ends - it’s ‘sugar time’ for the Tigers…
Weeks of speculation on where the LSU Tigers would end up for the New Year ended Sunday night when the Tigers got their formal invitation to play Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.
Tiger fans were hoping for a roadtrip to California to play Michigan in the Rose Bowl, but UCLA spoiled the California ride by upsetting USC last Saturday 13-9.
The Bruins win over the Trojans put the Florida Gators in the BCS championship game against unbeaten Ohio State. USC being the PAC-10 champion was paired off against Michigan in the Rose Bowl, who lost out to the Gators in a razor-thin vote to play for the national championship.
The January 3rd game against the Irish will pit two of the top quarterbacks in the country in JaMarcus Russell and Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn and this game has all the makings of a possible offensive shootout.
This is Notre Dame’s second straight BCS bowl game appearance under head coach Charlie Weis, who is hoping to end an Irish 8-game bowl losing streak.
Charlie, coming up with a winning gameplan against this very athletic and talented Tiger club will be very difficult.
With fans from the Fighting Irish and LSU in town for New Year’s Eve, you got a feeling things will be rocking and rolling on Bourbon Street for days before the Sugar Bowl showdown.