While Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush makes Willis McGahee-esque waves in Western New York, he has a more serious issue facing him: bouncing back from getting benched in a blowout loss to Tennessee last Sunday.
Bush was removed from the game after a first-quarter fumble set up Tennessee's first touchdown of the day. That decision by head coach Joe Philbin is just the tip of the iceberg, however; ever since a 172-yard outburst in Week 2, Bush has been held in check, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry over his past seven games. In the three since Miami's Week 7 bye, second-year pro Daniel Thomas has more touches (34) than does Bush (32).
Are Bush's struggles a problem with Bush? Or is his drop in production indicative of a larger problem with the offense?
"I really wish I had an answer for you," said Kevin Nogle of ThePhinsider.com. "Ever since his bruised knee against the New York Jets, Bush just has not been the same. He's running like he is healthy again, but the team is not using him like they did early in the season."
Bush has consistently had good games against Buffalo in his career, with last year's 25-carry, 203-yard, one-touchdown performance his most recent effort. (He had a 76-yard touchdown run in a 30-23 Dolphins win at Ralph Wilson Stadium.) Yet with his production dropping, his opportunities dwindling and his favor with Philbin in limbo, it's tough to get too worried about him as a Buffalo Bills fan.
"Each week, we all think this is the week Bush gets back on track, yet we are wrong each week," Nogle lamented. "The Dolphins faced the 31st-ranked rush defense on Sunday, and simply could not get the run game going. Buffalo is the 32nd-ranked rush defense this year, so I'm almost to the point that I expect the Dolphins to not even hand off the ball at all Thursday night."
Miami has not cracked 100 rushing yards as an offense since an overtime loss to the Jets in Week 3. Regardless of Bush's level of involvement on Thursday Night Football, the Bills - who have held an opponent under 100 rushing yards just once this season - will try to extend that Dolphins streak to seven games.