Jets vs. Dolphins: Can Reggie Bush Carry Miami to Victory?

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Jets vs. Dolphins: Can Reggie Bush Carry Miami to Victory?
Nick Laham/Getty Images

If you turned on the television and thought you were watching a replay of the USC Trojans lighting up the scoreboard against the Fresno State Bulldogs, you were actually watching Dolphins running back Reggie Bush rip through the Oakland Raiders front seven.

Depending on which New York Jets front seven shows up, Bush could have another big day against the Jets.

Courtesy Pro Football Reference.
Will he see the same front seven that got gashed by Bills running back C.J. Spiller for 169 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries (12.1 yards per rush attempt)? Or is this going to be the unit that shut down the Pittsburgh Steelers, holding the team to 66 yards on 28 carries (2.4 YPA)?

The Jets defense has struggled to wrap up in their first two games, missing on a total of 19 tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. That ties for second-most in the NFL.

Bush, on the other hand, ranks eighth in missed tackles with five and has created an average of 2.25 yards after contact per rush.

If we see the same Bush and the same Jets defense we've seen in the first two weeks, Bush could be in line for another big day.

If this were the old Bush, it might have been a feast-or-famine in your fantasy lineup. Even if he doesn't prove to be deadly, though, we can count on Bush to at least be effective.

Bush was kept rather quiet against the Jets the last time the two faced. He picked up 71 yards on 10 carries (7.1 YPA), but one of those rushes was a 36-yard scamper. Minus that carry, he picked up 35 yards on nine carries (3.9 YPA). While Bush's final numbers last year were impressive, this is a brand-new back.

In his six-year NFL career, Bush has given us glimpses into the back he once was in his days at Southern California. In that time, though, we have never seen those flashes sustained for as long as we have recently.

Courtesy Pro Football Reference.

We have also never seen him play with as much patience. There were times when he might have been looking for a big play where there wasn't one to be had, and as a result, missed out on what could have been a four-yard gain.

"I think he's had good patience, believe it or not," head coach Joe Philbin said (per MiamiDolphins.com) when asked about what's helped Bush be so effective. "I think he's been disciplined in his aiming points, No. 1, I think he's been patient, No. 2, and then he's showing the ability to break a tackle."

That patience is showing up on the stat sheet. Bush ranks third in runs of four yards or more with 20, while only 11 of his runs have been stopped for a yard or less. Compare that to last year, where Bush had 100 carries of four yards or more and 62 carries that gained one yard or less. 

This year, Bush is on pace for 160 runs of four yards or more and 88 runs of one yard or less. Percentage-wise, those would both be improvements on last year.

Instead of going for big plays, Bush is consistently making positive plays. He hasn't let his desire for big plays completely fade away, though, but offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was alright with it.

On Bush's 23-yard touchdown run, he didn't run it exactly as it was drawn up, but Sherman said (per MiamiDolphins.com), "If he did it exactly the way I wanted [him] to do it, it would have been a two-yard gain probably."

Bush's patience, combined with his big-play ability, combined with the Jets' inability to make tackles, mean the Dolphins likely won't be settling for too many two-yard gains.

 

Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.

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