NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Like his father, Reggie Bush was a 49ers fan
Not on Sunday.
With San Francisco in town, Bush's father, LaMar Griffin,
attended a game in the Louisiana Superdome for the first time since
his son turned pro, wearing Bush's No. 25 Saints jersey. Bush
delighted his parents and everyone else wearing black-and-gold,
showing like never before that all those electrifying plays he made
in high school and college could translate to the NFL.
"Obviously, I haven't had the flashy runs or the breakthrough
game like everybody has been expecting, but at the same time, I'm
adjusting to the NFL. I'm learning," Bush said. "It's the kind of
a game I've been waiting for, too. It finally came today."
Bush tied Joe Horn's franchise record by scoring all four of the
Saints' touchdowns and gained 168 total yards as New Orleans beat
the San Francisco 49ers 34-10. The victory helped New Orleans (8-4)
remain alone in first place in the NFC South, while reducing the
49ers (5-7) to playoff longshots.
Most of Bush's gains were modest, but his stunning acceleration,
fancy footwork and leaping ability were evident in all of his
touchdowns and numerous drive-sustaining plays. He finished with
131 yards on nine receptions and 37 yards on 10 rushes.
It was fitting that Bush looked more comfortable than he had
previously in his young pro career, since so many elements from his
past had converged in this game.
San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith was Bush's high school
quarterback in San Diego. They won a pair of championships
together. Their high school coach also was at the game. And Bush
said he needed an outlet after watching his school, Southern
California, lose its chance for a national title by falling to
rival UCLA a night earlier.
"I was sick last night. I wanted to throw up. I couldn't
believe they lost," Bush said. "I had a little extra aggression
and I wanted to take it out on the 49ers."
San Francisco was as close as 14-10 early in the third quarter
after Smith connected with Antonio Bryant for a 48-yard score. But
Smith was done in on two subsequent passes intended for Bryant,
both of which were intercepted by Mike McKenzie and led to 10
points for New Orleans.
That left Smith to watch Bush do the types of things he had seen
many times before when the two were high school teammates.
"He's a special talent. I knew it from early on ... He's
unique," Smith said. "He has a lot of potential, a lot of
Bush's first touchdown was a 1-yard dive over the pile, although
the gain that set that up was even more impressive. The 2005
Heisman Trophy winner turned a short pass out of the backfield into
a 14-yard gain by badly faking out a first defender on a
stutter-step, then carrying a band of tacklers on his back down to
"At some point the athlete takes over and there's only so much
you can draw on the drawing board," Saints quarterback Drew Brees
said. "I'm sure the fans were all waiting for that breakout game
where he just takes the game over."
Bush's second score came when he bounced outside and used his
speed to gain the corner, stepping inside the pylon for an 8-yard
touchdown run. His slippery moves helped him snake through traffic
for his third touchdown on Brees' shovel pass on a third-and-goal
from the 5.
Then he put the game away by turning a short pass into a 74-yard
gain to set up his fourth TD, a slicing 10-yard run in which he
dived and stretched to reach the goal line while taking a hard hit.
After crouching for several seconds, he rose and jogged to the
bench as the crowd chanted, "REG-GIE, REG-GIE."
Missing leading receiver Marques Colston, who was inactive with
a sprained ankle, and Joe Horn, who aggravated his previously
injured groin on his first catch of the first quarter, Brees failed
to reach 300 yards passing for the first time in six games. He
finished 17-of-28 for 186 yards.
Deuce McAllister rushed for 135 yards on 27 carries, including a
successful fourth-and-1 conversion, and the Saints rushed for 190
yards as a team.
Smith, who was sacked four times, finished 14-of-28 for 171
yards. The Saints' held Frank Gore to only 40 yards rushing and 28
San Francisco offensive lineman Adam Snyder had to be
helped off the field with an apparent injury to his right leg in
the first quarter. He was taken to the locker room on a cart. He
did not return. ... Saints owner Tom Benson drew a big applause
when he spoke to fans from the sidelines during the two-minute
warning, thanked them for selling out the Louisiana Superdome for
the season, and announced a freeze on season-ticket prices for next