|Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush (22) runs the ball past Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard in the first quarter o an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)|
Bush returns to San Diego as Miami seeks first win
SAN DIEGO—Reggie Bush lives in Los Angeles in the offseason, and often drives down to his hometown of San Diego to visit his family and get some good Mexican food.
"You know what, it's so crazy because it's only two hours difference, but the Mexican food is so different," Bush said. "Honestly, I've been a lot of places and there's just no Mexican food like San Diego."
Bush will be back in San Diego on Sunday, but the goal will be much bigger than snagging a tasty burrito or even some fish tacos.
The desperate Miami Dolphins, who renew their rivalry with the Chargers (2-1), are still searching for their first win. Bush, the Dolphins' new running back, senses the urgency.
"This will be my first time coming back since I left, since high school, so it's going to be extremely special," said Bush, who was a teammate of Alex Smith's at suburban Helix High.
"But I'm going to try to do my best not to make it any bigger than what it is. It's just another game. It's going to be business as usual. That's the mindset that I have to have and that we have to have because we still need to win the game. We're 0-3 right now."
After getting broiled by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in their opener, the Dolphins lost to Houston and Cleveland.
They're moving the ball but aren't scoring much, only five touchdowns in three games. They're also looking to get Bush more involved.
He has only 80 yards on 28 carries. He had 13 yards on 10 carries in Sunday's 17-16 loss to the Browns, his second-worst total in 29 career games in which he had double-digit rushing attempts. He also lost a fumble at the Browns 19-yard line late in the first quarter.
"We've got to improve this week," Bush said. "We've got to do the little things right. We've got to correct these fundamental mistakes that we continue to make and that continue to get us beat throughout these first three games, so it's going to be fun to see all my friends and family, but at the same time I'm not going to allow them to be a distraction.
"My focus is on football right now and winning this game and being there for my team. Friends and family can come after that. They'll always be there."
Coach Tony Sparano said the Dolphins need to get Bush the ball in space, then let him use his speed.
"We feel like Reggie is a guy that we can turn around and hand the football at any time," the coach said.
"We use him more as a feature back than we do as a sprinkle back. That maybe has been the label he's been tagged with in the past. We'll hand him the ball, yet we can use him in the pass game, the screen game and the special teams game.
"He can do a lot of jobs for you, but one of the jobs he has to be able to do is run with the football, and we're able to do that with him."
Miami's most glaring problem is an inability to finish. The Dolphins are averaging 410 yards per game from scrimmage, but have scored only five TDs.
"Probably the main reason has just been efficiency. Overall efficiency," Sparano said.
"We're probably one of the top teams in the league in attempts in the red area and have not necessarily scored touchdowns in the red area. I think on defense we've allowed some big plays and that's been something that's hurt us as well."
The Chargers were expected to rout the Chiefs last Sunday, but looked uninspiring and let them hang around into the 60th minute. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers knows the Dolphins can be dangerous.
"You turn on the tape and there's nothing that would tell you they're an 0-3 team," Rivers said. "One thing about 0-3 is they can still go 13-3. ... When I turn on the tape I see a team that can fly around and plays good football. We're going to have to be better than we were last week to get win No. 3."
Fans are wondering what's going on with the Bolts, who haven't dominated this season. They had to rally to beat the Minnesota Vikings on opening day, then had four turnovers in a loss at New England. Then they had to hold off the Chiefs for a 20-17 victory.
Rivers said there's no such thing as a pretty 2-1 or an ugly 2-1.
"If we win them like that for the next 13, I won't apologize once," Rivers said.
"We know the deal. We've also heard forever around here how the regular season doesn't matter: 'We only care what you do in the postseason.' Suddenly everybody's concerned at 2-1. But we're just trying to win one game. We know how important the regular season is because last year we didn't win enough to get in. We can't get in to the playoffs this Sunday. We can't do anything but win game No. 3."