Avoiding Déjà Vu With Reggie Bush, Punt Returns

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 20, 2010 – 9:17 am

Last weekend while waiting for their team to play the Dallas Cowboys the next day, Vikings fans may have had a case of déjà vu as they watched the New Orleans Saints take care of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC’s other Divisional Round playoff game.

In that contest – a 45-14 New Orleans victory – Saints RB and punt returner Reggie Bush dazzled the audience and sliced through the Cardinals special teams unit with an 83-yard punt return for TD in the 4th quarter. As Vikings fans surely remember, Bush had similar success in Week 5 of the 2008 season, when he torched the Vikings punt coverage unit for a pair of TDs and 176 return yards.

In that game, the Vikings punt team did a nice job of limiting returns for most of 3 full quarters. But then P Chris Kluwe boomed a punt 48 yards down to the Saints 29 and Bush took it from there for a 71-yard score to cut the Vikings lead to 3 late in the 3rd quarter. Bush then took the Vikings next punt 29 yards to midfield, which set up a FG and tied the game at 20. Then on the next Vikings punt, Bush did it again, this time going 64 yards for a score to give his team a 27-20 lead and ignite the home crowd.

The Vikings wound up winning the game thanks to 10 unanswered points in the game’s final 7 minutes, 3 of which came on a clutch Ryan Longwell FG. But that didn’t take away from the Vikings frustration in terms of its punt team. Head coach Brad Childress wasn’t happy after the game because Kluwe was instructed to punt the ball away from Bush.

“Both of those kicks are supposed to be out of bounds,” Childress said at the time. “And when you say to somebody ‘kick the ball out of bounds,’ that’s what you expect to happen. That’s what I expect to happen with a professional football kicker.”

Fast-forward to the 2009 playoffs, and Kluwe is coming off an excellent performance against the Cowboys in which the Vikings allowed 0 punt return yards and even pinned Dallas on its own 2 early in the 3rd quarter. A similar performance this week against the Saints – and Bush – is the goal for the Vikings.

“I think that we will go back and revisit our last trip we had to the [Louisiana Superdome] and probably have a little sit down about that to see if either one of us has evolved in our processes in communicating that,” Childress said tongue-in-cheek on Monday when asked about Kluwe and punting to the Saints.

During the regular season with Bush as the primary return man, New Orleans averaged just 4.6 yards per punt return as a team and had 0 TDs. The Vikings were 12th in the NFL in punt return average allowed at 7.9 yards and they gave up 1 TD, a 67-yarder to Cleveland’s Joshua Cribbs in Week 1.

With so much attention bound to be paid to both of these teams’ QBs and explosive offenses, don’t sleep on the special teams units and their potential to impact the outcome of this game.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “Avoiding Déjà Vu With Reggie Bush, Punt Returns”

  1. By bigfan on Jan 20, 2010 | Reply

    well then lets get are arses down there and smear him to the ground so hard he dont want to return it again. we have just flat out got to get mean. this is to get as close as u can to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. win this won and all we have to do is climb up the rainbow and slide down to the gold. were going to there home dome basically being backed into a corner. and what do most animals do when backed into a corner the get mean and fight. SKOL VIKES. GET THAT GOLD.

  2. By vikefan4eva on Jan 20, 2010 | Reply

    Agree 100 million percent bigfan we need to bring the fear in all facets of the game Sunday. We need to make Bush and Brees pay even if they make some yardage, because if we do they will be nervous.

  3. By ibleedpurple on Jan 20, 2010 | Reply

    I like the four “D’s”

  4. By Antonio on Jan 20, 2010 | Reply

    I think the Vikings need to kick the ball away from Reggie Bush. Don’t give him a chance to be a factor. He’s their most explosive player.

  5. By jeff on Jan 20, 2010 | Reply

    How about punting into the end zone and hoping for a touchback keeping it away from Reggie Bush….Put the best tacklers on the field.

  6. By Bigfan1 on Jan 20, 2010 | Reply

    Special teams can do that the way Longwell and Kluwe have been kicking, but two things the big easy has not experienced all season are the voracious appetites of the Four Norsemen and the big “D”, they love quarterbacks and running backs, and the point scoring capability of the Favre led offense. I hope everybody clicks on all cylinders and pump it out. Go Vikes!!

  7. By vikingsfan1955 on Jan 20, 2010 | Reply

    this is our weak spot.Our kickoff and punt coverage stinks at times and we have to keep them inside the 20 on kickoffs.field position will play abig part in this game.

  8. By Rev. on Jan 20, 2010 | Reply

    This game coming up is a big one. I’m a Saints fan, have been from the beginning. I see you guys aren’t very kind towards the Saints much, lol, I can understand that. But from a preacher down in South Louisiana let me just say this, I hope no one gets injured in this game. It will be a mean one on both sides of the ball for each team. “Purple People Eaters” I liked that term of ya’lls you guys are playing some very good football and I’m a bit worried for my boys. So good luck to each team, I hope it’s good and fair and even if the Saints don’t win, there is no one else in the NFC this year I’d rather see represent us in the Super Bowl than you guys. Enjoy the game, but don’t miss church Sunday Morning!

    Rev. J.C. Broussard

  9. By OLD SCHOOL on Jan 21, 2010 | Reply

    Hey guys, what’s up with the Locker Room store here on this site already preordering NFC Championship merch. ???? Saw a hat on there and a shirt…..could be bad Karma! Let’s win the game first….this game is going to be tight and will take almost a perfect game from us to beat NO down there in that dome…like the game we played against Dallas! I f we don’t get pressure on Drew we are done! And I will say this, the worst thing that could happen in the dome early in the game is this….AP fumbles…or even worse, Brett throws a early pick…..we will never get the crowd out of the game after that!

  10. By OLD SCHOOL on Jan 21, 2010 | Reply

    Look….any team that lost at home twice in the last 3 games they have played there can’t be unbeatable! If the Tampabay Bucs can do it……we can too! They are 1-3 in last games they have played there! I think they got a very bad Cards team…..the Cards are hot and cold….they got the cold…beat up Cards!

  11. By tbird on Jan 21, 2010 | Reply

    The Dallas fans should take some notes from REV Broussard..Very classy to come on our page and make positive statements..thanks and good luck back at you!

  12. By CA Norwegian on Jan 21, 2010 | Reply

    This just might be the best game ever. I like Brees and Bush, but The Vikes well they need to Unload the Same monkey the Redsocks and Angels did by winning their world series. I hope nobody gets injured, and no one whines like the Cryboys. If you want to look for mercy, look to God. If you are looking for Gentlemen and Class – look at the opera. If you want to watch exciting plays, you have come to the right place. Win or loose no one should hang their heads. There is plenty of greatness on both sides of the ball with both teams. Whoever looses, hold your head high we all know both these teams are very special.

  13. By rodd b. on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    lets hope we can have a competent crew of ref’s for this game. last weeks officials in both NFC games were horrible. i know they missed it live but i saw it clear as day and found it on the net. it was almost as obvious as the no call against harvin on 3rd down. (see NFL network video) posted 1-20-10 on x-factor / r. bush @ : 18 seconds !!! the MOST obvious block in the back to spring him for the record breaking punt return in post season??? it should have an asterisk next to it !!

  14. By rodd b. on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    SHOUT OUT TO Rev. Broussard

    you are indeed a man with class. hats off to you !! if they win, there is no other team i would rather see win it all.

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