Both fans of the Miami Dolphins and Fantasy Football, felt a sense of elation turned to pain on Sunday as they watched running back Reggie Bush rush for a big gain just to fumble the ball as he was being tackled. It was one of those moments in sports where the roller coaster of emotions rises and crashes so quickly you are left staring in absolute horror while the look of joy is still frozen on your face. Oh, how NFL football can be so cruel.
Unfortunately, things became even more unsettling, when the Dolphins head coach punished Bush by sitting him on the bench for the rest of the first half. Joe Philbin deemed it necessary to drive home the point that no matter who you are, you had better protect the ball. Unless your name is Ryan Tannehill, in which case you are allowed to throw the ball to the other team at inopportune times, and remain on the field.
Is this a double standard? Maybe, but Philbin may feel that Tannehill needs to be on the field to grow from these mistakes, while Reggie is a veteran back, and needs to be shown that carelessness will not be tolerated.
Bush, who finished the day with 21 yards on just four carries, was quick to support his coach’s decision.
“I didn’t deserve to be back in the game,” he said. “I fumbled the ball, and I’ve had two fumbles lost this year, so I’ve got to do a better job protecting the ball.”
Which is true; Bush does need to protect the ball, but to leave the team’s most explosive weapon on the bench while they are facing the most pressing adversity of the season seems questionable, at best. The Dolphins need what Bush brings to the offensive side of the ball, and having him on the bench for his second fumble of the season makes no sense. After all, he had just gained 15 yards before the ball was ripped out of his arms. He wasn’t being careless with the ball, it was simply a good play by the Tennessee Titans’ Jason McCourty.
Philbin also benched Richie Incognito after receiving a personal foul penalty, and the Dolphins went on to suffer the worst home loss since 1968.
Philbin’s approach may just be the way he does things, but if so, then the way he does things may need to be examined. Sitting your best players to prove a point reeks of a power play, rather than coaching style, and it will be worth keeping an eye on in the future.
For now, Bush is saying all of the right things and preparing to face the Buffalo Bills on Thursday Night Football.
Jeff Everette is a Featured Columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. Follow Jeff on twitter @jeverettesports, like his page on FaceBook, or add his Google + to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.