Oakland Raiders 2011 Offensive Player of the Year: Michael Bush
– Jan 28, 2012The Raider Nation Times writers have voted running back Michael Bush as the Oakland Raiders offensive player of the year for the 2011 season. After a season dogged by a league record in penalties and a perception of "thuggery," Bush's gritty performances after a season-ending injury to Darren McFadden were valiant in the face of adversity.
In a season mired by injuries to starters, Michael Bush proved his fortitude by stepping in for the injured McFadden in the seventh game of the 2011 season and finished the season with 1395 yards from scrimmage, 8 touchdowns, 67 first downs, 33 receptions, a long run of 44 yards, and a long catch of 55 yards.
That is big play ability.
Bush stepped in for McFadden against the Kansas City Chiefs and finished with 111 yards from scrimmage, 99 of which were rushing with an average of 5.8 yards per carry. Why head coach Hue Jackson insisted on pass plays--that would be picked off six times--with two different quarterbacks, even though Michael Bush was running effectively is still a mystery; a mystery that likely factored into Reggie McKenzie's decision to release Jackson.
In the best game of his career, Michael Bush ran roughshod over the San Diego Chargers on Thursday Night Football in a game that hearkened back to the days of Bo Jackson. In fact, Bush's 242 yards from scrimmage was the fourth highest in Raider history, surpassing Bo Jackson's storied performance of 1987 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Bush would record at least 90 yards from scrimmage in six games of the final seven games of the season.
But again, Hue Jackson deferred from calling a run play when Michael Bush had the hot hand. In a gut-wrenching loss to the Detroit Lions, a first down is all the Raiders needed to ice the game after they effortlessly picked up two first downs with Bush. Instead, Jackson called a deep pass to Chaz Schilens that missed. The Raiders punted. On the ensuing drive, the Lions scored the go-ahead touchdown that won the game.
In the final game of the season against the San Diego Chargers, the Raiders offense was sketchy at best. Quarterback Carson Palmer threw for over 400 yards and two touchdowns, but that does not show the big picture. In five other trips into Charger territory, the Raiders kicked four field goals from short-range, while the Chargers intercepted Palmer on the other trip. Not once did Jackson give the ball to Bush in Charger territory.
If you do not believe me, you can check the Play-By-Play logs on Sportsline.com.
I know that the NFL favors the passing game, but a smart coach in the NFL of today still knows the value of a good player, regardless of position. Coaches still need to keep the other team, "honest" as the saying goes.
With a new coach in town, Michael Bush is clearly a valuable player in any success or lack thereof for the offense of the Oakland Raiders, which make Bush a priority to resign in free agency. Well new head coach Dennis Allen recognize this? Who knows. Regardless, the writers at Raider Nation Times and the Raider Nation itself has.
Congratulations to Michael Bush on a great season.
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