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Bush is the first running back in league history to finish the season with 10 more or carries and gain negative yards, according to Pro Football Reference.
He did not get a carry in the team's 30–10 loss in Buffalo's season finale against the New York Jets, so Bush finishes the 2016 season with 12 rushes for –3 yards. Bush did score one touchdown this season, and that was a one-yard score in a Week 7 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s tough,” Bush said last week. “I just didn’t have a lot of opportunities this year. And so I’m not worried about that, finishing with negative yards or anything like that. If I had more opportunities, it would be a different story. But I didn’t have that.”
The Bills this season led the NFL in rushing offense, yards per rushing attempt and rushing touchdowns. Buffalo also has missed the playoffs in each of the last 17 seasons.
Bills’ Reggie Bush sets saddest NFL rushing record in the books
Reggie Bush did not receive a carry in his Bills’ 30-10 loss to the Jets in both teams’ season finales Sunday. That prevented him from doing anything about cementing an NFL mark that no running back would want to have.
Bush ended the season with minus-3 yards on 12 carries. That made him the first non-quarterback to rush for negative total yardage on at least 10 carries since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
Contrary to some reports, Bush is not the first NFL non-quarterback to accomplish the dubious feat. The Buffalo News dug up at least eight others (with the help of Pro Football Reference), but none since 1961, when Bears end-fullback John Adams racked up minus-2 yards on 14 carries.
“It’s tough,” the 31-year-old Bush had said Wednesday. “I just didn’t have a lot of opportunities this year. And so I’m not worried about that, finishing with negative yards or anything like that. If I had more opportunities, it would be a different story. But I didn’t have that.”
Bush’s downfall was his one carry last week against the Dolphins, a reverse play that netted him a loss of eight rushing yards. He appeared in 12 games for the Bills but was used sparingly behind LeSean McCoy and Mike Gillislee, also accumulating 90 yards on seven receptions.
A Heisman Trophy winner at Southern Cal and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Saints, Bush had his last productive season in 2013, when he had 1,006 yards rushing and 506 yards receiving for the Lions. He appeared in five games for the 49ers last season as a backup before injuring his medial collateral ligament, and he was picked up by the Bills in August after Karlos Williams was hit with a four-game suspension (he was later released by Buffalo).
Bush’s struggles on the ground this season stood in stark contrast to his Bills teammates, who combined for the league’s best rushing attack going into Sunday. McCoy went into Week 17 with the NFL’s fourth-most rushing yards (1,257), and his mark of 5.5 yards per carry was second only among qualified players to that of Buffalo’s quarterback, Tyrod Taylor. Before the Jets game, Gillislee had rushed for 537 yards with a 6.2 average.
Reggie Bush sets futility record, finishes with negative rushing yards for season
Good news: The Bills' season, mercifully, is over. Bad news: It wasn't enough to get blown out, 30-10, at home by the hapless Jets, the Bills had to set a record for futility in the process. And we're not talking about a fundamental misunderstanding of the rules.
Nope, we're talking about Reggie Bush. Not only was this the worst season of his 11-year career, it was the worst season by any non-quarterback since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
Specifically, Bush finished 2016 with 12 carries for minus-3 yards after not getting a carry against the Jets.
Interim coach Anthony Lynn said last week that he "would love to get [Bush] a couple carries," but that didn't happen.
In case you're wondering, Bush was well aware of his situation.
"It's tough," he said on Wednesday, via the Buffalo News' Nick Veronica. "I just didn't have a lot of opportunities this year. And so I'm not worried about that, finishing with negative yards or anything like that. If I had more opportunities, it would be a different story. But I didn't have that."
And now the 2006 second-overall pick is in the record books.
Perhaps most amazing: Bush's season-long struggles are taking place on the league's most efficient rush offense, according to Football Outsiders' metrics, one that averages 171 rushing yards a game. LeSean McCoy leads the way with 1,267 yards and a 5.4 yards-per-carry average, and he's followed by Tyrod Taylor (580 yards, 6.1 YPC), Mike Gillislee (577 yards, 5.7 YPC), Jonathan Williams (94 yards, 3.5 YPC) ... and Bush.
For the morbidly curious, Bush's best game came in Week 6, when he rushed for 6 yards on two carries. He has twice finished games with minus-8 rushing yards; in Week 8 he did it in two carries against the Patriots, and he managed it again last week against the Dolphins, but needed just one carry to do it.