Reggie Bush back in LA when surging Bills visit solid Rams
LOS ANGELES (AP) Reggie Bush won a Heisman Trophy and two national championships while playing at the Coliseum for the University of Southern California.
He also won the love of millions of Los Angeles football fans - and that's something he actually got to keep.
Now an NFL veteran on the back stretch of his career, Bush is excited to return to the Coliseum as his Buffalo Bills (2-2) visit the Los Angeles Rams (3-1).
''It's long overdue, and I think everybody realizes that,'' Bush said of pro football's return to the nation's second-largest city. ''It's good that the Rams have gotten back. I think it's going to be great.''
While Bush might not be much of a factor in the Bills' game plan, he's still wildly popular in Los Angeles, where coach Pete Carroll's dominant Trojans were the biggest show in town during the NFL's 21-year absence.
Bush's jersey is still among the most popular in the crowd at any Trojans game, even after the school officially disassociated itself from the star tailback. USC was hit with heavy NCAA sanctions in 2010 surrounding his family's acceptance of improper benefits.
Bush never expected to get the chance to play professionally in the stadium where USC dominated during his heyday, and he still might not suit up for the Bills, who have him near the bottom of the depth chart.
But he'll be there Sunday along with fellow Trojans-turned-Bills Robert Woods, Nickell Robey-Coleman and Kevon Seymour.
''It's always important to pass it down, because at some point in time, we all get too old to play,'' said Bush, who lives in nearby Pacific Palisades with his family in the offseason. ''But not yet. I'm not done yet.''
The second home game of the Rams' homecoming season - and their final game at the Coliseum until November - matches two teams off to impressive starts.
After knocking off NFC West rivals Seattle and Arizona, the Rams are on just their third three-game winning streak in 10 years and their best start to a season since 2006.
Buffalo is coming off impressive back-to-back victories over Arizona and New England. The Bills have won two straight games - and they haven't won three straight since early in the 2011 season.
Here are more things to watch when the Bills visit the Coliseum:
DEFENSE FIRST: Both teams have built their winning streaks on solid defensive play. The Bills shut out the Patriots last week, while the Rams forced five turnovers and allowed only 13 points to the Cardinals. The offenses of Buffalo and Los Angeles could be overmatched, but the Bills will rely on quarterback Tyrod Taylor's mobile playmaking under new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn. The Rams will try to get a big game from running back Todd Gurley, who has only 216 yards in the first four games.
COACHING CONNECTION: Rams coach Jeff Fisher played for defensive expert Buddy Ryan with the Chicago Bears, and he was Buddy's defensive coordinator in Philadelphia. He sees elements of the father in the two sons currently running the Bills. ''They would hang around training camp in Chicago, and I've followed their careers throughout,'' Fisher said. ''Buddy was very, very close with them. That was a hard loss this summer when we lost Buddy. They're both outstanding coaches. They're passionate. They're coaching for their dad right now, I know that. (Rex) is going to have his team ready.''
RUN IT: Buffalo and Los Angeles have two of the three worst passing offenses in the NFL, so the ground game should be a key for both teams. While the Bills are racking up 123.2 yards rushing per game, the Rams are ranked 30th in the league with four quiet games from Gurley. Defenses have been keying heavily on Gurley this season, and the Bills did a remarkable job in bottling up Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount last week. Offensive coordinator Rob Boras hopes Los Angeles can exploit its opponents' imbalance through the passing game.
DAREUS' RETURN: Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is back from a four-game suspension for another violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. The two-time Pro Bowler could be an enormous boost to the Buffalo defense if his mind is in the game, and he pronounced himself ready to roll this week. ''I'm not trying to mess up anything,'' Dareus said. ''I just want to come in and be smooth and do what I can, help out where I can, and just be the best person and teammate I can possibly be.''
DETERMINED DONALD: If Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is even more disruptive than usual, Bills coach Rex Ryan knows he's probably to blame. Donald acknowledged this week that he hadn't forgotten Ryan's dismissive comments about his Pro Bowl selection two years ago, calling the words ''disrespectful.'' Donald was the NFC's defensive player of the week last week.
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo contributed to this report.
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