DENVER — Raiders running back Michael Bush had become the odd-man out in a three-headed rushing attack that also features Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden. On Sunday, Bush became the go-to guy once again.
Bush made the most of his latest opportunity by scoring the Raiders' first touchdown on a 23-yard run and producing a team-high 133 yards on 18 carries (a 7.4-yard average) in a 20-19 victory over the Denver Broncos.
"It was hard waiting, because you think you should be out there playing and contributing as well," Bush said after being called upon to replace Fargas. The starter injured his knee in the early going.
"Fargas went down a little bit and needed someone else to pick up his slack," Bush said. "That is why you need a stable of backs like we have."
Bush fell from coach Tom Cable's favor after a fumble against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 22. He had received only five carries in three games since then before his workload against Denver.
Fargas split time with McFadden early in the game. The game plan changed once Bush bolted through the left side of the line and into the end zone for his third touchdown of the season.
A fumble by McFadden midway through the third quarter led to even more playing time for Bush. McFadden's fumble set up a Broncos touchdown drive that turned their 13-9 deficit into a 16-13 lead.
Bush responded by rushing for 58 yards on his next two carries. McFadden followed with a 28-yard run to the Broncos' 3-yard line.
McFadden said he was grateful Cable didn't lose faith in him after the fumble.
"It was very big for me," McFadden said, "because at that point in time it was like my confidence was way low, and I was just telling myself, 'If you get another chance, you need to make the best of it.' And that is what I did."
Deciding on which back to use at any given time makes for some difficult decisions on Cable's part. Yet, he doesn't mind.
"It's tough, but it's a good problem," Cable said. "Let's face it, everybody would be happy to have what we have here."
It worked when the Raiders stuck to their plan of using Asomugha on Marshall in man-to-man coverage. It didn't work when they played a zone.
Overall, Marshall finished with seven catches for 73 yards, none against Asomugha.
"There came a point late in the game where we said, 'Regardless of what everyone else calls, you'll be in man and just stay with it,' " Asomugha said.
Said Marshall: "They did a good job of just switching up their coverage on me."
Marshall caught three passes for 32 yards, including a touchdown, on a Broncos touchdown drive late in the third quarter.
"He loves the battle, I love the battle," Asomugha said. "We're always talking during the game. This game, twice a year, is something that we look forward to, because you have to put out your best effort."
The Raiders beat the Broncos 31-10 on Nov. 23, 2008, and the Broncos missed the playoffs by one game.