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'A two-dimensional offense' | Bills' rushing attack opens up playbook


In front of the first home crowd of the season, nine different Bills had at least one reception and five had at least one carry in Buffalo's 38-10 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Running back James Cook exploded for the best single-game performance of his short career. The 23-year-old averaged 7.2 yards per carry and totaled 159 yards from scrimmage. The offense tallied 183 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

"Kudos to my line, my O-line," Cook said. "They blocked great and opened up lanes for us and we hit them."

Damien Harris was one of the Buffalo running backs who found his way into the end zone, scoring on a 1-yard run for the Bills' final touchdown of the day. After the score, Harris rocked the football like a baby to honor his wife, who is pregnant with the couple's first child.

"I swear the first thing I thought of when I crossed the goal line was my wife and my baby on the way," Harris said. "I felt that love, that energy when I scored, you know? All 10 guys in the end zone celebrating … it was a great feeling."

Harris, who spent the first four years of his career in New England, said he enjoyed hearing Bills fans cheer for him in Highmark rather than against him. In four games against Buffalo, Harris scored five touchdowns and rushed for over 360 yards. Now, a new chapter of his time in Highmark begins.

"I've had a long history at Highmark Stadium, so I'm glad that this time when I scored, I didn't get booed," Harris said. "It was a great feeling and I'm glad to be part of this organization and I hope that was the first of many."

Veteran running back Latavius Murray, who was drafted by the Raiders in 2014, also made his way into the end zone, scoring the first touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run up the middle. Murray, who grew up in Western New York, said that his Highmark debut was especially meaningful.

"Being back in New York, playing football in the fall, it meant everything to go out here today," Murray said. "I've never played here, it just felt great to experience the atmosphere, experience even the drive here."

Murray also said that seeing fans preparing for game day as early as Saturday night meant a lot as the Bills left the facility Saturday.

Head Coach Sean McDermott gave a shoutout to the offensive line and said that developing a strong rushing attack opened up the playbook.

"I tip my hat to our offensive line and our three running backs," McDermott said after the game. "It's important that we have that. We can be a two-dimensional offense, pound the ball when we need to pound it. … When you can control the line of scrimmage, it makes play-calling a lot easier."

Quarterback Josh Allen, who ran for just seven yards, said that leaning on the run game makes it easier for him as a passer.

"The more that we can hand off to [Cook] and these guys, they're getting five, six yards a pop, staying in front of the chains, putting us in second and short situations where now we can hand it off again or we can take a shot … so huge ups for O-line today and our running backs," Allen said.

Right tackle Spencer Brown was assigned the difficult task of protecting Allen from one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in Maxx Crosby. McDermott said that he was impressed with Brown's ability to keep the two-time Pro Bowler at bay. Crosby finished the game without a sack, tackle for loss or quarterback hit.

"Spencer, mentally, I thought was really, really tough today," McDermott said. "I thought Dorsey did a good job with the gameplan and changing some things up and making sure it wasn't just single blocks all the time in terms of being able to chip from time to time with Crosby, who is a heck of a player. [Brown] puts time in physically, he's always done that … he embraced the challenge and took a very humble approach and mentally tough approach."

The Bills will face another team with a talented front seven when they take on the Washington Commanders next Sunday. The game, which will be played in Washington's FedEx Field, will kick off at 1 p.m.

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