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Big effort by McCoy and Bills rushing attack lost in defeat


LeSean McCoy had to take a moment to catch his breath before talking to the media after Sunday's game.

Buffalo's star running back was exhausted after getting the ball 24 times and gashing the Raiders for 191 total yards.

The loss was Buffalo's first when McCoy went over the century mark. The Bills were 7-0 when McCoy ran for over 100 yards coming in, and 4-0 already in the 2016 season.

The Bills were able to develop a nice balance between McCoy and Mike Gillislee, who returned from injury and spelled McCoy for key yardage, as he usually does.

After going off script on the first drive, throwing the ball on eight of their first nine offensive plays, Buffalo's offense eased into doing what it does best.

The NFL's number one rushing attack couldn't be stopped until the Bills fell behind in the fourth quarter. McCoy had 17 carries for 130 yards. Gillislee added 49 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.

McCoy's biggest play came on a 54-yard run on the Bills first offensive play after halftime. The Bills scored on a read option from Tyrod Taylor on the next play. McCoy had a 75-yard touchdown run on the first offensive play last week against the Jaguars; he has recorded 50-yard runs in consecutive games for the first time in his career.

The Bills were poised to feature even more McCoy in the second half, playing with a 24-9 lead and hoping to control the clock. However, once Oakland went on its run, they also took McCoy out of the game. He only had three yards on three carries in the fourth quarter.

"Frustrated," McCoy said. "You work so hard. I wanted to win so bad as a statement...The game was in our hands and we lost it."

McCoy was about as upset as anybody after the game, but did everything he could to keep his team in the game. When the running game was shut down, he contributed with 61 receiving yards and picked up three first downs through the air.

"Just a fantastic player," Rex Ryan said. "You hate to ruin that kind of a day for Shady, but we know what he is. Every single time out the guy is the best player on the field. So we just have to find ways to win as a team and it's always going to take that kind of a day and that kind of an effort and he gives it every time out."

Sunday was McCoy's fifth 100-yard game of the season. He is the first Bill to do that since C.J. Spiller in 2012.

As for Gillislee, he continued to do what he's done over his two years in a Bills uniform. He scored a one-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and then tacked on a two-yard touchdown run in the third. On the season, he has seven touchdowns and is averaging a little under six yards per carry.

His 29-yard run in the third quarter was his second-longest rush on the season.

"The offensive line did a great job opening lanes for me," Gillislee said. "I just got what I could get."

Gillislee heaped praise on teammate fullback Jerome Felton, who made his presence felt on the field. Felton demolished blockers on both of Gillislee's touchdowns.

"Felton's one of the best blocking fullbacks in the game that I've been around," Gillislee said. "He did a hell of a job out there."

With 164 yards rushing as a team on Sunday, the Bills have rushed for 150 yards or more in five consecutive games. It's the third-longest streak in team history, and longest since the first five games of the 1975 season.

Taylor's 12-yard rush at the beginning of the third quarter also made a mark in the record books. He is now tied with Joe Ferguson for the second-most rushing touchdowns in franchise history from a quarterback with 10. He is also the first Bills quarterback with six rushing touchdowns in a season since Daryle Lamonica in 1964.

"We definitely made plays," Taylor said. "Shady made plays, Mike made plays. Felton did a great job of blocking as well as our front. We just didn't do a good job of holding onto that momentum. We've got to learn from it going forward."

McCoy made Bills fans hold their collective breath in the third quarter after going down awkwardly on a run towards the sideline. He returned on the next series, however, and confirmed postgame that it was a cramp in his calf.

With the backfield still the healthiest and most successful part of the offense, McCoy and his teammates know that the run-oriented game plan isn't going to deviate over the final four games--they just have to play a full 60 minutes so they can stick to that plan.

"I did think it was a close game, but I just feel like this was a game we had in our hands and we messed up. People are going to look at the scoreboard and think 'wow, another big loss.' But the game was closer than that, and then we just lost it. You play one of the best teams in the NFL… you come back next week ready to play again."

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