The decisiveness the Bills' running backs showed against the Broncos stood out to head coach Sean McDermott, who was pleased with how well all the running backs ran today. The Bills routed the Broncos 42-15 in the second week of the preseason, with four of the six touchdowns coming via the rushing attack.
All plays start up front when you're moving the line of scrimmage and McDermott credited the offensive line for the backfield's success.
"The continuity, if you will, of what the line was doing and where the running backs were hitting it, they seemed to be on the same page, and that's an important part of our offense," McDermott said.
Against the Broncos, the impressive ground game for the running backs resulted in four touchdowns, with Duke Johnson and Zack Moss each tallying two. Offensive tackle Dion Dawkins shared that every year, it seems like the Bills' running back room is stacked with depth.
"The young kid (Raheem Blackshear & James Cook), he's been doing a great job, Duke has been doing an amazing job, Moss is healthy now and Motor's (Devin Singletary) still Motor," Dawkins said. "They just keep chucking away, they're trusting what (Aaron)Kromer is coaching and the run installs, and it's obviously showing and they're doing a great job doing it."
Moss, who rushed for 19 yards in addition to those two touchdowns, shared that the mindset and execution from practice to today's game allowed for their performance to shine.
"We changed, got a different mindset, ball security was a lot better, and I think all those things kind of played a big factor in to it," Moss said. "There's a lot more things that when we watch the film are going to pop up that we can get better at, see details, and things like that. But today was a good showing. Just got to keep building off that."
Going into the offseason healthy was key for Moss in finding his game again and Dawkins acknowledged how far Moss' confidence can go on the field, especially when he's healthy, which was apparent today.
"You can literally feel it when any athlete of any type has 100% of their gas, it's a scary sight," Dawkins said. "If Moss is finally fully healthy, he's fully him."
Johnson, who rushed for 55 yards on top of his two touchdowns, took advantage of the lanes that were opening up to him thanks to the offensive line.
"We came into halftime, the message was the same message we had in the first half," Johnson said. "Keep it going, keep pushing, play fast and physical, and the guys up front did that from start to finish."
Johnson also felt that the mindset heading into today's game allowed the running backs to find success in the end zone and getting the ball down the field. As a two-dimensional team that has to be ready to run or pass in any situation, he felt that the team has good situational awareness against the Broncos.
"When we get down in short yardage, goal line we can pass the ball of course, but we want to be able to show and know to one another that we can run it," Johnson said. "That was something we went out there today and kind of showed was we can get down there and we can pass it, we can throw fade balls, we can throw slant, we can throw tight end pops."
Running back Raheem Blackshear also contributed to the strong offensive performance with 58 rushing yards out of the total 208, and 21 receiving yards. McDermott credits Blackshear's "juice" for his ability to make plays.
"You feel the burst whether it's in the return game or when he's carrying the ball on offense," McDermott said. "He catches the ball out of the backfield, he plays his role, so he's in a pretty crowded situation right now, but very impressive to this point."
And as his teammate, Moss is trying to keep Blackshear on the right path in terms of making the most of any opportunity that is presented to him.
"The things he does in between those white lines is all him," Moss said. "But at the end of the day, just me being a veteran just trying to teach the younger guys the way this league operates and just always be ready for the opportunity."
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