He was completely stuck with the hole in front of him being closed quickly by an oncoming linebacker. Making matters worse the Bills were buried deep in their own territory in the first half. Instead of lowering his head and taking a no gain or a loss on the carry, LeSean McCoy threw his forward momentum into reverse, jump cut to his right and burst to the right edge where he found enough daylight to gain seven yards.
These are the 'something out of nothing plays' that have earned McCoy the reputation of being one of the most elusive backs in the league. To see it in action Sunday was an encouraging sign for a Bills rushing attack that sorely needs his game breaking ability.
"Obviously he's a huge weapon we've been certainly missing him," said head coach Rex Ryan. "To get him back out there that was impressive with 90 yards rushing. That's great to see him out there."
Buffalo's backs during his two-game absence rushed 32 times for 97 yards, less than 2.5 yards per carry. On Sunday McCoy averaged better than five yards a carry gaining those 90 yards on just 17 carries. That rushing total put him up and over 7,000 career yards.
He effectively jump started the offense on the first play from scrimmage with a 33-yard run off right tackle. That set up a 1st-and-10 in Cincinnati territory. McCoy however, was far from satisfied with the run.
"That first play man, that should have been the distance," said McCoy who felt close to 100 percent. "I'll get back. I'll be around. I'll be my normal self. I'll be alright."
He followed on that opening drive with carries of four and three yards that led to a third-and-three that EJ Manuel converted on a pass to Charles Clay. Six plays later Manuel reached the end zone on a two-yard run.
"Shady played great," said Manuel. "He's very energetic. I was happy to have him back, healthy."
McCoy isn't quite 100 percent, but this is probably as close as he's been since training camp prior to his hamstring injury. The signs on Sunday against Cincinnati however, were encouraging including the fact that besides EJ Manuel, McCoy was the only back who carried the ball.
Seeing McCoy still working deep into the fourth quarter was a positive as building strength and endurance is the last step when rehabbing an injury like a hamstring. On Buffalo's last scoring drive McCoy had three carries for 13 yards including the four-yard touchdown run for the Bills third and final touchdown.
"I felt okay," he said. "Certain plays I wish I had back. I feel like I could have done some things different on some different runs. But we, as a unit, we're trying to get better each game and we just got to put it together. We're a good team. Offensively we just have to find our groove and get to it and stick with it."
Unfortunately health is largely what has been robbing the Bills offense of truly jelling and functioning as a productive and consistent unit, and they weren't immune on Sunday losing Sammy Watkins (ankle) and Seantrel Henderson (concussion).
"We never have our whole group together—it's one person out, two people out," said McCoy. "Every time we come and get back together another injury happens. Or we get moving on a drive and a penalty happens. We've got the talent, we've got the right play calling---so it's a matter of just doing it."
Doing it is what McCoy began to put on display Sunday. Provided he's good to go this week in practice it's very likely that there is a whole lot more of that on the way.
"Obviously we can see little sparks of what he can do," said Manuel. "I thought he played strong. I know as time goes and he continues to get back into his rhythm, he'll continue to get even better."