The Jacksonville Jaguars may have been the most determined defensive unit this season when it came to stopping the Bills run game. They consistently put eight men in the box and dared Buffalo to throw the ball. The Bills' top ranked rushing attack tried to do what they do best, but with the Jaguars fast linebackers and Taylor a smaller part of the game plan on the ground, LeSean McCoy and the offense were spinning their wheels. That is until he ripped off a 75-yard touchdown run to ignite the Bills in a critical 28-21 win.
"Oh that was big," said Tyrod Taylor of McCoy's long touchdown run. "Anytime you have an explosive play like that it's big for the offense. Just a momentum booster and we were able to build off of that play coming out at half time and turn things around in the second half. It was an ugly first half but like I said, that was a great way to start the second half and for us to build momentum."
Prior to that run, the first play from scrimmage in the second half, McCoy and Buffalo's top ranked rushing attack had been bottled up by Jacksonville's run front.
"They basically stayed the same the whole way," said head coach Rex Ryan. "They were putting them all down there. They did a great job. They have a lot of speed at linebacker and we were having a tough time getting the back side linebacker pinned. But it seemed like wherever (McCoy) went there was a free guy. Wherever he went they did a really good job."
McCoy had just five rushing yards on eight carries. Four of his first seven carries went for minus-eight yards.
"Obviously they came in the game to stop the run," McCoy said. "They had the safety on the line of scrimmage as if he was a defensive end. So that's always tough. There were some plays I probably could've taken back. Maybe just go in there and getting tackled for zero, I'd try to make something happen.
"I got a little frustrated today to be honest. I've been in games where a defense tries to stop you and take you out of the game, take out the running game and you try to make something happen. It is what it is."
On McCoy's eighth carry of the game there was enough daylight for him to get through the line and then he cut back at the second level on a first-and-goal play from the Jaguars seven to reach the end zone to make it a 7-6 game at half.
Then on the first play from scrimmage in the second half McCoy darted through a hole on the right side and outraced everyone at the second level for the longest score of his career.
But it was more than McCoy's two touchdown runs.
After the Jaguars had regained the lead on an Allen Hurns touchdown just eight seconds into the fourth quarter, Buffalo was facing a 2nd-and-7 at their own 27. McCoy took a check down pass in the right flat, shook off a defender and raced up the first sideline for a 25-yard pickup into Jacksonville territory.
"It was a play that I thought was going deep and then I saw Tyrod and I knew I was his security blanket," said McCoy. "He threw it and I felt the guy and I was like, 'Alright we'll make him miss and go.'"
Six plays later Buffalo put what proved to be the game-winning touchdown on the board, with McCoy fighting to reach the goal line on the ensuing two-point conversion for a seven-point lead (28-21).
"The thing that I love about Shady is he kept on putting it in there believing that he's going to get something," said Ryan. "Some guys complain and he did just the opposite. I'm really proud of the way he played."
McCoy also got the critical first down to salt away the clock converting a 3rd-and-7 with 1:20 left with a nine-yard run.
"Obviously it was a big relief because there was some back and forth in the game," McCoy said. "We just wanted one first down and ice the game."
By game's end McCoy posted his fourth 100-yard rushing day of the season with 103 on the ground averaging 5.3 per carry. He now has 819 rushing yards on the season and nine touchdowns to lead the team.
"I've never seen any running back that's set guys up like Shady," said Sammy Watkins. "I don't even know how he sees the guys. He's been doing a great job this whole year with running the ball and being physical. The offensive line has been knocking guys off the ball. You can give props to those guys."
But when the game was still in doubt was when McCoy, as has been the case with him this season, delivered the most important play of the game.
"He is a dynamic playmaker," said Richie Incognito. "We keep hitting them, hitting them and hitting them, one of those is going to pop, one of those is going to go. Luckily it came out in the second half and gave the entire team some juice."