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Run game rejuvenated with healthy McCoy and Karlos


It was the first time that both LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams were simultaneously 100 percent healthy since early August. The potential of each was known, but the results had yet to present themselves due to McCoy's persistent hamstring injury and Williams' Week 4 concussion. On Sunday the tandem combined for 222 yards rushing on just 25 carries (8.9 avg.) and three touchdowns in a convincing 33-17 victory.

"Coach (Greg) Roman did a great job of game planning our run game," said Tyrod Taylor. "Getting the angles we wanted, getting the match ups we wanted with the safeties and our running backs. They went out there and ran the ball extremely well. The line did a good job of creating holes, and our running backs did a great job finding holes and making big plays."

With McCoy (112) and Williams (110) each eclipsing the century mark, it was the first time in eight seasons that the Bills had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game. That accomplishment, along with the win, were things for the offensive line to hang their collective hat on Sunday.

"We take a lot of pride but the whole offense should," said center Eric Wood. "Sammy (Watkins) taking the top off definitely helps us out. Tyrod's ability to run holds the back side often.  And to break long runs, you need receivers blocking. It takes everybody."  

McCoy's first three carries went for a total of four yards, but come the team's second series the offense got in a rhythm with their ground game. The Bills feature back ran off the left end for a 17-yard gain. Karlos Williams stepped in on a 2nd-and-14 and ripped off a 10-yard run. Two plays later McCoy darted out to his right and then cut his run up behind the pursuit, got a couple of downfield blocks and went 48 yards to the end zone. It was only the beginning with McCoy looking as spry and sudden as he's been in a Buffalo uniform.

"Just my ability to cut on a dime, my burst and then open up and kind of finish the runs," said McCoy. "I felt like my rust was really knocking off and my hamstrings, both of them are feeling excellent. So this is the first time I'm feeling really good."

In the first matchup with the Dolphins in Week 3, Buffalo's offense took advantage of Miami's tendency to be aggressive in their pursuit of the football, especially on outside runs. McCoy and Williams worked against the flow of the play again Sunday to slide underneath the pursuit to an open back side. More often than not they were successful with Williams reaching the end zone on such a run for his second touchdown of the game.

"We had these couple of runs that are meant to go to the sideline and they try to over pursue. I just try to get underneath and it worked a couple of times," McCoy said. "The long one it worked on that. And even if you look at Karlos' 38-yarder, kind of the same pursuit, cut it up and took it the distance."

Williams, who was playing for the first time in a month, picked up where he left off scoring a pair of touchdowns en route to his second 100-yard rushing day of the season. His two scoring runs made him the first Bills rookie running back to have two rushing touchdowns in a game since Antowain Smith in 1997. He's now just the seventh player in NFL history to rush for a touchdown in each of his first five games.

"The first one, we kind of were going to run that package a lot," said Richie Incognito of Williams first touchdown run. "We had that play dialed up a lot, and that time it called for me to come around and block the (strong side linebacker), and I came around and met him right in the hole, and got a good shot on him, and Karlos accelerated through the hole and got the touchdown. And the same exact play, we ran it the next time, and we just kind of changed up what we were doing. They gave us a different look and I pulled, kicked out the end, and Karlos did the rest man. He's a big strong guy and he's fast."

Watching Williams (6-1, 230) stick his foot in the ground and accelerate up the field and outrace a safety, who appeared to have an angle, to the end zone was eye popping.

"He is definitely a fast man," said Taylor, who contributed 44 rushing yards to the team's 266-yard total. "Definitely not surprised by his speed. He is an explosive runner, and once he gets downhill I think he can run with anybody. And he did a good job of outrunning the safety, but that is normal for him once he gets downhill and starts running."

The Bills largely relied on just a couple of different running plays that featured guards Incognito and rookie John Miller, who were pulling on a good number of the club's more successful rushes.

"I think it's our bread and butter, what we do," Incognito said. "I think we're really kind of honing in on what we can do well. Me pulling, I love to pull, I love to get out in space, I love to block guys. Give me a running start at guys and not a lot of guys are going to win that battle. I think we're finding what we can do very well and we just repeatedly did it (Sunday) and it kept working."

"Although we were making similar play calls over and over, they all complemented one another," said Wood. "We had gap schemes with cross schemes outside; show the defense the fullback cutting back and running inside and then take it outside the next time—I thought it was a really well-called game by Coach Roman."

Not to be overlooked, Buffalo was facing the league's 25th ranked run defense. The Dolphins also came into the game surrendering four yards or more on first down run plays almost half the time (49.6%), which ranked 31st.  

Things will get much more difficult in four short days when the Bills face the top run defense in football in the New York Jets. But it appears the offense has found its calling card now that their key playmakers are healthy.

"You draft certain players like Karlos (Williams) to make plays and John (Miller) on the line blocked tremendous," said McCoy. "The offensive line really kicked butt. I shouldn't use the word bully, but they were bullying up front. They made some excellent plays and we kind of got to the edges and anything we wanted to do, it was free. A lot of space. This is what they brought us here for it to look like."

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