ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — A few hours before the Buffalo Bills kicked off their only prime-time game of the season Monday night against the New England Patriots, coach Sean McDermott was asked if running back LeSean McCoy were important to Buffalo’s chances to beat its long-dominant AFC East foe.
“Correct,” McDermott told WGR 550, chuckling at how obvious the answer seemed.
McDermott was prescient, but not in the way he would have preferred. McCoy, who McDermott said was in full health after being cleared Sunday from the concussion protocol, gained 12 yards on the Bills’ first play after taking a direct snap in a Wildcat formation. His next 11 runs went for a total of 1 yard in a 25-6 loss to the Patriots that dropped the Bills to 2-6.
With the NFL’s trade deadline approaching Tuesday at 4 p.m., it is fair to question whether McCoy’s star has faded and what value he could bring to the Bills over the remainder of his contract, which expires after the 2019 season.
While McCoy led the Bills with six catches for 82 yards on Monday night, he entered the game ranked 34th in the NFL in yards per carry (3.87) this season and 37th since the start of the 2017 season (3.95). His last touchdown — rushing or receiving — came in Week 15 of last season.
Entering Week 8, McCoy averaged 2.7 yards per carry in the first halves of games. Some blame for that lack of production should fall on the offensive line, which lost stalwart center Eric Wood and guard Richie Incognito to retirement last offseason, but McCoy’s struggles in consistently gaining positive yards and in making game-breaking runs have become striking.
The Bills had an opportunity to escape with a win Monday night over the Patriots (6-2) because of their defense’s ability to hold New England’s offense to field goals and not allow touchdowns. However, the Bills’ inability to establish their ground attack compounded more expected issues at quarterback that showed up again in the fourth quarter, when Derek Anderson threw a game-clinching pick-six. Anderson left the game with trainers on the Bills’ final drive after taking a big hit on a sack.
Trading McCoy might not drastically change the Bills’ offense in the second half of the season. Backup Chris Ivory appeared more effective Monday night, gaining as many yards (13) on one run than McCoy had the entire game. Ivory, who entered Monday night ranked 56th among all NFL running backs in yards per carry since the start of the 2017 season, finished with 34 yards on six carries.
Source : ESPN