Running back LeSean McCoy is by far the most proven weapon the Buffalo Bills have on offense, but surprisingly he has been holstered for most of the season. McCoy’s played in three games this year and the team’s winless with his presence. He’s not to blame though, strictly because he’s receiving a much lighter workload than usual. If the Bills want to turn its season around, it won’t hurt to give their six-time Pro Bowl RB more touches.
Last Sunday’s shutout loss to the Packers was the latest example. McCoy played in 62-percent of the offensive snaps, which is the most time he has spent on the field in a single game this season. However, he only tallied five carries all afternoon, marking his lightest total on the ground all year. See the problem there?
I understand that the Bills trailed early and got away from their game plan. But you should never be able to count on one hand how many rushes McCoy has in a game.
With a quarter of the NFL season in the rearview mirror, McCoy’s numbers are uncharacteristically low. He has rushed for only 85 yards and has yet to record a touchdown. On average, he’s getting a slim seven carries per game and is garnering 28 rushing yards.
On that drive, LeSean McCoy improved his day to 24 yards rushing, which is his second-highest rushing performance out of three games this season. McCoy's top rushing total this year is 39 yards. #Bills
— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) September 30, 2018
In the locker room after Sunday’s loss, McCoy was asked about getting less touches and if that’s something he’s accustomed to.
“No. Not at all,” McCoy said. “I can’t worry about that. Only thing I can do is control what I can control. I have to try and make plays. There are plays I’m not making when I am getting the ball. So, just gotta focus on that.”
McCoy has been restricted to less than 10 carries in each contest this season. Conversely, he had at least 12 carries in each of Buffalo’s first four games last season. That’s problematic. Not many RBs can get into a groove without surpassing double-digit attempts in a game.
When McCoy’s given a chance, he and his teams have flourished. Since 2010, he leads the league with 37 games of 100-plus yards. In such games, his teams’ record is 31-6. If the Bills start giving McCoy the ball more, they should reap the benefits. But he won’t be hitting the 100-yard mark getting five, seven, and nine carries a game.
With only 21 rushes in three games, head coach Sean McDermott was asked if he’s getting a sense of frustration from McCoy.
“Absolutely,” said McDermott during Monday’s press conference. “I can understand why he’s frustrated.”
As you’d expect, McCoy’s low production has had a negative impact on Buffalo’s offense as a whole. The unit ranks 32nd in the league in yards per play (3.68), 31st in yards per game (220.8), and 31st in points per game (12.5).
Bills offensive ranks:
Total QBR: 15.4 (32nd)
YPG: 220.8 (31st)
YPP: 3.68 (32nd)
YPC: 3.6 (25th)
NY/A: 4.38 (32nd)
INT/A: 5.0% (32nd)
SCK/A: 17.4% (32nd)
1D/G: 13.5 (31st)
3rdD: 24.1% (32nd)
RZ: 57.1% (T-16)
TOP: 28:13 (28th)
PS/G: 12.5 (31st)
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) October 1, 2018
It’s safe to say that’s not the start first-year offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was looking for.
With 12 games remaining, there’s no doubt the Bills must find a way to get McCoy in the mix. And Daboll, who’s probably feeling the pressure more than anyone, is fully aware of that.
“We have to do a good job of getting him involved, staying on track, not going three and out and then getting him the ball,” Daboll said. “No question about it.”