Going into Thursday night's matchup versus the Jets, the whole nation knew that the Buffalo Bills were going to try and establish the run game. The Bills offense, in my opinion, is still in its infancy stage when it comes to figuring out an identity. The last two weeks have shown what the Bills offense will look like if our players stay healthy. The new triplets, Tyrod Taylor, Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy, are dangerous when all three are in the game. When Buffalo's stars are on the field, they can create mismatches. Greg Roman is on a two week high. He is now able to open the playbook and fans can see this offense taking shape. Roman had some new wrinkles in the run game this week that the No. 1 NY Jets run defense wasn't expecting. These new plays and “looks” allowed the Bills to gain 148 yards on 33 carries, all while controlling the tempo of the game by possessing the ball for 33:16. Shady McCoy led the team with 19 carries for 112 yards. The Bills offense seems to be a chunk play run offense. Much like Barry Sanders, McCoy jukes and dances a lot. Sometimes that leads to losses in the backfield but other times Shady makes big plays out of nothing. So, lets take a look at some of these plays from Shady and marvel at the superstar that we now have on offense.
The first carry from Shady came on 1st and 10 on the left hash. The defense is in their 4-6 Bear defense. The offensive line blocks zone left. The offense runs zone read to the field. The read is the last man on the line of scrimmage-David Harris. Taylor sees that Harris keys him, so he hands it off to Shady and he gets into the second level for a gain of 15.
McCoy onto the second level.
McCoy's second carry is on 1st and 10 from the right hash of the Bills 32 yard line. This play only gains three yards but Shady puts one heck of a move on the LB. Clay starts off in the wing on the right side of the screen and he motions across into the off line TE position. The ball is snapped and Clay blocks the backside DE/OLB on the right. Shady runs a inside zone run to the left. But this is a split zone concept. The RB can cut it back to the weak side if the defense overpursues.
Miller is supposed to climb to second level and pick up ILB Davis but he whiffs and Davis is in the lane to make the tackle. To McCoy's credit, he cuts it back and makes Davis miss big.
This carry for McCoy takes place in the 2nd quarter. The Bills have the ball on their own 39 yard line on 1st and 10. The ball is on the right hash. The offense is in 12 personnel with trips to the field and Clay in the slot. Tyrod motions Clay to the offense's right where he stops outside TE Mulligan. The defense is in a 4-3 variation with, in essence, 4 DTs in the game from left to right; Wilkerson, Harrison, Williams and Douzable. They are shifted to the weak side of the offensive formation to stop the zone read play. Taylor comes to the line with a check with me set of plays. Based on the defense he lets the play roll. The Bills run a split zone concept this time out of the shotgun.
What makes this play so great even though Buffalo only picked up 1 yard is the that McCoy makes Williams miss on the run blitz.
Shady’s fourth carry from Thursday's game really showcased his talent. The offense is in 12 personnel with trips left. Clay is in the slot and is motioned to the offense’s right. Shady is positioned to the weak side of the formation. The Jets come out in a 4-3 variation with 4 DTs shifted to the weak side to stop the zone read. The offense runs a new wrinkle, the old counter trey. This is a play where the offensive line blocks down A gap and the backside guard and tackle pull and lead the play. Shady takes a counter step as Richie pulls and picks up the ILB Harris, Glenn pulls and picks up the ILB Davis.
ILB Davis read the play beautifully. He saw the guard pulling and beat the tackle to the hole, but that wasn’t good enough. Davis didn't account for Shady’s cut on a dime ability. McCoy's vision is spectacular here as he sees Davis flowing too fast so he cuts it back for a gain of 12.
Shady started getting in rhythm and it showed on the fifth carry. The ball is on the Bills 19 on 1st down and 10 from the middle of the field. The offense is in 12 personnel with double tight ends aligned to the right side. Shady is also aligned to the right of the QB but motions to the left side. Taylor has a check with me play and he rolls with it. RT Henderson blocks down on the snap as RG Miller pulls. Incognito, who is uncovered, climbs to second level to cut off the backside ILB.
Shady runs an outside zone track and cuts inside of Miller’s block on Pace. McCoy had the option of cutting up inside but, because of Wilkerson's leverage, he continues wide. McCoy turns the Jets on and gets 11 yards on the play.
Check out Richie downfield. That is a player that is playing like an All-Pro!
The sixth carry, which took place in the 1st half with 3:30 left, started at about the 29 yard line of the Bills. It is 2nd and 10 on the right hash. Formation is trips left and Clay is in the in-line TE position to the offense's right. The offense is prepared to run a trap play. The defense counters with Nickel strong, which is just Nickel but with Richardson and Wilkerson at the DE positions. On the snap RT Henderson climbs to second level and RG Miller pulls right to kick out Wilkerson. Center Eric Wood blocks down and LG Incognito trap blocks the strong side DT Williams. Williams was lined up over Miller and as Miller vacates, Willams shoots upfield and that’s where he is trapped by Incognito. Glenn executed a fan block on the weak side. Shady takes the snap and attacks the front side guard. As soon as Richie picks him up, McCoy plants his foot and accelerates into the secondary for a gain of 15.
Look at the hole here. Trap plays are some of the prettiest plays when blocked correctly. Roman and Aaron Kromer need to be given some credit on getting these guys ready the last two weeks. Having Kromer back has put this line in the positions to succeed. This is an example of a complicated run game being executed to a tee on this play.
The seventh and final carry of Shady in the first half was a huge play for the Bills. It’s 3rd and 2 on the right hash at the Jets 48 yd line. The play occurs with 2:02 left and two time outs in their pocket.
The offense is in 11 personnel and in a tight Pistol trips formation to the right. The defense is in their Nickel strong formation. The play was defended well but Shady just shows his talent with a set of jukes to gain the first down. On the snap WR Hogan, who is in the slot, cracks back on DE Wilkerson but is not effective. Clay and RT Henderson pull wide. RG Miller reach blocks and Wood climbs to 2nd level to the playside. LG Richie executes a cut block and LT Glenn blocks the man over him.
The pitch goes to Shady and he runs wide. He is met 4 yards in the backfield by Wilkerson, but McCoy gives him a stiff arm and, as he nears the sideline, he heads up field.
At this point he is about 9 yards from the first down. He makes the slot corner Skrine and LB Davis miss, then makes DE Richardson and Safety Williams miss. The next Jets defender to whiff is LB Harris as he cuts back against the grain again. The final victim is DT Harrison as McCoy is working his way back towards the hash where he is finally brought down by Leonard Williams at the 43.
This led to a total gain of 4 yards and a big first down. That extended Buffalo's drive and with seven seconds left in the half Carpenter kicked a field goal to go into half 12-3.
The Bills came out of half time with a lot of confidence. They started their first drive with a couple passes to Charles Clay. The third play of the second half was McCoy’s 8th carry of the game.
It's 1st and 10 from the Jets 48 with the ball on the right hash. Bills are in 12 personnel with double TEs to the field and two WRs to the boundary and Taylor in the Shotgun. The defense is in a hybrid formation with Pace and Richardson at OLB positions in two point stances.
Offense runs the pin and pull outside zone. On the snap starting from the right of the screen; Charles Clay arc releases to second level and TE Mulligan releases to second level to cut off the backside LB. LT Glenn tries to seal his man, LG Incognito pulls and kicks out the force player DE Richardson. Wood blocks the DT as RG Miller takes on ILB Harris who is run blitzing to take away the cutback lane if a zone read play is executed. RT Henderson and DE Wilkerson are battling.
Shady takes the ball and sweeps to his left and cuts it up inside the kick out block by Richie. Clay and Mulligan do a fantastic job in sealing the alley for Mccoy to gain 8 yards.
The Bills have the ball on the Jets 26th yard line. It is 1st and 10 and the Bills bring in 11 personnel in a trips set to the right. The defense is in a 3-4 variations with Pace and Richardson at OLB. The Bills run a power play left with guards Miller and Incognito pulling. Shady gains nothing on the play.
On Shady’s tenth carry of the game, the offense is in 11 personnel in shotgun with the trips set to the field. Roman calls a trap play to the left but no one picked up the ILB and Shady dances for no gain. The very next play, Karlos Williams goes in and catches a 26 yard TD down the seam.
The Bills went away from the run game the next two drives. But they did muster up a field goal. The Jets’ Brandon Marshall got into the end zone with about 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. The Bills were up 22-10 at this point.
Lesean McCoy’s previous carry was at about the 14 minute mark of the 3rd quarter. His first carry of the fourth quarter was on 1st and 10 from the Bills 19 yard line from the left hash. The offense lines up in 12 personnel with Clay in the slot. Clay motions to the field and stops right outside of Mulligan. The defense is showing a 3-4 hybrid defense. Once the ball is snapped, Taylor hands off to McCoy on the power sweep with RG Miller and RT Henderson pulling wide. The play was strung out by the defense and led to a loss of a yard.
Shady is off the field for the next two plays which were runs to RB Karlos Williams. Williams gained one yard then 12 yards in consecutive carries.
Shady’s next carry came on 3rd and 16 because of a delay of game penalty. The ball is on the Bills 16 yard line from the right hash. Offense is in 11 personnel with a trips formation to the wide side of the field. McCoy is aligned to the strength of the formation or to the right of the QB. The Jets show a hybrid defense resembling a 3-3-5. They bring pressure off of both edges. The offense runs the trap play again. LT Glenn fans out, LG Richie Incognito traps the DT Wilkerson as Wood blocks down to his left. The RG Miller and RT Henderson exchange and fan out as Shady passes by.
Richie doesn't get all of Wilkerson and, as Shady is going through the A gap, Wilkerson gets his hands on Shady. McCoy breaks the tackle and gets 14 yards as Hogan doesn't execute a block on the Safety but the Bills have to punt because they were short of the sticks.
On 2nd and 10 from their own 31 the Bills have the ball on the left hash. The Bills call Shady’s number again. The offense is in 21 personnel and the defense in their 3-4 defense. The Bills try catching the defense off guard by running a draw play but McCoy is caught in the backfield by the safety for a loss of three.
The Bills are leading 22-17 at this point with 2:58 left in the 4th quarter. They are backed up, starting this drive at their 7 yard line from the right hash. The offense is in 12 personnel with double tights aligned to the left and 2 WRs to the boundary. The defense is in a 3-4 hybrid look with Pace and Richardson at OLB. The offense simply runs an inside zone play that gained 3 yards. Sammy Watkins catches an out pattern for 4 yards to extend the drive.
The Bills offense brings in 11 personnel. Trips right with Clay aligned to the left in the in-line TE position. The defense is in a hybrid 4-2-5. The Bills run an inside power play that Shady cuts outside for a gain of 5.
The Bills have the ball on their 19 yard line with 2:43 left in the game. The ball is on the right hash. The offense is in 12 personnel with a trips set to the right. Taylor motions WR Woods to the left side and he stops just outside the TE Clay. At the snap Woods climbs to the second level. Clay does the same and picks up Safety Miles. LT Glenn pins Leonard Williams as LG Incognito pulls left for the kick out block on #91 Richardson. ILB Harris and Wilkerson exchange gaps to stop the zone read if Taylor keeps the ball. This takes away one defender that may have the angle to make the tackle.
Center Eric Wood climbs to the second level to the play side. RG Miller reach blocks to the play side and RT Henderson climbs to the second level looking to cut off backside pursuit.
Shady breaks Wilkerson’s tackle after running seven yards and continues to gain 16 yards before he is tackled by the safety.
The seventeenth carry by McCoy was on 1st and 10 from the Jets 35 yard line on the right hash. The clock is stopped at 2:26 by the Jets’ final timeout. The offense brings in 11 personnel with trips from the shotgun and motion WR woods to the wide left. Shady is aligned to the right of the QB. The defense is in a hybrid 3-4.
Once the ball is snapped, the offensive line zone blocks to the left side. A double team between Glenn and Incognito and another double team by Miller and Henderson.
Henderson tried climbing to the second level to cut off the ILB but doesn't execute it. Shady takes the ball, presses the hole, and runs for eight yards before being tackled by Davis.
On 2nd and 2 from the Bills 43 yard line the Bills come out in the 11 personnel. The ball is on the right hash and the offense has 2 WRS split left of Clay, who is in the in-line TE position, and they send Sammy wide right. The defense is in their 3-4 hybrid defense.
The offense motions the slot WR Woods and stops him on the outside shoulder of Clay. The Bills try to run the pin and pull concept again. They give Shady the ball, he runs wide and cuts it up inside Richie’s kick out block. The play was defended pretty well and McCoy only gained one yard.
The final carry by Shady loses two yards. It was 3rd down and 1 and the clock was running. The ball was spotted on the Bills 44 yard line with 1:46 left. The Bills came out in 11 personnel and trips formation to the right. The defense was in their 3-4 hybrid scheme. The offense motions WR Woods to the left just outside TE Clay. The ball is snapped and they run the pin and pull to the left. The play is again defended really well and the force player, Richardson, forces Shady to cut it up inside where RDE Williams makes the play.
The Bills punted and the QB Ryan Fitzpatrick eventually threw an interception. The Bills went on to win 22-17.
Lesean McCoy not only ran the ball well, but he also caught five balls for 47 yards. He didn't get in the end zone but without him the Bills would have lost this game. The passing game wasn't as productive as it should have been versus a banged up Jets secondary. The playbook was opened a little more this week which was good to see because it utilized the playmakers who are now healthy. Most of all, what I was most impressed with was the power and complexity of the run scheme that Roman and Kromer are teaching. The lineman are responding well to it and they look the most comfortable blocking in the running game. We all know that you must have a run game if you want to win games come playoff time. With this line playing like they are and Shady being as talented as a running back as he is, the Bills may finally have the recipe to make a run into the playoffs.