If you thought the Bills' rushing performance in Carolina was one of the worst you'd seen in years, you were right. The Bills had 69 yards rushing against the Panthers, which doesn't look especially bad on the surface. But keep in mind that Tyrod Taylor accounted for 55 of those yards on scrambles and designed runs.
The running backs had 14 yards on 15 carries. LeSean McCoy carried it 12 times for 9 yards. Mike Tolbert had 5 yards on 3 rushes. That's 15 carries for 14 yards by the team's two "tailbacks." I hesitate to call Tolbert a tailback because he's a fullback by trade and masquerading as a tailback in Buffalo.
I checked back and found that it was the third-worst performance by the Bills' running backs since the start of the playoff drought in 2000. The only rushing performances that were worse by the backs: They had 7 yards in a 35-7 loss to the Patriots in 2005. Shaud Williams (ah, memories) had 4 yards and Willis McGahee 3 that day.
And in that crushing loss in Oakland that knocked them out of the playoff race in 2014, the Bills' RBs gained just 13 yards rushing. That day, Fred Jackson had 10 yards rushing, Anthony Dixon 7 and C.J. Spiller minus-4.
You could dismiss it as a one-week anomaly. After all, the Bills led the NFL in rushing yards and average per rush in both 2015 and '16. But I see troubles ahead for the rushing game. I think the days of the Bills leading the league are over. As long as they can't stretch the field with their receivers, the Bills will face more defenses that put eight men in the defensive box to stop McCoy and dare Tyrod Taylor to beat them down the field.
It doesn't help that the Bills have a fullback serving as their top backup. There's no way they'll get the kind of production they did from Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee.