LeSean McCoy didn't necessarily have a bad performance against the Saints, it's just that the game script didn't allow him to be a focal point of the Bills' offense.
He carried the ball eight times for 49 yards – which included a 36-yard scamper – and 38 of those yards came before contact. He forced one missed tackle running the football against New Orleans.
Through nine games, McCoy has forced 24 missed tackles on 198 touches. Through nine games in 2016, he'd forced 34 missed tackles on 164 touches.
In 2017, McCoy has averaged 1.77 yards before contact per rush, which is actually the third-highest among the 22 running backs who've been given at least 100 carries through Week 11. Good figure, right? Well, not compared to last season, when after his ninth game, McCoy averaged a whopping 2.52 yards before contact per rush, which indicates better blocking up front a season ago. Also, McCoy was making more defenders miss before first contact in 2016 than he has thus far in 2017.
While I don't think McCoy is as elusive now as he was in November 2016, I think the difference is minimal.
In other words, McCoy hasn't seemed to fall off a cliff in that department.
Against the Saints, these were the PFF run-blocking grades for Buffalo's starting offensive line:
- Dion Dawkins (+0.6)
- Richie Incognito (+0.1)
- Eric Wood (+0.1)
- Vlad Ducasse (-0.3)
- Jordan Mills (-0.3)
So far in 2017, Incognito (+2.2) is the only member of the Bills' offensive front with a positive PFF run-blocking grade.
Last year, after nine games, he had a +4.4 run-block grade. Right guard John Miler had a +3.4 grade, Cordy Glenn's grade was +2.0. Wood (-2.1) and Mills had (-3.9) had negative run-block grades.
Clearly, Buffalo's offensive linemen need to do a better job paving lanes better for McCoy down the stretch this season.
In Week 11, the Bills face a Chargers defense currently surrendering 4.7 yards per carry, which is tied for the third-highest average allowed in the NFL.
Stats and grades courtesy of Pro Football Focus.