1. Making a name for himself. The Buffalo Bills have been victimized in recent years by a long line of little-known, backup running backs. The list includes Spencer Ware, Bobby Rainey, Brandon Bolden, Ryan Moats, James White and a slew of others.
It’s about time the Bills returned the favor.
Mike Gillislee showed again why he’s a legitimate NFL talent in sealing Sunday’s 16-6 victory over Dallas with a 50-yard touchdown run around right end.
Just to review: Gillislee was a star at the University of Florida, rushing for 1,104 yards as a senior. He was a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins in 2013. The Bills picked him up off the street on Nov. 4, and all he has done since is rush for 10 yards a carry on 23 attempts.
Gillislee ran a slightly disappointing 4.55 time in the 40-yard dash before the 2013 Draft. He followed up with a 4.57 time at Florida’s pro day. On the other hand, he was fast enough to be a gunner on punt coverage in college.
“I don’t know what happened, if he had to run with a piano on his back or what?” said Bills coach Rex Ryan. “But it was like 4.59 or 4.60 or something like that. And like I say, he’s the fastest slow guy I’ve ever seen.”
Gillislee’s TD was a power run off right tackle, with guard Richie Incognito pulling and blocking linebacker Rolando McClain.
“The offensive line did a great job opening it up, and I had a two-way go,” Gillislee said. “I knew if I got to the sideline that I could pretty much take it to the house.”
“We ran a power play,” Incognito said. “We’ve been working on collapsing the end and me getting around the edge. I got 55. I threw him into someone else, and we hooked him. … Mike made the rest happen.”
Receiver Chris Hogan blocked cornerback Brandon Carr into safety Byron Jones.
“Just by the way the corner started to react, I knew Mike was coming my way,” Hogan said. “This group of receivers we have, blocking is a big part of our game. We want to be the most physical group out there.”
2. Great escape. Tyrod Taylor made three Dallas defensive linemen whiff on the second biggest play of the game. Clinging to a 9-6 lead with 5:35 left, the Bills faced a third-and-6 play from their own 12. Dallas defensive end Randy Gregory bull-rushed Cordy Glenn back into Taylor’s face, and the Bills’ QB ducked away to his left. Then Greg Hardy had him in his sights, but Taylor darted away to the right. Then he slipped the grasp of defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford and raced to the right sideline for a 7-yard gain and a first down. Drive alive.
“That’s Tyrod being Tyrod, that’s what makes him special,” said Incognito.
3. Swing to Gillislee. A 14-yard swing pass to Gillislee went to the Dallas 1 and set up the Bills’ first touchdown. McClain had Gillislee lined up, but the Bills’ back cut past him.
4. Mr. Inside. Kellen Moore’s lack of arm strength limits how much passing he can do outside the numbers. Moore had better be close to perfect on slants and crosses. He made a big mistake on a third-quarter slant pass that ruined a scoring chance late in the third quarter.
Moore’s throw for Brice Butler was low and outside on a first-down call from the Buffalo 26. Butler managed to get a hand on it but was hit by Leodis McKelvin. The ball popped into the air and into the arms of linebacker AJ Tarpley, who returned it 37 yards to the Dallas 46.
5. Karlos off tackle. Bills rookie back Karlos Williams ran 26 yards off right tackle to get the Bills moving on their first TD drive.
6. Tyrod taketh. Taylor made a good escape in the pocket late in the second quarter to elude Lawrence, who broke free up the middle, past center Eric Wood. Then Taylor threw against his body on the run to his left to Watkins for a 38-yard gain.
7. Tyrod giveth away. Two plays after the pass to Watkins, Taylor wasn’t careful enough on a back-shoulder fade for Hogan from the Dallas 5. Dallas’ Deji Olatoye was squatting on it and easily picked it off.
8. Williams fumble. Three plays after the Tarpley interception, Karlos Williams gave the ball back to Dallas when he fumbled at the end of a 20-yard reception at the Dallas 19.
9. Slant and go. Bills safety Bacarri Rambo was flat-footed in coverage on a 34-yard slant to Butler that set up a second-quarter field goal.
10. FG short. Dan Bailey was short on a 50-yard field-goal try in the first quarter. He has just two misses in 32 attempts this season.