MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – It was déjà vu for the Buffalo Bills and LeSean McCoy on Sunday.
Last year in Miami, McCoy aggravated a hamstring injury during a Buffalo victory. He did the same thing Sunday, but this time it came in a 28-25 loss to the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.
McCoy ran just eight times for 11 yards before going out in the third quarter.
“I tried to take off … and it just didn’t feel right,” he said. “I felt a little pain and I did what I had to do, so I came out. It was the smart thing to do. I didn’t reinjure anything or make it worse. That was the best thing. I just kind of felt it and it was kind of like a warning mentally.”
McCoy came into the game second in the NFL in rushing yards, but could find no such success behind an offensive line that was overwhelmed.
“I played lousy,” McCoy said. “I’m not that good to miss a whole week of practice and just play in the game and be successful. It’s one of the things I have to get better at. It’s the competitive nature in me. I want to be out there with my teammates and win a game, and do everything in my ability to help us out on offense.”
McCoy reiterated his belief that his current injury is not as significant as the one he suffered last year.
“It’s not one of those major issues like last year when I was in deep, deep pain,” he said. “This is something that just takes time. I think a full week of practicing and taking my steps and it should be fine. We’ll see what happens.”
Bills coach Rex Ryan said he was of the belief that McCoy was 100 percent going into the game.
“I passed all my tests,” McCoy said. “The strength in my hamstring, the pain, I did everything … so he is right. The last step was just the warm-ups to see how it felt. I felt amazing. I was running and cutting and it felt good.”
The Bills struggled to 67 yards rushing against a defense that ranked 31st in the league against the run coming into the game.
“I put a lot of it on myself,” McCoy said. “I didn’t play well today.”
In addition to McCoy, safety Aaron Williams and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin were injured during the game. Williams suffered a head and neck injury in the second quarter on a vicious crack-back block by Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry, while Goodwin was evaluated for a possible concussion after his head slammed off the turf in the fourth quarter.
Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus missed his third straight game because of a hamstring injury, while receiver Robert Woods was out due to a foot injury.
“It’s not an ideal situation, but we have no excuses,” Ryan said. “We played poorly, they played really well and they deserved to win. It will be nice to get those guys back – hopefully next week we’ll have them back – but whoever’s out there has got to do a great job. We have to play much better than we did today.”
Rookie outside linebacker Shaq Lawson made his NFL debut against the Dolphins, finishing with one tackle.
“It was great to be out there,” Lawson said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game.”
Lawson’s tackle was just a few feet from being his first career NFL sack.
“I thought I had him,” Lawson said. “It’s going to come. Just be patient. I was kind of anxious at first, so I just had to settle down. I was just trying to stay focused and stay calm.”
Lawson said he pushed himself hard during practice last week to try and get close to “football shape.”
“I felt great physically,” he said.
The Bills used Lawson in their “speed” package as a third-down pass rusher.
“That was really it – let him get his feet wet,” Ryan said. “I really couldn’t tell you how he played.”
The Bills made kicker Dan Carpenter, wide receiver Justin Hunter, running back Mike Gillislee, guard Richie Incognito, tight end Charles Clay and guard John Miller captains.
All but Miller used to play for the Dolphins. Miller, meanwhile, is a Miami native. His homecoming was special in that it marked the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death.
The Dolphins are also loaded with former Bills, with defensive end Mario Williams being the most prominent. Williams finished with two tackles for loss.
Tight end MarQueis Gray started for Miami, but did not register any statistics. Offensive linemen Kraig Urbik and Sam Young also came into the game as reserves.