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Tim Graham: With a jump cut and a dash, LeSean McCoy propels Bills through Jaguars

Paul Posluszny was two steps behind but probably couldn't see him through the exhaust fumes.

LeSean McCoy was gone.

On the first play out of halftime, the Buffalo Bills were on their own 25-yard line. Tyrod Taylor took the snap out of a pistol formation, pivoted to his left and tucked the ball between McCoy's forearms.

McCoy locked his left hand, surgically repaired thumb and all, around the point of the nestled ball and shifted to his right before making a no-look jump cut through the line.

Jacksonville Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson and cornerback Jalen Ramsey were there but Keystone-Copped into each other when McCoy made his whiplash juke.

Whoosh ... There McCoy went.

At around Buffalo's 35-yard line, he switched the ball into his right hand, carrying the ball like a loaf of bread for a bit. He said that's when he knew he was going 75 yards for a touchdown.

Posluszny and safety strong safety Jonathan Cyprien gasped in the vapor trail.

McCoy was scintillating in Sunday's 28-21 victory over the Jaguars at New Era Field. For almost 30 minutes the Bills' offense looked incompetent. Then McCoy turned the game around.

The Jaguars put an extra defender near the line and dared Taylor to beat them with his arm. Taylor was erratic early, while the Jaguars snuffed McCoy for minus-2 yards on his first seven runs.

Then McCoy struck with touchdowns on back-to-back carries. He crossed the goal line 20 seconds before halftime and tore 75 yards through Jacksonville's defense 13 seconds after halftime.

McCoy was comfortable enough on his long run to sneak a peek at the video scoreboard to see how close Posluszny and Cyprien were.

"You see, first half he had what? A couple yards?" Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith moped. "One run makes it seem like he had a great game."

Well, yes.

With respect to backup Mike Gillislee, sidelined by a bum hamstring, without McCoy the Bills probably don't win. In the second half, he ran for 98 yards and made a monumental 25-yard catch on Buffalo's winning touchdown drive.

McCoy closed out the game when, with about a minute to play and Buffalo facing a third-and-7 from Jacksonville's 45-yard line, he ran 9 yards.

Since the average schmo never will feel the exhilaration of being chased 75 yards into an NFL end zone, I asked McCoy how he would describe it.

He recalled the 2004 Nike television commercial "The Michael Vick Experience," an amusement-park ride where shoulder restraints dangled an unwitting teen from a jib that slid, spun and thrust him through a defense before flipping him over one final defender into the end zone.

"It's like a roller coaster," McCoy said. "You just hear the crowd yelling. You feel the guy. Then you look up on the screen and see 'I got him beat.' Then it's a touchdown."

The play was the longest from scrimmage of McCoy's career. His previous long gains were a 66-yard rush as a rookie in 2009 and a 70-yard catch and run in 2013.

McCoy has three multiple TD games, the first Bill to do that in a season since Willis McGahee in 2004.


Old friend Doug Marrone was looking good for a quarter. Chris Ivory ran nine times for 44 yards and a touchdown, quarterback Blake Bortles ran three times for 38 yards, and the Jaguars had a 7-0 lead.

But Marrone, the Jaguars' offensive line coach, didn't look as smart when Ivory left the game with a hamstring injury. After the first quarter, Jaguars running backs had 18 attempts for 52 yards, an average of 2.9 yards.

T.J. Yeldon's bad ankle took him 13 yards on five carries. Third-string running back Denard Robinson, the former Michigan quarterback, ran 13 times for 39 yards.

Even so, Jacksonville amassed 183 rushing yards. Bortles was the leading rusher. He went eight times for a career-high 81 yards. The Bills sacked Bortles twice.


Taylor ran six times for 39 yards and a touchdown before a victory-formation kneeldown took away a yard and hurt his average.

Taylor became the third Bills quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards, although he got there in 25 games. Unless Taylor gets hurt, he should finish the year as Buffalo's all-time leader is QB rushing.

Joe Ferguson ran 1,174 yards in his 164 Bills games. Jim Kelly ran for 1,049 yards in 160 games.

"The game has definitely changed," Taylor said. "Every quarterback, 32 quarterbacks, play it differently.

"I'm going to do what I've been doing. It's gotten me to this point. I'm going to just continue to keep building and growing my game from that."

Among the 26 players who've rushed for 1,000 yards in club history, Taylor ranks first at 5.8 yards a carry and 13th at 40.3 yards a game.

Among all NFL quarterbacks to rush for 1,000 yards, Taylor, including his time with the Baltimore Ravens, ranks 10h all-time at 5.7 yards a carry.

Thoughts and prayers

But how many hits can Taylor take?

In addition to the contact Taylor absorbed on scrambles, he was sacked five times. That's tied for the second-most abuse he's taken in his career. The Seattle Seahawks notched five sacks on him just two games earlier.

Taylor has been sacked 30 times, six fewer than last year. He's on pace for 44 sacks. That would be fifth-worst in Bills history, and this team had Drew Bledsoe and Rob Johnson.

Above average

With five games to play, Buffalo has 20 rushing touchdowns for the seventh time and the first time since 1990. The total ranks fourth in club history.

The Bills never have scored more than 20 rushing touchdowns since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. Their best three seasons happened in just 14 games: 26 TDs in 1975, 25 TDs in 1964 and 21 TDs in 1963.

Thanks, Obama

Marcell Dareus recorded his first multi-sack game in two years. But he couldn't finish the game because of "some abdominal issue," Bills coach Rex Ryan said.

"I think it's a strain of some kind," Ryan said. "But we'll know more as the week goes on."

Dareus already has missed four games for a drug suspension, three games with a hamstring injury and one game with a groin injury.

Big if true

Some quirky stats:

  • Sunday was the 13th game in Bills history without a turnover from either team, and three of those have happened this year.
  • It was the 18th game in Bills history without a field-goal attempt from either team, but the first time in 10 years.
  • Jacksonville drove 75 yards on 11 plays to score its first opening-drive touchdown in 25 games.

We good here?

The Bills have won two straight, but they didn't get much help elsewhere. They still might need to win out to claim one of the AFC's two wild-card spot. Maybe they can afford one more loss.

Next up? They must visit the Oakland Raiders, who have been playing like bastards lately.

After that, the Bills play three straight at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins before traveling to the New York Jets in the regular-season finale.

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