LeSean McCoy knows, had he been healthy, he could have done something to help make a difference in the Buffalo Bills' Oct. 23 loss against the Miami Dolphins.
Think about all of those big rushing performances McCoy has had on the way to 1,129 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Certainly, if his body had cooperated, there was one in him that day at Hard Rock Stadium. Certainly, Jay Ajayi shouldn't have been the only back dominating under the South Florida sun.
But after trying unsuccessfully to push himself through the first half with a sore hamstring that limited him to 11 yards on eight carries, McCoy was left to watch most of the final two quarters as the Dolphins rallied from an 11-point deficit to a 28-25 victory. All he could do was shake his head while Ajayi repeatedly shook off tacklers on the way to 214 yards and a touchdown.
"Yeah, it was tough," McCoy told reporters the other day. "That was a game that we actually had, we let that game slip away."
He envisions an entirely new script playing out when the Bills face the Dolphins in Saturday's AFC East rematch at New Era Field. McCoy is feeling healthy, despite showing up on the injury report last Wednesday with a sore knee.
He has been, by far, healthier than he was throughout last season and the best player on the 7-7 Bills. Unlike a year ago, when he felt he wasn't deserving of his Pro Bowl selection, McCoy is relishing the chance to again represent the Bills on the AFC squad. But first things first.
He wants to do all he can to allow the Bills to make amends for what happened at Miami two months ago.
"We’re definitely going to pay them back because I didn’t really get the chance to play, I’m not going to lie, due to injuries," McCoy said. "So now I’m healthy. I can’t wait to get out there and play.
"Since I’ve been here, we’ve had good success against Miami. This year, they got us. I didn’t play the first game against them, really, so I can’t wait to get out there and perform."
The Dolphins, despite the massive investment in 2015 free-agent tackle Ndamukong Suh, rank 30th in the NFL against the run. And McCoy has been one of the hottest backs in the league. He had his best game with the Bills with 153 yards in last Sunday's 33-13 victory against the Cleveland Browns. Two weeks earlier, he ran for 130 yards at Oakland.
McCoy's 5.74 yards-per-carry average leads all backs in the league with at least 100 carries, and he's fifth in total yards. Counting his 333 receiving yards, he's averaging 112.5 yards per game from scrimmage, which also ranks fifth in the NFL.
McCoy is quick to share the credit for his strong season. First, he points to his offensive line, which despite repeatedly undergoing injury-related shuffling has performed well enough to allow the Bills to lead the league in rushing.
"They’re really playing well, giving me some opportunities, a lot of one-on-one opportunities," McCoy said.
He also believes he has benefitted greatly from the early season switch at offensive coordinator from Greg Roman to former running backs coach Anthony Lynn.
"I think Coach Lynn, his play-calling since he took over has been a lot different," McCoy said. "I think that, when you first think of me, you think of the guy that wants to go outside, but he kind of knows how I play. I’d rather get in the middle and dance a little bit and then try to get a run. It’s this offense (now). I think it fits me."
Then there's the Tyrod Taylor factor. Taylor's constant threat to take off for long gains does plenty to create space around the line.
"A quarterback that can scramble, that can run, helps out," McCoy said. "Those defensive guys have to take that into account."
The Dolphins' defense figures to be doing exactly that Saturday. McCoy figures he'll be thriving in ways his body wouldn't allow on Oct. 23.