MINNEAPOLIS – Chris Ivory learned he would start in place of LeSean McCoy late in the week, he said in the locker room after the Buffalo Bills’ stunning 27-6 victory against the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The veteran running back ended up leading the team in rushing and receiving yards, finishing with 126 total yards from scrimmage on 23 touches.
“I didn’t prove nothing to myself. I know what I can do,” Ivory said. “The coaches know what I can do. It’s just about getting the opportunity and getting out there and being able to contribute.
As it is, when my number is called, I’ll go out and perform and try to perform at a high level.”
Ivory rushed for 56 yards on 20 carries, an average of 2.8 yards per touch, and had three catches for 70 receiving yards. That included the Bills’ longest play of the day, when he corralled a short pass from Josh Allen and galloped 55 yards into the red zone to end the first quarter.
Ivory, who was tackled at the 6-yard line, thought he’d score on the play after glancing up at the video board and seeing himself surrounded by green.
“Yeah, I did,” Ivory said. “I really didn’t see those two guys (who tackled me) until probably 20 yards down. I was looking at the screen making sure I wasn’t getting caught from behind.”
Ivory, in his ninth season in the NFL and first in Buffalo, drew the start after McCoy was ruled inactive because of cracked rib cartilage suffered in a Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
McCoy has 61 yards on 16 carries through two games.
“Chris is a very physical runner,” coach Sean McDermott said. “He’s a guy we have a lot of confidence in. I’m extremely proud of Chris. He understands his role on this football team and did a phenomenal job today.”
Allen rushed for 39 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries and Marcus Murphy added 33 yards on eight carries.
The Bills combined to rush for 128 yards on 38 touches and used the clock in the second half, when Allen attempted just three passes.
“That’s a really good Vikings defense,” Allen said. “It just solidifies the trust that I have in my teammates and trust in what’s called, just trying to execute without Shady in the backfield today. Chris and Murph, they ran hard to execute plays like that and our front five did a great job.”