GREEN BAY, Wis. – LeSean McCoy returned Sunday, but it didn’t make a bit of difference for the Buffalo Bills.
It’s now a quarter of the way through the 2018 season, and McCoy has 85 rushing yards. In four games. Yes, he missed one of those games because of injury, but that doesn’t lessen the concern about what’s happened in the other three.
McCoy had 24 yards on just five carries in Sunday’s 22-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, the first time the Bills have been shut out since Dec. 28, 2008.
“That's not what I'm used to, but it's like the way the games have been going since I've been out there,” McCoy said. “Last week, we kind of had more control offensively, but today we were up and down. We just didn't get it done, simple as that.”
Once again, the Bills fell behind big early, trailing 16-0 at halftime. That limited the rushing opportunities in the second half, but McCoy isn’t doing much with the chances he is getting. His average yards per carry so far this season is 4.0 – matching his career low from last year.
“I don't know,” McCoy said when asked why the offense isn’t getting him the ball more. "We were down, I guess, so trying to throw the ball. I'm not sure. I don't know. I know the plan was to get me the ball. We'll figure it out. We'll get it together.”
McCoy missed the Bills’ Week 3 win against Minnesota because of a rib injury. The Bills wasted little time getting him involved early, completing a 7-yard pass on the game’s first play. McCoy then ran for 2 yards on the next play, but Chris Ivory got stuffed on third-and-1 and the offense went three-and -ut. The next offensive possession also went three-and-out on three consecutive incompletions, and the next time the Bills got the ball back, they were trailing.
Bills coach Sean McDermott said McCoy’s usage was not related to his injury. McCoy added three catches for 13 yards, and has just 29 touches in his three games played.
“Not at all, but I can't worry about that,” he said when it was pointed out that’s not a number he’s used to. “All I've got to do is control what I can control. There are plays I'm not making when I am getting the ball, so just got to focus on that.”
McCoy left the locker room with his left hand heavily wrapped, although the team did not have an injury update after the game.
2. Bills receiver Kelvin Benjamin took a huge hit in the third quarter when he collided with Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who ended up with an interception on the play. Benjamin and Clinton-Dix converged on the ball at the same time, with the Packers’ safety getting there a split-second earlier and Benjamin not seeing him. The impact of the hit left Benjamin motionless on the field as Packers athletic trainers initially rushed out because the play happened near the Green Bay sideline. He was able to walk off the field under his own power, then went to the locker room for evaluation of a head injury. He was back on the field in the fourth quarter. Benjamin finished with just one catch for 34 yards. Through four games, he has just seven receptions for 92 yards and one interception.
3. Ryan Lewis made his second straight start at cornerback opposite Tre’Davious White, but did not have the same success that he did against Minnesota in Week 3. Lewis was shaken up in the first half, and when he returned to the lineup, Rodgers started picking on him. The worst play Lewis made Sunday is one he couldn’t finish. He perfectly jumped the route with the Packers going for it on fourth down in the third quarter, but wasn’t able to catch what would have been a pick-six. That type of missed opportunity is an absolute killer.
“I've got to get the ball next time, get the pick,” he said. “It's always frustrating when you have a play like that, but it's a learning experience. I've just got to move on to the next one.”
Lewis said after the game that he had the wind knocked out of him and is fine. With Lewis getting the start, Phillip Gaines was inactive. He was not listed on the final injury report after practicing fully all week, so that looks to be a performance-based decision.
4. Shaq Lawson had a new role in his return to the lineup after missing two games with a hamstring injury. Lawson played exclusively at defensive tackle. Previously, he had kicked inside only on third-down, passing situations.
“It was something new,” Lawson said. “I knew I had an advantage because I was faster than those guys. It's kind of different blocks, but I mean, those guys – Star (Lotulelei) and Kyle (Williams) – helped me all week with it.”
Lawson said he expects to be back at defensive end in the coming weeks.
5. On a day without many, rookie punter Corey Bojorquez provided a bright spot for the Bills. He averaged 41.0 net yards on eight punts, four of which were downed inside the Packers’ 20-yard line. The best of those punts came from the Bills’ end zone in the first half and went 50 yards with no return. It was a reminder of the days when Brian Moorman was the best player on the field for Buffalo.
6. Matt Milano, who the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Minnesota, continued to lose snaps to veteran Ramon Humber. The Bills didn’t announce an injury to Milano, which makes it a coaching decision.
“Just everybody wasn't doing their job,” Milano said. “Didn't come out hot, weren't playing hot in the first half, including myself. Missed some tackles, missed a few plays. It's super frustrating, but nothing you can do about it now. We've just got to get back to it on Monday.”
7. Another week, another incomplete deep ball to Robert Foster. To be fair, the undrafted rookie receiver out of Alabama didn’t have much of a chance to make a play on the ball in the first half, which Allen overthrew by 5 yards into double coverage. Still, it remains a puzzle as to what the Bills see in Foster, who failed to record a catch on two targets Sunday and has just two receptions for 30 yards in four games.
8. For the second consecutive week, tight end Logan Thomas was inactive. That’s another sign he’s fallen down the depth chart at the position. Thomas being inactive meant the Bills felt good about the physical condition of Charles Clay and Jason Croom, both of whom were questionable on the final injury report. Clay is dealing with hip and shoulder issues, while Croom suffered a knee injury during practice.
Clay finished with four catches for a team-leading 40 yards, while Croom had one catch for 13 yards.
“At this point all we can do is continue to work and get better from here,” Clay said. “This one is over. There’s nothing we can do about it now.”
9. Running back Marcus Murphy missed the game with a rib injury. In addition to Gaines and Thomas, the Bills’ other inactive players were all healthy: Defensive tackle Robert Thomas and offensive linemen Ike Boettger, Wyatt Teller and newly signed Jeremiah Sirles.
10. Kicker Stephen Hauschka had a streak of 113 games with at least a point stopped. Hauschka appeared in one play – the kickoff to start the second half.
Story topics: Charles Clay/ Chris Ivory/ Corey Bojorquez/ Ike Boettger/ Jason Croom/ Jeremiah Sirles/ Josh Allen/ Kelvin Benjamin/ LeSean McCoy/ Logan Thomas/ Marcus Murphy/ Matt Milano/ Micah Hyde/ Phillip Gaines/ Ramon Humber/ Robert Foster/ Robert Thomas/ Ryan Lewis/ Wyatt Teller