LeSean McCoy sees the same thing as the rest of us right now.
The Buffalo Bills have a defense that's capable of keeping them in game, and an offense that's incapable of just about anything.
"The hard work that we put in, the hard work I've put in my whole life, my whole career, for it to happen like this every game, it's tough," McCoy said Monday night, after his team's 25-6 loss to the New England Patriots. "You see the defense out there just grinding. So it is frustrating."
That's a word McCoy used over and over again Monday after a game in which he rushed 12 times for 13 yards. Incredibly, McCoy rushed for 12 yards on the Bills' first offensive play, meaning his next 11 carries went for 1 yard.
That's hard to even comprehend, but provides a good indication of just how bad things are on offense at the moment.
"It’s a collective effort. We had some negatives in there. It’s really all 11 out there on the field," offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said when asked how something like 11 carries for 1 yard could even be possible. "Not what we’re looking for."
"You put a lot of work and effort into your craft, your job and the results and outcomes are like the same, so it's frustrating," McCoy said. "I don't know. I didn't play good, so I guess. I thought it would be a better game running-wise. I usually run the ball good on them."
McCoy entered the game having rushed for at least 70 yards in five previous games against the Patriots with the Bills. Although he had 82 receiving yards on six catches, the team's overall offensive effort was, well, offensive.
"I'm disappointed in just not doing well," McCoy said. "Not winning, not putting up numbers that I'm used to. Not winning games – all that stuff."
Both Daboll and coach Sean McDermott said Monday they share in McCoy's frustration about the offense.
"He’s a competitor. I’ve been around LeSean before. We’re competitive, and I appreciate that about him," McDermott said. "I appreciate that he wants to win bad. I understand his frustration from that standpoint in terms of not getting going last night at times. There’s things that all of us can do better. I appreciate the fact that he’s driven to be the best at what he does."
The Bills trailed, 12-6, after three quarters, holding Tom Brady and Co. to four field goals in the first 45 minutes. The game was just begging for someone on offense to make a play for the Bills, but it never happened.
"Hold Aaron Rodgers to one touchdown I think. Tom Brady, kind of the same thing, and then we don't do nothing on offense, so it's not fair for them," McCoy said. "I thing everything is fixable in this sport. It's a matter of, will it get fixed?"
That's a question that nobody in the Bills organization has an answer for. With the 2018 season now halfway gone, the team is running out of time.
"I didn't expect to have no season like this," McCoy said. "I'm not really playing well at all. We're not doing much on offense. In 10 years, I mean, I've had bad games, but the whole flow of the season and everything, it's just bad.
"What I got, 200 yards? And it was what, game eight, nine? That's never happened with me. Yeah, it's different. It's a different season – 30 years old, been playing since I've been in high school, this stuff had never happened, so it is tough."
McCoy is underselling himself, but just by a little. He's rushed 75 times for 257 yards this season, an average of 3.4 yards per carry that is easily the worst of his 10-year career. That led to McCoy being asked if he has started to doubt his ability.
"(Expletive). I still can play," he said. "I know I still can play. The defense knows I still can play. You see the way they approach me when I'm in the game."
With the Bills at 2-6 and the trade deadline arriving Tuesday, there was speculation about whether Monday's game would be McCoy's last with the team. That speculation ended up being just that, however, as McCoy was not moved.
"This is my team," he said after the loss to the Patriots. "They've done a lot for me. Nothing but loyalty to me, so I'm happy here, but it don't matter if I was here or anywhere else. Playing a season like this, you'd be mad. I don't think it's a matter of where I'm at, it's just what's been taking place and how things are going offensively."
By not moving McCoy on Tuesday, the Bills sent the message that they see him being a part of their future, both for the rest of 2018 and the following year.
"He’s important. He’s a good football player," McDermott said. "I’m counting on him to get on track as we move through the second half of the season here. He’s a good football player, you saw him catch some passes last night in the passing game. We just couldn’t get him going in the running game. I look forward to him having a good week of practice to get ready for the Bears."
Stat of the game: 15
That’s how many wins Brady has now in Buffalo. That’s the fourth most of any quarterback, trailing Jim Kelly (66), Joe Ferguson (43) and Drew Bledsoe (18). Keep in mind, those three guys actually played for the Bills. Brady visits Orchard Park once a year. His win Monday broke a tie with Doug Flutie and Tyrod Taylor, both of whom won 14 times at home.
Game ball: Lorenzo Alexander
Alexander could be the choice here just about every week. That’s how good he’s been at age 35. He had two sacks (the Bills’ only two) and a forced fumble Monday.
Quote of the day
“It’s clearly not good enough. I thought the defense came out and played well at times. Offensively, we shot ourselves a little bit in the foot there at times and just couldn’t get it going enough. … We’ve got to continue going back and find answers, find solutions.” – Coach Sean McDermott, on the team’s sputtering offense.
Snap count notes
1. Alexander played 56 defensive snaps. That comes just a week after he was on the field for just 18 defensive snaps. Alexander’s usage fluctuates depending on the defensive game plan, but it’s generally a good idea to get a player with 4.5 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble on the field.
2. LeSean McCoy took a full work load after returning from a concussion in Week 7 that limited him to just two plays. McCoy played 46 offensive snaps (72 percent), with third running back Marcus Murphy getting just one snap.
3. Jordan Phillips appears to be creeping up the depth chart at defensive tackle. He played 34 snaps, compared to 30 for rookie third-round draft pick Harrison Phillips.
4. Rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds played 44 defensive snaps (58 percent), missing his first plays of the season because of a concussion. Edmunds was replaced by Julian Stanford, who took 32 defensive snaps.
5. Rookie receivers Ray-Ray McCloud and Cam Phillips got 11 snaps each. Phillips made his first career catch, for a gain of 9 yards, in the fourth quarter.
The Bills will have a short week to prepare for the Chicago Bears, who are 4-3 after defeating the Jets on Sunday. Here are three things to know about the Bears …
1. Khalil Mack returns to Buffalo – maybe. Mack missed the Bears’ Week 7 win over the New York Jets because of a right ankle injury. Chicago coach Matt Nagy told ESPN “the hope is that he can play against Buffalo, but again, this is a day-by-day, hour-by-hour situation. How bad have things gotten for the Bills’ offense? So bad that a question being raised in Chicago is if the Bears even need Mack for this week. The former University at Buffalo star was the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September, finishing with five sacks, four forced fumbles and a pick-six after coming to Chicago in a trade with Oakland.
2. Mitchell Trubisky is a work in progress. Chicago’s second-year quarterback has dealt with inaccuracy as a result of poor mechanics at times this season. "When your weight's off balance, or your feet aren't right, your stride or your timing's off, it's natural to be a little bit inaccurate,” Nagy told the Chicago Tribune. Trubisky completed just 5-of-13 passes in the first half against the Jets, but rebounded to complete of 11 of 16 in the second half, in addition to running for three first downs. He also took care of the football, not turning it over for just the second time this season.
3. Recent first-round picks Kevin White (2015) and Leonard Floyd (2016) aren’t giving them much. White, a receiver who was the No. 7 overall pick, has just three catches for 70 yards this season. He’s been hurt virtually his entire NFL career, but has played in all seven games this season. Floyd, a linebacker who was the No. 9 overall pick, has 14 tackles this season and has yet to record a sack.