Same old Shady: Bills lean on McCoy in 21-12 win over Jets
By JOHN WAWROW, AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — LeSean McCoy is off and running. And catching, too.
Once again proving age has no limitations, the Buffalo Bills’ 29-year-old running back combined for 159 yards from scrimmage in a 21-12 win over the New York Jets on Sunday. He became the sixth active player to surpass 12,000 career yards from scrimmage, while his 110 yards rushing upped his career total to 9,108.
And McCoy suggested this is just the beginning after adding five catches for 49 yards. The 27 touches of the ball were two short of his season high from last year.
“I want to be challenged. I want the ball,” he said. “Just got to keep pushing, man. Get more wins. With wins, numbers come with it. And that’s the mindset. Just trying to lead this team in the right direction.”
The only thing missing was McCoy finding the end zone, snapping his home scoring streak at six games — one short of matching the franchise record set by O.J. Simpson. A numb right hand played a factor, forcing McCoy to the sideline early in the fourth quarter before he was cleared to return.
“It hurt for a little bit. I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t squeeze it,” said McCoy, who was hurt while being tackled on a 3-yard run and a yard short of the goal line. “You don’t want to play a game being numb. Besides, we’ve got a 260-pound back. Let him get the touchdown.”
McCoy was referring to Mike Tolbert, who scored on the next play to cap the scoring.
The Bills got off to a winning start in coach Sean McDermott’s debut by leaning on a ground game that has led the NFL in yards rushing. And they combined for 190 yards rushing against a Jets defense that was the NFL’s fourth-best against the run last season.
What truly frustrated the Jets was they prepared for the Bills to run the ball, and still couldn’t stop him.
“We talked about it all week, about setting the edge and about (McCoy) cutting back. And we pretty much hurt ourselves,” Wilkerson said. “I don’t think we were too overhyped. Credit to them. They made plays and we just didn’t make enough.”
The Jets also couldn’t get their running game in gear with Bilal Powell and Matt Forte combining for 38 yards rushing.
Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor showed no lingering signs of a concussion that sidelined him for two weeks by throwing two touchdowns. The Bills never trailed after opening the scoring on Taylor’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Charles Clay 3 1/2 minutes into the second quarter.
BILLS LEAD THE EAST
Beating their AFC East rival leaves Buffalo leading the division, albeit one game into season, after the New England Patriots lost on Thursday, and the Miami Dolphins’ opener was postponed due to Hurricane Irma. That’s an accomplishment for a Bills team that in the midst of a 17-season playoff drought — the NFL’s longest active streak — and coming off an offseason overhaul that included McDermott replacing Rex Ryan, who was fired in the final week of last season.
LOSS FOR MCCOWN
Jets 38-year-old starter Josh McCown was 26 of 39 for 187 yards with three interceptions, including getting picked off by linebacker Ramon Humber to foil a 2-point conversion. McCown also scored on a 1-yard run.
The loss extended McCown’s losing streak to eight games. The skid dates to Oct. 11, 2015, when he led Cleveland to a 33-30 win over Baltimore. McCown is 1-17 in his last 18 starts.
NEW HANDS CATCH ON
Jets receiver Jermaine Kearse had a team-best seven catches for 59 yards in his New York debut. Kearse was acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in a trade along with a 2018 second-round draft pick for defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson on Sept. 1. Tight end Will Tye, another newcomer, had three catches for 34 yards.
McCown looks forward to seeing how much more chemistry he can develop with the two after having a limited amount of practice this week.
“Hopefully that’s just the baseline of where we can go,” McCown said.
THREE AND OUT
The Jets struggled in converting just four of 14 third-down opportunities, which contributed to them managing just four first downs in the first half, and 11 overall.
“It’s pretty obvious we’ve got to go back in the film room and correct a lot of things,” Forte said.
Buffalo’s two offseason free agent safety additions each had an interception. Jordan Poyer wrestled the ball out of the hands Robby Anderson at the Bills 23 midway through the fourth quarter. Micah Hyde sealed the win by intercepting McCown with 1:35 left.
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