Running game wakes up, plays major role in win over Jets

Sports

Buffalo Bills’ Matt Breida, center, scores a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s no secret the Bills haven’t run the ball well in recent weeks. Coming into Sunday’s matchup with the Jets, not counting Josh Allen runs, the Bills had 125 yards rushing… in the previous three games combined.

Sunday was a much different story. The running game worked wonders. Five different players, not including quarterbacks, rushed for 139 yards and four touchdowns. It helped open up the rest of the offense as well.

“It’s good for all of us,” head coach Sean McDermott said. “It’s good for the entire football team and it was fun to watch. It really was. The running backs making plays, offensive line helping us make plays in the running game and then getting the ball up in the air a couple of times to some really good receivers and then hitting the tight ends.”

After the offensive line was hammered for its poor play in Week 9 against Jacksonville, their performance helped get the running game going, which in turn helped the rest of the guys on that side of the ball.

“You definitely want to take that step in the right direction,” center Mitch Morse said. “I think there were still some yards we left on the field but it’s a great way to progress and learn from our mistakes today in the run game. It was a great opportunity to mix it up a little bit and hopefully we can continue to run effectively so that they can have some confidence and us being able to accumulate some yards and put us in some optimal positions instead of some second and longs or third and longs.”

“Rushing touchdowns, the running backs love it, but not only that, the O-lineman love that,” quarterback Josh Allen said. “That’s a stat that they can take pride in. When we get that going, teams just have to focus on a multitude of things and I think we were pretty balanced today in our attack, whether it be rushing or passing, I think we did a good job with that.”

Matt Breida led all rushers with 43 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for a total of 22 yards and a TD. It was the most he’d seen the field in the regular season. He wasn’t worried about his lack of playing time, but more worried about making the most of his opportunity.

“We are not worried about touchdowns or stats or anything like that, we are worried about winning and then we have guys like Josh [Allen] leading like that every day, it makes it easy to come in to work,” Breida said. “Of course you want to be up every week but at the end of the day you got to do what’s best for the team.”

Breida’s performance was noticed by everyone.

“He gave us a spark, I felt,” McDermott said. “I thought the receivers from what I could tell blocked well, too, on the perimeter. Some of those perimeter runs that we had spread throughout the backs. That takes wide receivers blocking which to me is a very unselfish trait and that’ll go along way for our team and getting Matt in some of those runs and giving us a spark like he did.”

Zack Moss, Devin Singletary, Isaiah McKenzie and Breida all had touchdowns. This was their third best rushing performance in terms of yards. It’s also the most rushing touchdowns the Bills have scored in a game this season.

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