The Buffalo Bills opened the season with a resounding win against an Indianapolis Colts team that many media members had as Super Bowl contenders. It was a great win for the Bills as they affirmed the offseason hype by controlling the Colts with a stifling defense, a strong running game, and a solid game by new quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Though much of the talk will revolve around Taylor’s poise and the defense’s dominance, the emergence of a complimentary running mate with LeSean McCoy could be perhaps the most important revelation with this game.
McCoy is assuredly the bell cow back that will get the lion’s share of carries, but having rookie Karlos Williams as a secondary rusher that offers skills McCoy does not fully have could make this offense more lethal as the season progresses.
Week one was a solid debut for McCoy as he showed his versatility as not only a rusher (41 yards on 17 carries), but also as a pass catcher (46 yards on 3 catches). He displayed some initial burst and an innate ability to jump within traffic to gain additional yards. As the offensive line gels with McCoy’s running style those stats are sure to increase.
For Williams, he emerged as a perfect smash back to McCoy’s dash. It may seem overly simplistic, but the reality is that Williams showed that he can provide a bruising running style to compliment McCoy’s nimbleness. Williams carried the ball six times for 55 yards and a touchdown, but its where and how he made those yards that makes it noteworthy. He ran with purpose within traffic, was able to keep his pad level even while bull rushing through defenders, and always kept his legs churning.
Beyond the differing running style, there is also contrast between the two on their preferred rushing lanes.
For McCoy, he enjoys attacking the edges of the defense where he can use his speed to beat defenders and get into the open field. Of his 17 carries seven were along the tackle and end, whereas Williams had five of his six carries within the interior of the line.
Both players still have to improve if they are to charge this Bills rushing attack to the top of the league, but after last Sunday’s performance they are both setting themselves up to become the pulse of the offense.