The Buffalo Bills look like they are finally catching a break.
After going through an off-season that saw injuries to star receiver Sammy Watkins and top draft picks Reggie Ragland and Shaq Lawson, the Bills have finally found their groove winning their fourth game in a row after routing the struggling San Francisco 49ers 45-16 and improving their record to 4-2. This marks the first time that Buffalo has won four in a row since 2008.
Running back LeSean McCoy field day against the 49ers, finishing the game with 140 yards on 19 carries with three touchdowns. More than a hundred of his rushing yards came during the first half. McCoy’s three rushing touchdowns are the most scored by a Bills player in a single game since Willis McGahee scored four in 2004 in a game against the Seattle Seahawks.
It might seem all fine for the Bills moving forward, but their win did not come without a scare. LeSean McCoy was hurt in the second quarter after taking a hit from 49ers linebacker Nick Delmore. The star running back was seen holding his right knee afterwards while some of his teammates were kneeling around him. The fans at New Era Field — who greeted 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick with a chorus of boos and taunts after making his debut as a starter — almost went silent.
Trainers were huddling over McCoy on the ground for several moments and it appeared that the running back’s health was in jeopardy. Bills fans breathed a collective sigh of relief after McCoy got up and slowly made his way to the sideline. His steps gradually became brisker, and within minutes, he was seen jogging around the sideline, interacting with his teammates, and getting ready to get back in the game.
While McCoy’s numbers were pretty impressive, the outcome was somewhat expected as they were facing a 49ers team that had the second worst ranked rushing defense in the league, allowing an average of 146 rushing yards per game. The 49ers gave up more than twice that average after the Bills trampled them for a total of 312 rushing yards on Sunday.
This marks the most rushing yards totaled by the Bills in a game since Nov. 11, 1992, when they rushed for 315 yards against the Atlanta Falcons.
If the Bills win next week in Miami, then that could mean the top spot in the AFC East will be on the line when they host the New England Patriots next week.
Colin Kaepernick, who made his debut for this year as a starter, threw for 187 yards and one touchdown. He also had 66 rushing yards in the lost on Sunday. Kaepernick’s highlight of the game was a 53-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Torrey Smith, which also happened to be the only touchdown that San Francisco scored for the game.
Third down conversions continue to be one of the major holes in the 49ers’ offense as they only managed to convert three of 13, compared to the Bills who converted eight of 13. Kaepernick would also note that the 49ers offense should not settle for field goals and should find ways to score touchdowns.
“We have to go in and correct things, make sure everyone is on the same page”, Kaepernick said. “We can’t make the mistakes that we’ve been making. We can’t hurt ourselves in situations and when there’s opportunities to make plays, we have to make those.”
With the loss to the Bills on Sunday, the 49ers dropped their 5th game in a row and now have a 1-5 record.
49ers head coach Chip Kelly did not confirm whether or not Kaepernick would start in week 7 against Tampa Bay. “We’ll see,” was his only response when asked about the matter. Kaepernick, on the other hand, is hopeful that his play on Sunday will be enough to warrant him another start for their next game.
“That’s not for me to say,” said Kaepernick. “I went out and played as hard as I could, gave this team everything that I had, and I’ll continue to do that every week they let me.”
[Featured Image by Michael Addamucci/Getty Images]