The Buffalo Bills are second in the AFC East with a 5-4 record. Starting quarterback Josh Allen has been inconsistent this season, throwing nine interceptions, tied for the most in the NFL.
Buffalo is 1-3 when Josh Allen has more than 40 pass attempts, 3-1 when he has between 30 and 39, and 1-0 when he has under 30. They are 3-0 when he completes over 75% of his passes and 2-4 when he doesn’t.
What is the solution to the Bills offense? The answer is the running game. Their secret weapon is James Cook.
The Buffalo Bills drafted Cook in 2022.
The Buffalo Bills drafted James Cook in the 2nd round, 63rd overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, the third running back taken.
James served as the backup in 2022.
Cook was the number-two running back behind Devin Singletary in his rookie season. Cook had 507 rushing yards on 89 carries and two rushing touchdowns. He also had 21 receptions for 180 yards and one receiving touchdown, representing 25% of offensive snaps. He also had 52 rushing yards on 17 carries and one rushing touchdown in two games during the playoffs.
Buffalo let the starting back walk, and the team signed a few veterans.
Buffalo signed Damien Harris to a 1-year, $1.77 million contract as the second-string back. They also signed Latavius Murray to a 1-year,$1,317,500 to serve as the emergency back. They signed Murray after Nyheim Hines suffered a season-ending torn ACL in a jet ski crash.
A Damien Harris update?
Damien Harris suffered a devastating head/neck injury during the second quarter in Week 6 against the New York Giants. Harris was motionless for several minutes on the turf while the medical staff ran to take care of him. He was taken off the field by an ambulance and brought to a local hospital.
Damien Harris is going to be OK and is on his way to recovery. It is unclear whether he will play this season.
How has Cook done so far?
Cook has 506 rushing yards on 108 carries and one rushing touchdown. He also has 22 receptions for 211 yards and one receiving touchdown. He is representing 56% of offensive snaps.
The Buffalo Bills have won all five games in which they have rushed for more than 100 yards, and lost all four games in which they rushed for less than 100 yards.
What’s the offense plan that should be moving forward?
The Bills should run the ball more, moving forward with James Cook as the feature back. Consistently running the ball should put less weight on Josh Allen’s shoulders. The team cannot afford for Allen to get injured. Allen dealt with an elbow injury all season last year.
Hopefully, James Cook will break out during the second half of the 2023 season. The Bills should make that happen.
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