Bills hoping 1-2 punch of McCoy, Williams can drive team forward
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Karlos Williams can't imagine anyone in the NFL having a more ideal backup role than the one he has in Buffalo playing behind LeSean McCoy.
"I'm just blessed to be able to have him go out there and tear them up and loosen up their ankles," the Bills rookie running back said referring to McCoy on Thursday. "And for me to be able to pound the ball down their throats is definitely amazing."
After both were slowed by injuries in the first seven weeks of the season, the combination of McCoy's razzle-dazzle and Williams' mow-them-down styles is finally providing the Bills offense the "ground-and-pound" running attack coach Rex Ryan first envisioned when he took over in January.
Over the past two weeks, McCoy and Williams have combined for 378 yards rushing and four touchdowns — including one receiving — in helping Buffalo (5-4) win consecutive games for the first time this season.
And it's a one-two punch that has allowed Williams to score a touchdown in each of his first six career games to match the NFL record set by New England's Robert Edwards in 1998. He will have a shot to break the record against the Patriots (9-0) in an AFC East showdown on Monday night.
"I try not to worry about it," said Williams, who has five touchdowns rushing and two receiving in between missing three games because of a concussion. "I'll be blessed that it keeps happening. But if it doesn't, then that's fine. I just want to go out there and get a win."
As for McCoy, who was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia in February, he is finally beginning to find his groove after opening the season hampered by a strained left hamstring he first hurt in training camp. McCoy has had 112 yards rushing in each of his past two games in helping the Bills rushing totals jump from 11th in the NFL to second entering this week.
"Just feeling good again, feeling quick," said McCoy, who took two weeks off last month to rest the injury. "I feel like myself."
The NFL's 2013 leading rusher is looking like it, too.
After managing just six runs of 10 yards or more in his first three games of the season, McCoy had six alone in a 22-17 win against the New York Jets and the NFL's top-ranked run defense on Nov. 12.
Williams has continued to produce in a complementary role.
Limited to just eight touches against the Jets, Williams scored on a 26-yard catch in which he sneaked out of the backfield, and was wide open cutting into the middle when quarterback Tyrod Taylor hit him in stride.
Unlike McCoy, who was a proven commodity, Williams production is something few could have envisioned in April when the Bills drafted him in the fifth round. He was regarded as a project, and someone who could initially fill a special teams role after spending his first two seasons at Florida State playing safety before making the switch to running back.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, Williams has instead become a revelation with a physical, straight-ahead running style that began raising eyebrows and expectations in training camp.
Williams' emergence led to the Bills decision to release respected veteran leader Fred Jackson in what was regarded as a surprise move in late August.
"We knew he had the size, the measurables and all that, but did we realize what we had?" Ryan said. "If we knew he was going to be this good, we would've taken him higher than the fifth round."
Selected 155th overall, Williams was the 14th running back drafted, something he uses as motivation. And yet, he's pleased he landed in Buffalo because the Bills were the only team to show much interest in him in the weeks leading up to the draft.
Aside from meeting with Bills officials at the NFL rookie combine, Williams' only pre-draft visit was to Buffalo.
"I'm happy where I went in the draft. I wouldn't trade it for the world," Williams said. "I'm proud to be a Buffalo Bill. Other teams missed out on a lot. But I'm happy to say that Buffalo found me."
The feeling is mutual.
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