Bills Bench Struggling RB for Critical Game Against Chiefs

Zack Moss

Getty Zack Moss runs the ball against the Miami Dolphins.

The Buffalo Bills sent their struggling running back to the bench for Sunday’s key showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Bills announced that back Zack Moss was inactive for the game, the first time he’s been a healthy scratch this season. The move comes after Moss has seen his role dwindle over the course of the season, and in last Sunday’s 38-3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers he had just one carry.

Moss’s benching means a big opportunity for rookie James Cook, who will serve as the primary backup to Devin Singletary.

Bills Send Moss to the Bench

The Bills looked for a bounce-back season from Moss, who played last season through the lingering effects of a broken ankle suffered at the end of his rookie season. Now fully healthy, Moss assumed a role behind lead back Singletary and offered a power-rushing element that the others backs did not.

But Moss has not made much of an impact so far this season. While he has a healthy 5.4 yards-per-carry average, he had just 225 total yards with much of it coming on one 43-yard run against the Miami Dolphins. He has not rushed more than six times in any game, and has had just 11 total carries over the course of the last four games.

The Bills could be handing a larger role to Cook, who had a rough start to his career with the Bills as he fumbled his first career touch against the Los Angeles Rams in the season opener. Cook scored his first career touchdown against the Steelers last week, a 24-yard run to cap the scoring.

After the game, Bills head coach Sean McDermott had some praise for Cook’s celebratory jump into the crowd afterward.

“That’s great,” McDermott said. “Here’s a young man that played at Georgia, not really from around here, but he’s adjusting and (knows) enough to give Bills Mafia what they so deserve. And I think that’s pretty cool to watch a young man to have the wherewithal after his first touchdown and the awareness to celebrate that with the fans, so that’s special. It’s a feel-good moment, for sure.”

Bills Looking for Running Back Help

The Bills have reportedly been looking to take a big swing at running back. CBS Sports insider Jonathan Jones reported on October 15 that the Bills had reached out to the Carolina Panthers to inquire about All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey.

“And while teams are calling about Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers have not engaged in any serious trade talks,” Jones wrote. “Carolina isn’t just going to give away one of the league’s best weapons when healthy. The Broncos, 49ers, Rams and Bills are among the teams that have shown varying degrees of interest in McCaffrey.”

The Bills could have some other options at running back if Moss were to remain on the bench. Veteran Duke Johnson, who looked impressive in the preseason at running while also playing all phases of special teams, is on the Bills’ practice squad and could be elevated.