After weeks of struggling in the running game, the Buffalo Bills are making some big changes for their Thanksgiving game.
NFL Network host Tom Pelissero reported that the Bills were benching running back Zack Moss for Thursday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. Moss’s carries will likely be going to Matt Breida, the speedy running back who had been a healthy scratch for much of the season but has seen his share of snaps steadily increasing in the last three weeks.
“Bills RB Zack Moss is expected to be a healthy scratch tonight against the Saints, per source,” he reported. “Moss leads the team with 4 rushing TDs despite dwindling snaps in recent weeks. But with the offense scuffling, they’ll shake it up and go with Devin Singletary and Matt Breida.”
The Bills are making some changes beyond the running game, activating rookie wide receiver Marquez Stevenson off IR.
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Bills Boosting Running Game
Bills head coach Sean McDermott had already indicated that Breida would be playing a bigger role in the offense going forward. As Nick Wojton of USA Today’s Bills Wire noted, Breida has brought an effective punch to the offense, racking up 79 total yards and a touchdown on eight carries over the past two games. He also has four catches for 38 yards and a receiving touchdown.
Breida was one of the few bright points in a 41-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last week, saying that he felt stronger as the game went on.
“I was able to break off a big chunk in the first play,” Breida said, via the Buffalo News. “I was able to get out there. And then came back to me twice. I think it was just one of the things where like, when you get a rhythm going – [Buffalo offensive coordinator] (Brian) Daboll knows that, too. When you’ve got a rhythm, whether pass or run, you just want to keep that going.”
After being scratched the first game of the season, Moss had split time close to equally with Devin Singletary. Though he leads running backs with four touchdowns, Moss has struggled running the ball, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. Breida is the fastest of the Bills running backs, adding a different dimension than the more straight-ahead Moss and Singletary.
Giving Offense a Boost
While Moss is reportedly headed to the bench, the Bills are moving in another player who has not yet had the chance to play. Stevenson, the rookie wide receiver/kick returner, has been moved off injured reserve, where he has been since the preseason. He will reportedly dress against the Saints.
Matt Warren of SB Nation’s Buffalo Rumblings speculated that Stevenson could see action in the return game if Isaiah McKenzie continues to have problems with ball security.
“But now after a costly Isaiah McKenzie fumble in Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts and another muffed punt return earlier in the year, perhaps Stevenson’s activation is motivation for McKenzie or a sign they are looking to replace him,” he wrote.