Bills May Have Found Answer at RB After Matt Breida’s Breakout Game

Matt Breida

Getty Matt Breida celebrates after a touchdown against the New York Jets.

The Buffalo Bills have been looking for answers for the running game after struggling for close to a month, and may have found it on Sunday against the New York Jets.

Speedster Matt Breida, who had been inactive for the majority of the season as the Bills went with the tandem of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, was dressed and had his best game of the season against the Jets. Breida found the endzone twice, adding a new wrinkle to the running game that the Bills had previously lacked .

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Breida Breaks Out

Breida had his best game of the season against the Jets, making the most of his limited chances in the 45-17 victory. He rushed three times for 28 yards and added another three catches for 22 yards, but more importantly found the endzone twice. His 15-yard touchdown catch kicked off the scoring on the opening drive for the Bills, and he added another 15-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter to stretch the lead to 31-3.

The performance earned Breida some good reviews, with some calling on Bills head coach Sean McDermott to find him more playing time.

While Breida did have a late fumble, Bruce Nolan of Buffalo Rumblings tweeted that the veteran back still did enough to earn a place in the regular rotation.

“I am undeterred by that Matt Breida fumble,” he tweeted. “Singletary has fumbled five times this year (but hasn’t lost any yet) and whether or not you recover your own fumbles is largely a matter of luck. Breida has still earned a spot in the rotation.”

Rushing Woes Come to an End

Going into Sunday’s game, the Bills had endured a month of struggles from their running backs. As Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News noted, Moss and Singletary managed just 182 yards on 54 carries over the previous four games, including managing just 22 yards on nine carries in the shocking loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Moss was also hurt against the Jaguars and spent the week in the league-mandated concussion protocol, not clearing it until the day before the game.

McDermott expressed some concern about the situation, saying the rushing woes would start to affect the passing game if the team couldn’t turn things around.

“As far as running the football, you’ve got to have the threat at least of being a two-dimensional team,” McDermott said. “And I think we experienced that earlier in the season. We experienced it (Sunday) again. That’s not a healthy place to be.”

Beyond Breida’s performance, McDermott and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll found some creative ways to run the ball against the Jets. They called multiple jet sweeps, a staple of the offense last season that hadn’t been utilized as much this season. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders took an end-around for 24 yards in the third quarter to set up another sweep to Isaiah McKenzie on the very next play, which he took eight yards for a touchdown.

If he remains in the lineup, Breida could see some action outside the backfield. The Bills have used him to return kicks, making him an insurance policy should normal returner McKenzie be injured or if his occasional trouble with fumbles should return.

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