Heading into their second round playoff matchup against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday, the biggest question surrounding the Buffalo Bills is who will fill the void at the running back position after Zack Moss suffered an ankle injury last weekend.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott delivered the answer on Thursday when he met with the media before practice and said that veteran running back TJ Yeldon would step into Moss’ role.
“TJ is gonna be the one that is thrown up into Zack’s spot,” McDermott said on Thursday during a video conference call. “But we do have a lot of confidence in Antonio (Williams) and we were really impressed by what we saw in that game against Miami.”
Yeldon has only played in three games this season and he’s carried the ball 10 times for a total of 70 yards, averaging 7 yards per carry. In Buffalo’s 42-16 loss against the Tennessee Titans earlier this season, Yeldon filled in for an injured Moss and made the most of his opportunity.
He split carries with Devin Singletary, carrying the ball seven times, and led the team in rushing yards with 52. He also broke off a season long run of 34 yards and scored his only touchdown of the season on a 22-yard catch from Josh Allen early in the fourth quarter that cut Tennessee’s lead to 12.
Yeldon may not be the only running back that receives work on Saturday though. McDermott said that Singletary will see a majority of the load earlier this week, but he also didn’t rule out bringing up Williams from the practice squad for Saturday’s game.
“That decision has not been made yet,” McDermott said.
In Buffalo’s regular season finale against the Miami Dolphins, Williams made his NFL debut and rushed for 63 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. He also caught a 20-yard pass in the 56-26 victory.
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Yeldon Earns His Shot in a Big Time Game
Yeldon has been a healthy scratch for the majority of this season but Saturday is an opportunity to step up and show his worth. In two years with Buffalo, he’s only tallied 27 carries for 133 yards in nine games and this will be his best opportunity yet.
Before coming to Buffalo, Yeldon spent his first four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He never topped 1,000 yards but recorded his best season during his rookie year when he carried the ball 182 times for 740 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 36 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown.
As his career has gone on, Yeldon has turned into more of a receiving running back. During his final season in Jacksonville, he tallied 414 yards on the ground but caught 55 passes for 487 yards and four touchdowns. So, come Saturday, Yeldon could provide Allen with another target against a stingy Baltimore defense.
Buffalo Still Has Devonta Freeman As Well
Heading into Saturday’s matchup, the Bills have a few running backs to choose from but expect only one running back to get called up from the practice squad. Due to his familiarity with the offense, Williams might be the favorite in that notion, but Freeman has playoff experience and has had success during his NFL career.
After being signed to the practice squad earlier this week, Freeman was able to practice right away and McDermott said earlier this week that they were trying to get him caught up as quickly as possible. But, only time will tell who could see the field on Saturday.