Thurman Thomas praises McCoy after Bills beat Dolphins 24-16
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Thurman Thomas couldn’t imagine where the Buffalo Bills would be if not for LeSean McCoy.
They wouldn’t have led the NFL in yards rushing the previous two seasons, the Hall of Fame running back said.
More important, Thomas added: ”We’re not talking about being in the playoff race right now.”
The Bills (8-6) stayed firmly in the AFC playoff picture after McCoy scored twice in a 24-16 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
McCoy has scored eight of Buffalo’s 24 touchdowns produced on offense, including two receiving, this season. Buffalo is 4-0 when he has 100 yards rushing, and 6-2 when he tops 90 yards from scrimmage, including Sunday, when he had 50 yards rushing and 46 receiving. And McCoy’s 1,404 yards from scrimmage account for 35 percent of the 4,024 Buffalo has gained.
What impressed Thomas further was McCoy becoming the 30th player to top 10,000 career yards rushing, achieved on a 14-yard gain in the second quarter.
”It means a lot because he’s a guy who cares about it,” Thomas said, opening his jacket to show off a blue shirt with the words ”We Chasing 10K” printed on the front similar to the one McCoy wore this past week. ”It’s big for him. I’m glad he’s got it.”
With 10K out of the way, McCoy turned his focus to the playoffs and Buffalo ending a 17-year drought – the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports.
”I’m happy it’s done,” McCoy said of hitting his personal milestone. ”We took care of business today and we’ve got a huge opponent next week.”
Buffalo closes with road games at New England this weekend and then at Miami on Dec. 31.
The Dolphins (6-8) by comparison were all but mathematically eliminated in failing to build off two straight wins, including a 27-20 victory over New England on Dec. 11.
After throwing three touchdowns passes against the Patriots, Jay Cutler threw three interceptions in the second half against the Bills in a game Miami never led.
”I’m not going to make excuses for the way I’ve played or the three turnovers. I’m responsible for all three of them no matter what the situation was,” Cutler said.
”We’ve talked about inconsistencies all year,” he added. ”When we win, we do a lot of good things right. And when we lose, we do things like that.”
MCCOY MILESTONE: McCoy, who won the 2013 NFL rushing title with Philadelphia, reached 10,000 yards on his 2,145th carry, the fifth fewest to reach the milestone. Jim Brown tops the list in needing just 1,936 carries, followed by Adrian Peterson (2,004), Barry Sanders (2,020) and O.J. Simpson (2,085).
McCoy topped 10,000 with a 14-yard carry in the second quarter.
UNDISCIPLINED DOLPHINS: On first-and-10 from Miami’s 48, Cutler’s 12-yard completion to DeVante Parker was negated by receiver Jarvis Landry being flagged for pass interference with 14:09 left. Landry then compounded the infraction by being flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for arguing the call.
The drive ended three plays later with Miami punting from its 44.
”I did not pick the guy, I was getting jammed,” Landry said. ”DeVante came free and got the first down obviously; he threw the flag and I just told him, `That’s a bad call.”’
UNDISCIPLINED BILLS: Defensive tackle Kyle Williams was upset with teammate Adolphus Washington being flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after the Bills stopped Kenyan Drake for no gain on third-and-goal from the 1 with 8:25 left. Washington was penalized for trying to swat the ball out of Drake’s hands while the running back was out of bounds.
”That’s dumb football no matter what happened or what that penalty was,” Williams said. ”I don’t care if they talk ugly about your mother. Handle it after the game.”
THIRD-DOWN WOES: The Dolphins limited their previous two opponents to converting a combined 1 of 24 third-down chances. The Bills converted 7 of 15, including their first two third-down opportunities on a game-opening 10-play, 81-yard drive capped by McCoy’s 4-yard run.
ON ICE: Not long after the game, work crews began placing the wood boards on the New Era Field turf to prepare for the installation of an outdoor hockey rink.
Buffalo is hosting the World Junior hockey championship tournament, which will feature Canada playing the United States in an outdoor game at the Bills’ stadium on Dec. 29. The 10-nation tournament opens on Dec. 26, with the remainder of the games played at the NHL Sabres arena.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL