ORCHARD PARK, NY – While Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor continues to develop chemistry with a completely remodeled group of wide receivers, he’s fortunate to have running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Charles Clay. Throughout the Bills 21-12, Week 1 win over the Jets, Taylor looked primarily to those two familiar faces to make plays in the passing game.
McCoy – who’s expected to see an increased role as a pass catcher this season – finished as the team’s leading receiver in terms of receptions, making five catches for 49 yards to go along with his impressive 22-carry, 110 rushing yard performance. Right behind him was Clay, who hauled in four passes for 53 yards, including a beautifully executed one-yard touchdown pass in the second-quarter, the first of the new season. It gave the Bills a lead they’d never relinquish.
“We had some favorable matchups,” Clay said of the win. “Granted a lot of those plays you have to take advantage of. Tyrod did a good job spreading the ball around, it was good.”
On the day Taylor was 16-of-28 passing for 224 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. Of those 28 total pass attempts 15 of them went in the direction of McCoy or Clay, while the Bills top three receivers – Zay Jones, Jordan Matthews and Andre Holmes – were targeted just eight times.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott attributed that curious discrepancy, not to a lack of chemistry between Taylor and his receiving corps but to the team’s Week 1 game plan.
“I equate it to Tyrod taking what the defense giving him,” McDermott stated. “I don’t want to go any further right now without looking at the film.
“Obviously, they were doing some things that they wanted to try and take away the wide receivers so we’re going to distribute the ball in other areas. That’s what balanced offenses do. It doesn’t mean it’s necessarily balanced statistically, across the board, but taking what the defense gives us.”
Taylor wasn’t buying the “lack of chemistry” narrative either, assuring that the outside weapons will get their looks.
“We knew going into this game that the backers were something we wanted to take advantage of matchup wise, the 28-year-old explained. “We didn’t think those guys could stop Shady and Charles in the middle of the field. Those outside targets will definitely come but it’s a game of matchups. Each game is gonna be different and we gotta be able to take advantage of those matchups.”
The seven-year vet also doesn’t buy the narrative that has haunted him for much of his first two seasons as the Bills starting quarterback. The one that suggests he simply can’t be effective throwing over the middle of the field. On Sunday, Taylor cut right through that anecdote, completing eight of his nine pass attempts over the middle, including three in the 10-to-20 yard range.
“Just taking [advantage of] mismatches,” Taylor said, grinning deviously when asked about his success in that area of the field.
“Whatever it takes to win.”
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