It was during pregame warmups in Week 1 that we knew something strange was happening with Buffalo Bills’ second-year running back Zack Moss. He was on the field going through some stretches and light work, but the company he was keeping were guys we thought were going to be inactive. Sure enough, the 2020 third-round pick found himself benched for the season opener.
Head coach Sean McDermott called it a numbers game. With Moss and third-year running back Devin Singletary bringing a similar skill set, Buffalo decided to activate the shifty and speedy Matt Breida instead of Moss as the team’s backup running back. Maybe that decision proved costly, as many believe Moss is a better pass blocker than Singletary, and Buffalo was slaughtered by the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive line.
Fast forward to Week 2, and Moss found himself active after fans and the media questioned the Week 1 decision. His first play came on the Bills’ third series, and he ripped off a ten-yard run followed by a one-yard banger. On the third play, he swooped out wide and caught a pass from Josh Allen for six yards before a well-placed hit dislodged the ball. He was right back in the doghouse.
He told left tackle Dion Dawkins “the next time I get the ball, I’m going to make it count.” It wasn’t the next time, but it was coming.
Moss received one carry in 30 minutes of game time from the end of the first quarter to the end of the third quarter. The carry came after Singletary picked up four and five yards to set up a 3rd & 1, but Moss was stuffed and the Bills punted. Another setback.
But starting near the end of the third quarter, Moss showed grit. He converted a 3rd & short with a five-yard run. Several plays later, he gave the Bills a four-touchdown lead after his second and third effort willed the ball across the goal line. He simply would not be denied.
The next time Buffalo was on offense, they pushed the ball down the field again and after replay overturned a Josh Allen rushing touchdown with the ball at the one, Moss laid the wood on a Dolphins defender, and popped into the end zone for the Bills’ fifth touchdown of the game.
He finished the game with eight rushes for 26 yards and two touchdowns plus two catches for eight yards.
After the game, Moss spoke about another bit of adversity he overcame this week:
“Just had to bury my aunt yesterday morning, play a game today that I fumbled in & then turn around and help my team win with 2 TDs! Life is all about ups and downs, only thing that matters is how you respond to those challenges,” tweeted Moss.
What a roller coaster for Moss, but what a great message he sent, as well.