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Film analysis of Buffalo Bills RB James Cook against Washington Commanders

James Cook and Buffalo’s run game put together another fruitful day at the office

NFL: SEP 24 Bills at Commanders Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills soundly defeated the Washington Commanders last Sunday at FedExField. Perhaps lost in the shuffle of Buffalo’s defensive play and its efficiency in the passing game was how the offense dominated on the ground — rushing for 168 yards at over five yards per carry. Second-year running back James Cook led the effort with 15 carries for 98 yards. Let’s look at the film and discover how Cook was able to have such a solid day running the football.

James Cook makes something out of nothing

On this play, Bills quarterback Josh Allen was under center with Cook behind him. At the snap Allen handed the ball off to Cook who ran right. As Cook was running, two Commanders defenders closed in on him. Cook then moved his feet left, making the defender miss before he churned out a few extra yards. A perfect example of a player making something out of nothing in the run game.

James Cook makes a defender miss

On this play Bills tight end Quintin Morris was tasked with blocking Commanders defensive tackle Daron Payne. Morris predictably found himself overmatched in the run game by the 320-pound defensive lineman. Despite the disadvantage, Cook utilized great footwork, cutting outside and then cutting back inside to avoid Payne and Morris all together. Cook then ran through more defenders as he made his way up the field.

Dion Dawkins pulls as lead blocker for James Cook

Pre-snap Allen was in the gun with Cook to his right. As the play started, rookie guard O’Cyrus Torrence drive-blocked the defensive tackle out of the play. Dawkins pulled right and became the lead blocker for Cook — who followed him through the now wide-open hole.

Mitch Morse pulls to remove edge rusher from James Cook’s path

This play began with Allen under center, plus fullback Reggie Gilliam and Cook behind him. At the snap, Bills center Mitch Morse pulled right to block the edge rusher. Cooks ran right then cut inside where there was a big hole. What helped this running play to be so successful was Buffalo having their linemen and tight end block downfield at the second level. Cook found a few extra yards by running through contact to finish off his run.

In summary

The Buffalo Bills rushed for 168 yards as a team, with Cook leading the way en route to a near-100-yard effort. The Bills ran the ball from under center, they pulled offensive linemen, and Cook made a few plays on his own to get extra yards. The variety offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey has brought to Buffalo’s run game continues to help diversify the team’s attack.

What did you think of the Bills’ rushing performance against the Commanders in Week 3?