BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Four games, four wins.
So much for the Buffalo Bills’ 0-2 start.
Buffalo used a dominant run game and stout red zone defense to take down Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers in Kaepernick’s first start of the season, 45-16. Kaepernick’s ongoing protest of the national anthem prompted a “USA!” chant from Bills fans prior to the anthem, but once the game began, Kaepernick couldn’t spark the 49ers’ offense beyond a few big plays on the ground.
Meanwhile, the Bills’ offense exploded for its best day of the season. Buffalo’s 45 points gave the Bills 30+ points at home for three straight games, the first time that has happened since 2011. LeSean McCoy stole the show, rushing for three touchdowns against the coach who traded him away from his home state, Chip Kelly. McCoy led a Bills ground game that rushed for more than 300 yards, the most by a Bills team since 1992.
It’s the Bills’ first four-game win streak since 2008.
McCoy answered a 49ers field goal in the first quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run on a speed option pitch from Tyrod Taylor. San Francisco answered with a 53-yard touchdown pass from Kaepernick to Torrey Smith on a blown coverage by the Bills’ secondary, leaving Smith wide open to catch an underthrown pass and run into the end zone.
The Bills answered again with McCoy, who burst through the middle of the field for a 38-yard run and proceeded to take a direct snap twelve yards into the end zone a few plays later, handing the Bills a 14-10 lead.
Later in the half, after a San Francisco field goal, McCoy singlehandedly converted a 3rd-and-20 on a draw play and kept a drive alive that led to a Dan Carpenter field goal, bringing the score to 17-13 at the half.
Both offenses were slow to start the second half, until Tyrod Taylor connected on two deep throws: One to Nick O’Leary for a 22-yard gain, then a 31-yard pass to Justin Hunter for a Bills touchdown, bringing the lead to 24-13. Once again, the 49ers answered with a field goal, unable to get into the end zone.
McCoy added his third touchdown of the game on a drive mostly engineered by Taylor’s legs. The score gave McCoy his third career three-touchdown game, putting the Bills up 31-16.
On the ensuing kickoff, Nickell Robey-Coleman forced a fumble and the Bills recovered, leading to a Taylor touchdown pass to Robert Woods. That put the game out of reach at 38-16, until it was put further out of reach by a 44-yard Mike Gillislee touchdown run.
Buffalo held its collective breath late in the first half when McCoy went down holding his right knee after taking a hit across the middle of the field. He eventually walked off with trainers, jogged on the sideline and returned to the game in the second half. Disaster averted.
The Bills now head to Miami to take on the Dolphins, who beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday to move to 2-4.