As if LeSean McCoy's 2018 season couldn't get any worse, along came Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium where the post-game storyline wasn't yet another terrible performance, but a pregame issue that required discipline from head coach Sean McDermott.
McCoy was not on the field when the Bills' offense took the field following the opening kickoff, replaced by rookie Keith Ford. It made no sense to anyone watching, especially when, after Ford carried on the first play, McCoy came trotting out for the second snap.
The only viable explanation was that the Bills started the game with a certain personnel package, but instead, McCoy revealed after Buffalo's 24-12 loss to New England that he was benched and had the start taken away over something he said or did leading up to the game.
"Coach, he just, [said] we had a situation," McCoy said. "He was totally right. I mean, it was a private situation. I'm a captain. I've got to be more accountable. Simple as that. He checked me, put me in my place. That was it."
McDermott was not asked about the situation because he held his press conference before anyone had talked to McCoy, and McDermott was not asked why McCoy didn't start.
McCoy went on to struggle, as he has all season, gaining just nine yards on six carries and 10 yards on three pass receptions.
This has been a lost season for the 30-year-old, and all signs point to him not being back with the Bills in 2019. He would cost $9 million against the salary cap if he's on the team, but the Bills would save $6.5 million if they cut him. With 488 yards and two touchdowns this year, that's horrendous production given his salary.
The subject of McCoy's future came up, and he got a little testy about it because he doesn't seem to understand why anyone would be asking about it.
"I remember [GM Brandon] Beane saying earlier in the year that they've got plans for me, so we'll see," McCoy said. "At the end of the day, I can't worry about that. The only thing I can worry about is who I am. I'm a good player. I love it here, and we'll see what happens, but I know who I am, so I'm not worried about that."
McCoy said he understands the Bills want to get a look at young players like Ford and Marcus Murphy, who started in place of McCoy who was inactive against the Lions due to a hamstring injury.
"A lot of times, I'll let him go in, like, 'Yo, take the rep, take the series,'" McCoy said, referencing Ford. "It's not a matter of that. I mean it's late in the year. The situation is what it is. I've been in a situation before like this, so I'm not sure what type of question you're trying to get or the answer you're trying to get."
After his initial interview was over, McCoy continued in that vein and expressed frustration regarding being asked about his future, and he said with some snip in his voice that he hopes the same questions will be asked when he starts producing again.
With one game left in the season, playing behind the same inept offensive line, and in an offense that continues to struggle to scare anyone with its passing game, it's hard to envision anything will change in the finale against the Dolphins. Then again, when he played against the Dolphins on Dec. 2, McCoy had 52 yards which stands as his fourth-best game of the year.
McCoy wasn't the only problem on offense against the Patriots. Rookie quarterback Josh Allen had a rough time in his first start against Bill Belichick and company. The Patriots' defense gave him several different looks that confused him, and it caused him to make some ill-advised decisions and throws. He finished 20-of-41 for 217 yards with one touchdown and two picks.
"Early on they did a really good job of kind of disguising and dropping out and playing zone when they sure looked like they were playing man," Allen said. "They did that for an obvious reason, being young. It took a little bit to adjust to. At the same time, I've got to be better with my eyes, got to be better with where I put the football. It's a really well-coached team, a really good defense. But at the same time, I didn't feel like it was too fast for me or things were too crazy out there."
QB Josh Allen struggled through a tough day as he completed just 20-of-41 passes for 217 yards with one touchdown and two picks. Allen ran five times for 30 yards.
RB LeSean McCoy was benched for the first play of the game due to a decision by McDermott. He then had yet another terrible game with nine yards on six carries.
WR Zay Jones had no catches through three quarters, then made five for 67 yards which ended up leading the Bills in both categories, but it was all in the proverbial garbage time.
P Matt Darr had a lousy game with a net average of just 32.2 yards per punt and none downed inside the 20.
WR Victor Bolden, signed off the San Francisco 49ers' practice squad last week, made his Bills debut and had three kickoff returns for 72 yards.
LB Lorenzo Alexander had a big game with 14 tackles and an interception.
RB Keith Ford was the only other active halfback besides McCoy, and he led the Bills with 33 yards on seven carries.
WR Deonte Thompson had just one catch for 11 yards before leaving with a toe injury in the third quarter.
LB Julian Stanford suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter and never returned.