ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Maybe the Buffalo Bills are finally catching a break.
After an offseason deflated by injuries to star receiver Sammy Watkins and top draft choices Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland, good luck finally found the Bills while running back LeSean McCoy laid on the turf -- apparently hurt -- during the second quarter of Sunday's 45-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Fortunately for the Bills -- and that's a rare phrase -- McCoy dodged injury on the play, returning to the game and avoiding catastrophe in Buffalo. With the blowout win, the Bills have now won four consecutive games for the first time since 2008. A victory next week in Miami would mean first place in the AFC East could be on the line Oct. 30 when the Bills host the New England Patriots.
It might be full steam ahead for the Bills, but their win Sunday didn't come without a scare. After McCoy caught a 2-yard pass from quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the second quarter and took a hard hit from 49ers linebacker Nick Bellore, the red-hot running back immediately grabbed his right knee. Some of his teammates were kneeling around him, and the crowd at New Era Field -- which had vocally greeted Colin Kaepernick in his debut as San Francisco's starter -- went almost silent. For several moments, as trainers huddled over McCoy on the ground, it appeared the health of the Bills' best offensive player was in jeopardy.
But then McCoy hopped up and started walking slowly to the sideline. His steps became brisker, and within minutes, McCoy was jogging around the sideline, interacting with teammates and readying to return to the game.
McCoy's impact on Sunday's game was enormous: He rushed 19 times for 140 yards and three touchdowns, his first three-touchdown game since Dec. 18, 2011. It was also the most rushing touchdowns for a Bills player in a game since Willis McGahee scored four times against Seattle in 2004.
While McCoy's final numbers were eye-opening, the result was hardly unexpected against a 49ers defense that entered Sunday with the NFL's second-worst rushing defense, allowing 146 yards per game. The Bills more than doubled that average, rushing for 312 rushing yards Sunday -- their most since Nov. 11, 1992, when the Bills gained 315 rushing yards against the Atlanta Falcons.