CHICAGO (AP) — James Cook has come a long way since training camp. The Buffalo Bills’ journey to a big win on the road on a frigid Saturday in December.
Cook rushed for a career-high 99 yards and scored his third NFL touchdown while Buffalo won 35–13. Over the Chicago Bears. With Cook and Devin Singletary leading the way, the Bills hit a season-high 254 rushing yards to clinch the AFC East title.
Cook, 23, the younger brother of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, was drafted by the state of Georgia to Buffalo in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft. He finished the season with 728 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, helping the school win a national championship.
He got off to a slow start (12-3) in Buffalo, going for 97 total yards on 19 carries and a TD in the team’s first six games. But he’s been a key performer for the Bills during his six-game winning streak, having thrown the ball 47 times for 293 yards, including his 4-yard TD his reception in last weekend’s 32-29 win over Miami. and scored two goals.
“Now is the time to roll,” Cook said. “So every week I know I’m getting better and better. Just practice harder. Keep working harder and good things will show up on game day.”
Cook even surpassed his brother on Saturday. Dalvin Cook gave him 64 yards on 14 carries in Minnesota’s 27–24 victory over the New York Giants. James Cook said he talks to his brother every day, but he wasn’t interested in talking crap because he did better than him this weekend.
“No, at least he had a good game and they got a ‘W,'” James said. “So I’m not going to screw him up.”
Cook said his brother will be a valuable resource for him as he transitions into the NFL.
“He said to me, ‘Keep going every week,’ and that’s what I’ve been doing,” he said.
Buffalo tied 10-6 at halftime, but Cook helped the team pull apart in the second half. He ran for 27 yards with 7:57 left in the third quarter and made a great move to Bears defensive back DeAndre Houston-Carson en route to the end zone to give the Bills a 21–10 lead.
It was Cook’s first rushing TD since a 24-yarder in a 38-3 victory over Pittsburgh on October 9.
“He’s come a long way. He’s obviously learning a lot,” said Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen. “The speed of the game seems to be more natural for him now. He understands our concept and what we ask of him.
“It’s exciting to have a little change of pace in the back where you can really go hit the holes.”
Cook recorded 11 carries and a single tally for 106 yards on 12 tries. His 254 yards on the ground for Buffalo was the team’s highest total since his 272 yards in his 34–31 loss to Miami on December 24, 2016.
Singletary said Cook also tried to hit 100 yards, but it didn’t work. He said he thinks Cook is more upset that he’s a yard shorter than Cook himself.
“He’s getting better and better each week,” said Singletary.
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