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Isaiah McKenzie: I just had to step up

Josh Allen and the Bills were on their game in Week 16 as they surged to a 33-21 win over the Patriots to tie New England atop the AFC East.

The Bills were down two wide receivers for Sunday’s game against the Patriots, which meant that Isaiah McKenzie got a chance to take on a bigger role in the offense.

McKenzie made the most of the opportunity. He caught 11 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown to help the Bills to a 33-21 win that put them back in first place in the AFC East with two games left on the schedule.

After the game, McKenzie said “I just had to step up” with Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis on the COVID-19 reserve list. He didn’t have the same chance in the team’s first meeting with the Patriots because he was inactive due to a coach’s decision and he shared the impact of that experience during his postgame media session.

“It was a learning experience,” McKenzie said. “I had to take leave of myself and figure out what I had to do better. I just showed up in practice every day and do whatever it takes to do better. So those two weeks that I was inactive, I just thought about things and just reevaluated myself and then this was the opportunity that came around. It was my turn and I felt like I just needed to step up for my team.”

The Bills will try to wrap up the division by beating the Falcons and Jets over the final two weeks of the season and McKenzie’s Week 16 performance should earn him opportunities to be a part of that effort regardless of who else might be available to play.