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Thad Lewis willing to absorb a big hit to make a big play

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills quarterback Thad Lewis knew Miami Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins was screaming towards him on a blitz.

But it was a third-and-11 situation late in the third quarter, and the Bills were down by four points.

"I actually saw the guy coming," Lewis said. "But in that instance it's third down. You need a first down."

Jenkins delivered a blast that sent Lewis' helmet rolling yards away on the grass. The ball, however, had been thrown.

Stevie Johnson caught Lewis' pass for a crucial 17-yard pickup. That plus the 15-yard roughing penalty on Jenkins provided Buffalo's longest gain and put the Bills in field-goal range.

"It's up to me to make that play, to complete that throw," Lewis said today at One Bills Drive. "We got on football gear. I can take a hit. ... That's what you have to do. You have to be tough, playing the quarterback position.

"I know the game is fast, I know the limited time I have, and I know I'm going to take shots. That's what you have to do, and the guys appreciate somebody that's back there, willing to do that for the team."

In the second quarter, Lewis didn't back down from a blitz and completed a 30-yard strike to T.J. Graham on a third-and-17 play to extend a field-goal drive.

Lewis must keep his head on a swivel again Sunday versus the New Orleans Saints. They rank third in sacks per pass play. Only four teams have held opposing quarterbacks to a lower passer rating.

"Sometimes they bring more than you can" pick up, Lewis said. "Sometimes you have to hang in there and take that shot.

"For the most part, it's just more studying and knowing where they guy's coming from this week to try to limit the hits. You don't want to get hit all the time. But when you have to, sometimes you have to do it."


Stevie Johnson | T.J. Graham | Thad Lewis
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |