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A step back for speedy receivers?

By Miguel Rodriguez

Who knew that T.J. Graham's and Marquise Goodwin's breakout games this year would take place not just in a game where the Bills played without their top two receivers but also on a windy, miserable day at Ralph Wilson Stadium?

It was just four weeks ago (three games and a bye) in which both speedy receivers stepped up their games and were playmakers and difference-makers for the Bills in a 37-14 rout of the Jets.

In that game Goodwin made six receptions for 81 yards and burned Antonio Cromartie badly on a 43-yard touchdown that pretty much wrapped up that victory. He was Goodwin also was targeted nine times.

Graham made two catches for 74 yards and a touchdown, adjusting wonderfully on a deep but underthrown pass as EJ Manuel was being blitzed for the 34-yard score. He was targeted four times.

It made one wonder what the offense would be like if they continued to do that while in the presence of Johnson and Woods.

But since that breakout day by the speedy duo however, Goodwin and Graham have combined for zero, ZERO!, catches with Graham being targeted five times and Goodwin four times.

What gives?

“We’re still trying to get the ball deep," Graham said Monday morning during player availablity. "They’re heating up, they’re d-ing up up front. The pressures are different. If there’s not a lot of time up front then it’s hard to get the ball deep down field.”

Goodwin didn't come by his locker during the media availablity.

Perhaps the Bills should do more than try to throw deep to their speedsters. A little slant pattern or curl route to keep the D honest?

"When we watch the film today and tomorrow, we'll see and make adjustments accordingly," Graham said.

Graham and Goodwin both have similar stats with the second-year Graham catching 18 passes for 272 yards (15.1 yards per catch) and a lone TD. Goodwin has 16 catches for 261 yards (16.3 yards per catch) and three TDs.

Goodwin's contributions seem to standout more simply because one of his TD catches helped the Bills force overtime against Cincinnati back in Week Six.

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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 |