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First-quarter analysis: Marquise Goodwin hits 'turbo boost'

By Jay Skurski

There's a reason they call Marquise Goodwin "Flash."

The Buffalo Bills' rookie receiver showed why during the first quarter today against the Kansas City Chiefs. Goodwin caught a perfectly thrown ball from rookie undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel, who's making his first career start, for a 59-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Goodwin beat press coverage on the play, then simply caught up to the ball that looked like it might have been overthrown when Tuel let it go. It's Goodwin's second touchdown of 40 or more yards this season.

Raise your hand if you saw this coming: Tuel has started the game 5 of 7 for 112 yards and a touchdown. One of the incomplete passes was a drop by tight end Scott Chandler. 

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Snap counts: Marquise Goodwin doesn't get much work

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Bills went big in an effort to protect quarterback Thad Lewis on Sunday in Miami.

No. 2 tight end Lee Smith played 32 of 67 offensive snaps for the team against the Dolphins, which was 48 percent. Smith, as he usually is, was used almost exclusively in a blocking role, although he did make his second catch of the season, for 18 yards.

Even with the bigger lineup, the Dolphins still managed to get four sacks of Lewis, and hit him six times.

The Bills also used Frank Summers on 11 snaps (16 percent). He got his first two carries of the season, and gained 14 yards.

Most interesting among the snap counts for the Bills' offense was the use of rookie receiver Marquise Goodwin. Coming off his huge 40-yard touchdown catch against the Bengals in Week Six that sent the game to overtime, Goodwin saw only five offensive snaps (7 percent) against Miami. Robert Woods (63 snaps, 94 percent) and Stevie Johnson (60 snaps, 90 percent) played almost the entire game, most often joined by T.J. Graham (34 snaps, 51 percent) when the Bills went three wide.

Running back Fred Jackson (39 snaps, 58 percent) came back from a knee injury in the first quarter to lead the team with 11 carries for 36 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 49. Jackson's leadership, however, doesn't show up in the stats book. C.J. Spiller managed just 14 snaps (21 percent), while third back Tashard Choice played 12 snaps (18 percent).

The starting offensive line -- including left guard Doug Legursky in his first start of the season -- played the entire game (67 snaps).

Rookie tight end Chris Gragg (six snaps, 9 percent) also saw his first action of the season.

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Points after: Bills 23, Dolphins 21

723519 McCoy Sports Bill#67

By Tim Graham

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Quick highlights from the Buffalo Bills' victory over the Miami Dolphins in Sun Life Stadium ...

What it means: The Bills are 3-4 overall and 1-2 in the AFC East. They avoided a three-game losing streak and won their first division road game in nine tries.

Welcome back: Dan Carpenter, cut by the Dolphins this year, kicked a 31-yard field goal with 33 seconds to play. He made a 39-yarder in the second quarter and a 20-yarder in the fourth quarter. His Dolphins replacement, Caleb Stugis, missed a 51-yard attempt in the second quarter.

Bills MVP: Mario Williams was quiet for much of the afternoon but notched a pair of crucial sacks in the fourth quarter. The Bills hadn't sacked Ryan Tannehill until there were seven minutes left. Williams beat right tackle Tyson Clabo for a pancake. Williams then caused the fumble that Kyle Williams recovered with 2:48 to play.

Play of the game: Mario Williams' strip was pivotal to setting up the winning field goal. Special mention to cornerback Nickell Robey, who returned Tannehill's first pass attempt 19 yards for a touchdown 93 seconds into the game. 

Player of the game: A free agent this past offseason, Brandon Gibson wanted to play alongside his buddy, Stevie Johnson, with the Bills. The Bills never called. Maybe they regretted not acting as they watched Gibson catch five passes for 40 yards and two touchdowns. 

Dolphins play of the game: Gibson's first touchdown was highlight-reel quality. With time running out in the first half and Miami on Buffalo's 13-yard line, Tannehill dumped it to Gibson at the 10. Gibson found some pace to the left and, from about the 3-yard line, made a tumbling leap over defensive backs Da'Norris Searcy and Aaron Williams for the touchdown with 21 seconds left.

Preliminary injury report: Robey injured his left shoulder while covering a punt in the second quarter. He returned to the game. ... Linebacker Manny Lawson left with a hamstring injury in the third quarter.

Coming up: The Bills visit the New Orleans Saints next Sunday in the Superdome.

Snap counts: Nigel Bradham busy in place of Manny Lawson

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Bills turned to Nigel Bradham on Sunday after linebacker Manny Lawson was hurt against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Bradham played 39 of the Bills' 86 defensive snaps, or 45 percent. That's by far the busiest he has been all season. He played 19 defensive snaps (21 percent) against the New England Patriots in Week One, then did not have more than eight snaps over the next four games before Sunday.

"It's not what I expected, but it is what it is," Bradham said of his playing time. "Pretty much just have to be ready for your opportunity. Manny went down so I had to be able to just be ready and go out there and play."

Bradham said he spent a lot of time in practice last week reviewing Lawson's role.

"It's one of the things where it's a different scheme and we have so many different packages that you just have to be ready for all the packages and just be ready for whenever anybody gets hurt," he said.

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Snap counts: Nigel Bradham gets all of one play against Carolina

By Jay Skurski

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone made sure to let everyone know after the season opener against the New England Patriots that he was pleased with linebacker Nigel Bradham's performance, despite him playing just 19 snaps.

That number was drastically reduced Sunday, as Bradham was on the field for just one defensive snap.

"I really didn't expect that, but it just happened that way," Bradham said today of his playing time. "As the weeks go on, we'll see what happens. Hopefully I get more reps."

Bradham said he had no idea that he would be used so sparingly against the Panthers.

"I've just got to control what I can control and keep focusing on trying to become a better linebacker," he said.

Other items of note from the Bills' snap count numbers against Carolina:

Continue reading "Snap counts: Nigel Bradham gets all of one play against Carolina" »

Nigel Bradham calls marijuana possession 'bad decision'

By Jay Skurski

Nigel Bradham spoke in measured tones this afternoon regarding his recent ticket for marijuana possession.

Bradham was stopped at 2:01 a.m. Saturday along Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda for a window-tint violation, according to a report in the Tonawanda News. The officer who pulled Bradham over detected a strong scent of marijuana, the report stated, and Bradham eventually produced a bag with the banned substance.

Bradham was issued two tickets, one for marijuana possession and another for illegal tint on his window.

"It's a legal issue. It was a mistake on my behalf," Bradham said this afternoon at St. John Fisher College. "I just don't want to be a distraction. That's the main thing."

Bradham said he regretted his actions.

"Oh, yeah, most definitely. It's a bad decision," he said.

The matter is currently being reviewed by the NFL, according to General Manager Doug Whaley.

"There will be some kind of conduct," Bradham said, acknowledging the likelihood of some kind of disciplinary actions, "but we'll keep that between us and the team as far as that. We'll see what happens."

Bradham, a second-year linebacker out of Florida State, has started the first two preseason games.

"Pretty much just trying to stay focused on what we have going on here at training camp, practice and being focused in meetings and everything," Bradham said. "Obviously, I had a matter that happened to me. I mean, I have to abide by the rules. I know that."

Doug Whaley: Bills don't condone Nigel Bradham's actions

By Jay Skurski

PITTSFORD -- Buffalo Bills General Manager Doug Whaley met with reporters this afternoon to address the situation surrounding linebacker Nigel Bradham.

The Tonawanda News reported Monday that Bradham was issued an appearance ticket in the Town of Tonawanda for marijuana possession after being pulled over at 2:01 a.m. Saturday along Sheridan Drive.

"We take these situations seriously. We don't condone these actions," Whaley said. "It's something that's unfortunate and we'll deal with it as it comes."

Whaley said the case is being reviewed by the NFL as a violation of the league's personal conduct policy.

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Nigel Bradham's marijuana ticket first notable problem in 4 years

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills were known as a team of high character under General Manger Buddy Nix and coach Chan Gailey.

In their three years, one Bills player was arrested. Wide receiver Paul Hubbard, a training-camp body, was busted for driving drunk and, as expected, didn't make the team. That was the extent of the Bills police-blotter activities from June 2009 through this weekend.

Tonawanda News reporter Jessica Bagley wrote today that Bills linebacker Nigel Bradham was issued a ticket for marijuana possession in the Town of Tonawanda a few hours after starting for the Bills in a preseason victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Friday night.

Although not arrested, Bradham could face NFL discipline and becomes the most notable Bill to have a run-in with the law since Cleveland police Tasered and arrested safety Donte Whitner in April 2009.

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Nigel Bradham, Bills expect him to be a defensive playmaker

By Tim Graham

Among the highlights of the Buffalo Bills' pre-draft news conference Tuesday were General Manager Buddy Nix's remarks about linebacker Nigel Bradham.

Linebacker is considered a weakness for Buffalo. The position was disappointing as a whole last season, and then Buffalo cut leading tackler Nick Barnett.

Nix, however, claimed Buffalo's linebackers are underrated.

"We've got some talent there," Nix said, "and a lot more than people think."

Continue reading "Nigel Bradham, Bills expect him to be a defensive playmaker " »

Fourth-round picks historically have a cup of coffee with Bills

By Tim Graham

With the 105th pick of the 2013 NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills select ...

A fan will utter that line and reveal the name of that player April 27 in Radio City Music Hall.

Tim Hortons and the Bills are running a contest that will allow a fan to announce their fourth-round draft pick.

What kind of treat will that be? Based on the past dozen Bills fourth-round draft choices, you might want a box of Timbits instead.

Continue reading "Fourth-round picks historically have a cup of coffee with Bills" »

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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 |