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Doug Marrone wants Marquise Goodwin to get more chances

By Tim Graham

Doug Marrone wants to give Marquise Goodwin more work.

Marrone wants T.J. Graham to work more.

As colleague Miguel Rodriguez wrote earlier today, the Buffalo Bills' speedy receivers have been shut out over the past two games.

After they combined for eight catches, 155 yards and two touchdowns in a big victory over the New York Jets with leading receiver Stevie Johnson sidelined, Goodwin and Graham have been targeted nine times -- all unsuccessfully -- in losses to the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Goodwin had zero targets Sunday.

"We could get them more involved," Marrone said today at One Bills Drive. "I think those guys have talent. No doubt, they have talent. They have, obviously, better-than-average speed.

"We have to get a way to get the right group of people in the game that can be productive. That's what we're looking at with anybody."

Asked specifically about Goodwin and Graham having zero catches in back-to-back games, Marrone noted he has spoken to offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett about getting one of them more opportunities.

"Marquise Goodwin -- and I've talked to Coach Hackett about this -- we have to get him in there more," Marrone said. "I think T.J. has to keep working and become more consistent."

Goodwin, a third-round rookie, has 16 receptions for 261 yards. His three receiving touchdowns are tied with Johnson for the team lead.

Graham, a third-round draft choice last year, has 18 catches for 272 yards and one touchdown.

Second-quarter analysis: From bad to worse

By Jay Skurski

TAMPA, Fla. -- Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel's season-long struggles on the road are continuing today in Raymond James Stadium.

Manuel threw a pair of interceptions in the second quarter, and the Buffalo offense is mustering very little against the Buccaneers, who lead 24-3 at halftime.

Buffalo turned the ball over three times in the second quarter -- including two interceptions from Manuel. The first was a good throw to Stevie Johnson that bounced off the receiver's hands, while the second was an absolute disaster of a throw intended for T.J. Graham.

Manuel is a brutal 6 of 15 for 54 yards and those two interceptions for a passer rating of 10.8. 

Glennon not much better: It hasn't been a great day for rookie quarterback Mike Glennon on the other side, either. Glennon went 8 of 20 in the first half, also throwing two interceptions. Glennon, however, has two touchdown passes, the second of which went to tight end Timothy Wright and gave the Bucs their 24-3 lead.

It's good: Buccaneers kicker Rian Lindell buried a 53-yard field goal in the second quarter. That had to fel good for the former Bills kicker, who last season was not counted on for 50-plus yard field-goal tries by the team's former coaching staff.

Tough call: Bills safety Jairus Byrd was hit with a personal foul penalty for roughing the passer late in the second quarter. Byrd came in on a blitz and tackled quarterback Mike Glennon. Officials ruled that Byrd hit Glennon below the knees.

Game ball: Bills 37, Jets 14

Third-quarter analysis: Bills dial up the deep ball

By Jay Skurski

If the rest of this Buffalo Bills season is about looking for improvement out of rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, the third quarter today at Ralph Wilson Stadium would be a good place to start.

Manuel hit consecutive deep passes to T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin, covering 83 yards in just two plays to give the Bills a 27-7 lead at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Manuel first hit Graham down the left sideline after the receiver beat rookie Dee Milliner in coverage. The play was reviewed after the Jets challenged whether Graham was in bounds, and was upheld.

On the next play, Goodwin smoked Jets Pro Bowl cornerback Antonio Cromartie down the right sideline and hauled in a 43-yard touchdown catch. The drive lasted all of 27 seconds.

Pick six: The Bills went ahead, 34-7, on a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Da'Norris Searcy. Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith has turned the ball over four times, losing one fumble and throwing three interceptions.

Still Byrd watching: Safety Jairus Byrd is having the type of game that shows why he's one of the best players in the NFL at his position. Byrd again read Smith perfectly, and picked him off for the second time. Near the end of the quarter, Byrd came in on a safety blitz and labled Smith a split second after he threw the ball.

Fred down, then back up: Bills running back Fred Jackson provided a temporary scare early in the third quarter when he was hit on the left knee by Jets safety Dawan Landry. Jackson stayed down after the hit, and was attended to by the team's training staff. He walked to the sideline under his own power, however, and returned to the game later in the quarter.

Second-quarter analysis: Bills put 'Shout' song on replay

By Jay Skurski

Just about everything that could go right did for the Buffalo Bills in the second quarter today against the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Hit two field goals of 40 or more yards in a brutal wind? Check.

Complete a long touchdown pass from EJ Manuel to T.J. Graham? Check.

Force a turnover, then punch it in for another TD? Check times three.

As a result, the Bills hold a 20-0 halftime lead. The Bills scored on every possession in the second quarter, starting with a 40-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter. After forcing a three and out by New York, the Bills put together one of their best drives of the season, a 13-play, 68-yard drive that ended with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Manuel to Graham.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams then recorded his second sack of the game, forcing a fumble in the process that was recovered by linebacker Manny Lawson. The Bills scored two plays later on a 2-yard touchdown run by fullback Frank Summers.

Sneak!: Fans and media members alike (especially WGR's Jeremy White) have often wondered why the Bills don't sneak the ball more when needing a yard for a first down. Buffalo did it twice in the second quarter, each time with success. The first one came on a third-and-1 play from the Buffalo 44, when Manuel rushed for 3 yards. The second sneak by Manuel came on a fourth-and-1 play from the Jets' 33-yard line on the same drive. The play was set up after Jets defensive end Leger Louzable jumped offside on a fourth-and-6 play on which the Bills had Brian Moorman out to punt.

Byrd watching: Safety Jairus Byrd was all over the field for the Bills in the second quarter. Byrd sacked Smith for a 9-yard loss early in the quarter, then later intercepted the Jets' rookie quarterback. That set up a 42-yard field goal by Carpenter that pushed the Bills' lead to 20-0.

Career high: Williams' two sacks today gives him seven on the season, a new career high. 

Stevie Johnson's chances of playing Sunday not looking good

By Jay Skurski

Stevie Johnson missed his second straight practice Thursday, putting his availability for Sunday's game against the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium in serious doubt.

"I don't feel as good about him being able to play, but I can't officially rule him out yet," coach Doug Marrone said after practice.

Johnson injured his right groin in a Week 10 loss at Pittsburgh.

Marrone said the team will not call up a receiver from the practice squad, meaning the options for EJ Manuel at the position will be T.J. Graham, Marquise Goodwin, Chris Hogan and Marcus Easley. Rookie Robert Woods has been ruled out because of an ankle injury.

Safety Da'Norris Searcy returned to practice on a limited basis today after sitting out Wednesday because of a hamstring injury.

"I have no issues there. Unless he has a setback during the week, he should be in great shape," Marrone said.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams (Achilles) was also back as a full participant at practice today after taking his usual rest day Wednesday.

Nathaniel Hackett: Bills moved ball at will, 'just couldn't finish'

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett met with reporters after Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs to explain what happened on the pivotal 100-yard interception for a touchdown in the third quarter.

The Bills had a first down on the Chiefs' 1-yard line. Fred Jackson ran for no gain twice, and then Jeff Tuel threw an interception right to cornerback Sean Smith.

How frustrating is it?

Nathaniel Hackett: "You get a plan together, and you do everything you want. You move the ball at whim all the way up and down the field, and we just couldn't finish.

Continue reading "Nathaniel Hackett: Bills moved ball at will, 'just couldn't finish'" »

Third-quarter analysis: Jeff Tuel's pick-six swings momentum

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Bills were on the doorstep of a 17-3 lead today against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Quarterback Jeff Tuel threw an ill-advised pass that was intended for T.J. Graham. The ball was intercepted and returned for a 100-yard touchdown by Chiefs defensive back Sean Smith, making it a tie game, 10-10. That completely deflated the sell-out crowd here at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Tuel's interception came after Fred Jackson was stuffed twice on run plays from the 1-yard line. It ended a drive that featured a 61-yard run by C.J. Spiller on the first play of the third quarter.

Continue reading "Third-quarter analysis: Jeff Tuel's pick-six swings momentum" »

Third-quarter analysis: Penalties impact both sides

By Jay Skurski

Penalties played a huge part of the third quarter today in the Superdome.

Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes was flagged for a defensive holding call on a third-down play on the Saints’ first drive after halftime. That gave New Orleans an automatic first down, and quarterback Drew Brees took advantage by throwing his second touchdown pass of the day to tight end Jimmy Graham. That gave New Orleans a 28-10 lead.

Tight end Scott Chandler was also flagged for a questionable holding call on Buffalo’s ensuing possession, negating a  55-yard touchdown catch to T.J. Graham.

Penalties went the other way, as well. Saints cornerback Corey White took two roughing-the-passer penalties against Thad Lewis, helping the Bills extend the drive on which Chandler was also penalized.

Continue reading "Third-quarter analysis: Penalties impact both sides" »

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.

Continue reading "Thad Lewis willing to absorb a big hit to make a big play" »

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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 | tgraham@buffnews.com


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 | mgaughan@buffnews.com


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 | jskurski@buffnews.com

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