Bills' Wideouts are the NFL's Worst, by a Wide Margin

Benjamin doing nothing to warrant being paid big free-agent money

Column as I see em, Week 1:

Last season, the Bills had the worst group of wide receivers in the NFL. They didnt have a wideout with more than 27 receptions, or more than three TD catches. Andre Holmes led with three.

The Buffalo wideouts finished 2017 with a combined 1,474 yards receiving and nine TDs. Pittsburghs Antonio Brown had 1,533 yards and nine scores all by himself. And based on the 47-3 loss to the Ravens in this opener, things havent gotten any better.

The WRs were largely invisible in the opener, combining for seven catches and a measly 57 yards. If that sounds vaguely familiar, maybe its because the wideouts combined for 52 yards in the 10-3 loss to Jacksonville in last seasons wild-card playoff loss.

So if youre keeping score at home, thats back-to-back games where the Bills scored three points and the wide receivers did virtually nothing, failing to gain separation or make any sort of game-changing play. They didnt have a catch of more than 16 yards in either game.

Zay Jones (remember him?) had a resounding three catches for 26 yards against the Ravens. Thats the most receptions and yards for last years highly touted second-round pick since the 10th game of last season. Hes an impostor as a No. 2 NFL receiver.

Kelvin Benjamin is slotted beyond his abilities, too. Benjamin is a No. 1 receiver by default. That becomes more evident every time he plays a game for the Bills. He has now played eight games for the Bills, of half a season. He has 20 catches, 256 yards and one touchdown to show for it. Thats backup production, folks.

The Bills have a multitude of problems on offense. Their offensive line is horrible. They didnt have enough faith in their franchise quarterback, Josh Allen, to start him over Nathan Peterman in the opener. The wideouts cant get separation, which hampers the pass protection and allows teams to load up against the run.

Brandon Beane has a major rebuilding job on his hands. His team needs help in almost every area, especially at receiver. It starts with Benjamin, who hasnt made a case to be re-signed by the Bills for top receiver money. Its easy to see why the Panthers, who went to the Super Bowl without him, were willing to let him go.

Benjamin was awful in the opener. He dropped a touchdown pass and seemed to give up on a long pass down the sideline from Peterman. He had the ball knocked out of hands on a leaping grab early in the game. Thats the kind of catch hes supposed to make.

Remember what they said when the Bills traded for Benjamin, how hes open even when hes covered? Were still waiting to see it. Making matters worse, he whined about the weather after the loss in Baltimore, saying it played a big part in the game.

Benjamin said he wasnt making excuses, after making an excuse. That doesnt cut it in Buffalo, where playing in bad weather has always been seen as a badge of toughness. The one word that comes to mind after watching Benjamin is: Soft.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick has never been confused with Joe Montana. But heres my chance: On Sunday, Fitz threw four touchdown passes in Tampa Bays 48-40 win at New Orleans. It was the eighth time in his career that he threw for four-plus TDs in a game.

Montana had eight regular-season games of four-plus TDs in his career (he did it twice in postseason.) Its a tribute to Fitzpatricks resilience and dauntless, gunslingers self-confidence that he would do it eight times, and for five different franchises four with the Bills, one each for Houston, Tennessee, the Jets and now the Bucs.

Playing in place of suspended James Winston, Fitz was remarkable against the Saints, throwing for a career-high 417 yards, throwing for four TDs and rushing for another. He hooked up with Mike Evans for 147 yards and DeSean Jackson for 146.

Bills fans must be envious after watching the sorry wideout crew in Buffalo. The last time the Bills had two 100-yard receivers in the same game? On Oct. 24, 2010, when Stevie Johnson had 158 yards and Lee Evans 105 in a 37-34 overtime loss at Baltimore.

The quarterback, of course, was Ryan Fitzpatrick. By the way, he has 177 career TD passes. On Sunday, he moved ahead of Otto Graham, Joe Namath and Norm Van Brocklin on the all-time list.

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The Bills are coming off the worst road loss in their history. Theyre being lambasted around the country. Colin Cowherd declared on 1270 The Fan that there are lots of college players who are good enough to play for the Bills offense right now.

But I always try to look on the bright side. The Bills first two home opponents could be compromised by injuries to key players.

The Chargers will almost certainly be without Pro Bowl defensive lineman Joey Bosa on Sunday at New Era Field. Bosa, who had 12 1-2 sacks last season, could miss a month with a foot injury. It was originally diagnosed as a bruise, but now theres talk of a fracture.

The Titans, who visit New Era on Oct. 7, suffered three injuries to key players in Sundays loss to Miami. Quarterback Marcus Mariota left the game with an elbow injury. Left tackle Taylor Lewan suffered a concussion. According to ESPNs Adam Schefter, tight end Delanie Walker suffered a season-ending ankle injury.

And keep in mind: After last years 54-24 rout at the Chargers in Nathan Petermans first start, the Bills went to Kansas City and upset the Chiefs, 16-10. Of course, that was after Sean McDermott came to his senses and took out Peterman.

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Is He Owned? Im bringing back my weekly fantasy feature, in which I identify a heretofore obscure player who could help your team in the months ahead. It can help, trust me. Two years ago, I picked up Adam Thielen at midseason and he won me a title. Last year, I grabbed Alex Collins and he helped me reach the final.

This years inaugural sleeper is Broncos running back Philip Lindsay. The Colorado product had 71 yards rushing (on 15 carries) and two catches for 31 yards and a TD in Denvers 27-24 win over the Seahawks on Sunday.

Lindsay, an undrafted rookie, shared tailback duties with fellow rookie Royce Freeman, who also had 71 yards rushing on 15 carries. Lindsay is a good receiver out of the backfield and worth owning, especially if (like me) you reached for Freeman in your draft.

Lindsay is owned in 98 percent of ESPN leagues and all of my leagues. Ill have to put in a bid.

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Stats Incredible: The Browns had six takeaways in their 21-21 tie with the Steelers. According to ESPN, NFL teams are 132-4-1 when theyre plus-5 or better in turnovers The Saints lost their opener for the fifth year in a row. Theyve started 0-2 the last four seasons. A year ago, they were 0-2, then won eight straight Tom Brady is 57-2 at home against AFC opponents since the start of the 2007 season. The losses were the 2014 finale against the Bills, when he played a half, and the Thursday night opener against the Chiefs a year ago Heres a good trivia question to use on your friends. Who was the last Bill to score a TD in a game that mattered? None other than Kyle Williams, who had a 1-yard TD run in last years regular-season finale at Miami. Maybe they should play him at tailback.

Comments (7)
No. 1-5
Kruzer
Kruzer

Column as I see em....love it.

Ghatton18
Ghatton18

Bucky and Sully- important one of you reads this.

If you google BUFFALO MAVEN your site is the 7th thing down. Thats a problem I hope somebody addresses

Im glad you resurfaced.

I didnt follow you here to read you and tell you how much I hate you guys like some of these tools.

agonybooth
agonybooth

Hypocrisy

BFLO716
BFLO716

Was one of those losses with a plus five turnover ratio the Bills loss to Dallas on Monday night?

Sargent
Sargent

So you are a big Fitz fan now? Please rewind your game tape to your commentary when he was in Buffalo and with the Jets. Aside from eviscerating him on a daily basis, Im certain vs the Bills when he was a jet you were noting that it was about time Fitz throws a pick.



JerrySullivan
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