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Former Bills Make their Mark on Sunday

With the Bills on their bye for Week 6, most fans got to sit around and enjoy a solid afternoon of football. A good chunk of that viewing featured games with plenty of former Bills players on the field. With so much roster turnover over the last couple of seasons, there are plenty of players now making an impact on opposing teams — especially on the offensive side of the ball. Here’s a look at some of those top playmakers that have left the Bills over the past couple of seasons, and how they did this week.

 

Marquise Goodwin: The speedster has stayed relatively healthy during his first season with San Francisco, but he was held in check on Sunday against the Redskins. Goodwin was targeted five times and came down with two receptions for 26 yards. He was coming off one of the best performances of his career the week before, racking up 116 receiving yards.

Mike Gillislee: The running back still put up decent numbers on Sunday, but his play has cooled considerably since his tremendous start to the season. He carried the ball 10 times for 44 yards, but has now failed to reach the end zone in four consecutive games. Gillislee and Dion Lewis split the carries out of New England’s backfield against the Jets, but he also found himself in Bill Bellichick’s doghouse for a couple of drives after losing a fumble.

Chris Hogan: Sunday was the first game since Week 1 in which Hogan was held to under four catches. As a result, he had a limited impact against the Jets. He caught one pass for 19 yards and also had two drops. Despite a quiet day, Hogan has had another big season with the Patriots. His role has expanded after Julian Edelman’s injury, and the 28-year-old already has five touchdown grabs on the season.

Stephon Gilmore: He was a late addition to the team’s injury report over the weekend with a concussion, and did not suit up on Sunday. With Gilmore on the sidelines, New England’s secondary was still gashed by Josh McCown for 354 yards through the air.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: Just when you thought you’d heard the last of the Harvard gunslinger, Jameis Winston went down with a shoulder injury early in the first half, and Fitzpatrick nearly brought Tampa Bay back from 31-6 down against the Cardinals. Ultimately, Arizona held on, but Fitzpatrick threw for 290 yards, completing 22 passes and three touchdowns. Despite two interceptions, it was a strong performance for a quarterback who hasn’t seen regular season action in nearly a year. The severity of Winston’s injury has yet to be determined, leaving open the possibility that Fitzpatrick will once again square off against his former team when the Buccaneers head to Buffalo next week.

Sammy Watkins: It was another puzzling week for Watkins, as he simply isn’t getting targeted in the Rams’ offense. For the third straight week he had one reception or fewer, grabbing one pass on Sunday against the Jaguars for 11 yards. Watkins has been a pretty good sport about his lack of production in the offense, but it would be hard to blame a guy with such talent if he begins to show frustration. Robert Woods, meanwhile, continues to be Los Angeles’s number one target. He caught five passes for 70 yards and overcame a lost fumble to pick up some key yardage down the stretch. He leads the team in both routes run and receiving yards. Woods was signed to a lucrative contract in the offseason and has lived up to it thus far.

Reggie Ragland: Buffalo’s former second round selection had his first multi-tackle performance of his career against the Steelers on Sunday. Ragland made four tackles and was active for Kansas City for the third straight game. The Chiefs kept him out of the lineup the first two weeks of the season, but it seems as though Ragland has found a niche in Kansas City as a solid depth linebacker.

Corey Graham: Graham got signed late in the offseason by Philadelphia and now finds himself on a really good football team. The Eagles are 5-1 after taking care of the Panthers on Thursday Night Football, with Graham playing a supporting role in the secondary. He had a pass defended against Carolina, and has made a handful of tackles on the season. When Ronald Darby returns from his injury it’ll be a veritable Buffalo reunion in the Eagles’ secondary.

 

Division Check:

All three of Buffalo’s AFC East foes were in action on Sunday, as well. The Jets gave the Patriots all they could handle after jumping out to a 14-0 lead. However, New England forced turnovers, had just enough offense, and got some help from the officials to hold off New York late. The Jets outgained the Patriots, and New England just simply doesn’t look like the powerhouse they are clearly capable of being.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, looked down-and-out against the Falcons, but they came back to notch their third win of the season. Jay Ajayi, who ran for over 200 yards twice against the Bills last year, had 26 carries for 130 yards on Sunday. Jay Cutler has now thrown for fewer than 175 yards in three consecutive games, but he did manage to toss two touchdowns. With Sunday’s games settled, the Patriots now sit alone atop the division at 4-2.

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Anthony has covered the Buffalo Bills since 2016, first as a contributor for Buffalobills.com and now for Cover 1. Anthony is a Western New York native and a recent graduate of St. Bonaventure University. In addition to time spent on the Bills beat, he was the lead play-by-play announcer for St. Bonaventure’s Division I sports teams and was a disc jockey for four years at 88.3, The Buzz.

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