'09 Rewind: Receivers never fulfilled hype

We take a position-by-position look at Buffalo's season. Today the focus is on the Bills' underachieving receiving corps...

The Good: At this point, I'm not sure which is more difficult: complimenting the 2009 Buffalo Bills receiving core or resolving the NBC's late night talk show feud. With that being said, the one positive of the receivers was neither the season of one particular individual nor the play of the collective unit. In fact, the only good thing about Buffalo's receiving core came on one particular play in the Week 11 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Pinned down on their own two-yard line, Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt dialed up a Ryan Fitzpatrick bomb to the much-maligned Terrell Owens, resulting in a 98-yard touchdown, the longest play in Bills history. That highlight was one of the very few noteworthy airmails during the 2009 season, and was the magnum opus of Owens in a Bills uniform.

It's a shame that T.O. most likely isn't going to stick around in 2010 to reciprocate anything akin to that 98-yard touchdown.

The Bad: The most disappointing thing about this receiving corps is that they failed to meet lofty pre-season expectations. After the inking of the aforementioned Owens in March, there was talk around the NFL that a unit consisting of the future Hall of Famer coupled with speedster Lee Evans on the outside and Josh Reed in the slot would be one of the best in the league. However, that certainly did not turn out to be the case. A year-long quarterback carousel, the firing of Turk Schoenert, the abandonment of the no-huddle offense, and injuries along the offensive line significantly hindered the production of the receivers.

Moreover, injuries to Derek Schouman and Derek Fine along with the inexperience of rookie Shawn Nelson left a void at the tight end position. Owens was the leading receiver with 55 catches, tied for the lowest of a leading Bills receiver since the 2007 during the forgettable J.P. Losman era.

The Ugly: I'm about to throw as many statistics at you than balls were caught by Bills receivers this year: the Bills tied for third in the league for fumbles by receivers. The team generated only six catches of 40 yards or more — league-leader Philadelphia had more than thrice that with 21. Buffalo finished 29th in total receptions and plays of 20 yards or more, 24th in YPC (yards per catch), 23rd in touchdown catches, 30th in converting first downs through the air. Lee Evans had the lowest yard total in his career, Owens his second lowest when playing all sixteen games, and Reed's second lowest. Roscoe Parrish was the invisible man on offense, and James Hardy only played one game after coming off last year's ACL tear.

Needless to say, the receiving corps of the Buffalo Bills, although affected by forces out of their control, had a terrible, terrible season.

Grade: C-




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