As a wide receiver one might look at Marcus Easley’s receiving line and see just a single catch for 20 yards. What they’ll miss are the back-to-back plays that gave the Bills the lead to erase what was a 21-point deficit Thursday night, and potentially have an impact on his roster status.
Down 31-24 early in the fourth quarter the Bills were set to receive following a Lions’ field goal drive. A penalty on the initial kickoff moved the ball back five yards to the Lions 30. Easley fielded the second kick and did not hesitate. With a gaping hole on the right side of the return formation the tall receiver hit it and was at top speed by the time he reached his own 40.
Very quickly it was a one-on-one match with the kicker, 41-year old Jason Hanson. Easley cut to the sideline and it was over. A 100-yard kick return to pull Buffalo to within a point.
An extra point would’ve tied it, but the Bills went for two. After a false start penalty, Tyler Thigpen took the snap from the Lions’ seven and fit a pass into Easley’s bread basket on a quick slant to give the Bills the lead (32-31) as Easley fought to break the plane of the goal line.
“I just tried my best, I fought as hard as I could,” said Easley. ”First and foremost, make the catch, and then try to push my way in—use my size to my advantage at that point. I just fought as hard as I could and tried to get in the end zone.”
Though the lead was short lived, those two plays weren’t lost on Bills head coach Chan Gailey.
“Huge,” said Gailey. “That’s a great lesson for our kickoff coverage team. They gave us a second chance and from five yards back we returned it all the way.”
Easley isn’t sure of the significance of the plays he made against the Lions in the final opportunity for evaluations.
“I mean, it can mean all kinds of things,” he said of his game Thursday. “It was definitely a sigh of relief—I wish it would have happened a little bit earlier. I wish I had been a little more consistent. I’m just glad it happened, and it’s all in the coaches hands now. I’m just hoping for the best. But, like I said, I felt really good about the game, so whatever happens happens.”
Tags: Bills preseason, Chan Gailey, Marcus Easley
Posted in Inside the Bills