The second half of the 2015 season was when the connection between Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins was not only established, but completely exploded. Taylor hit Watkins for seven touchdowns over the last nine games of the season, after just two in the first seven outings. Watkins also rolled up 900 of his 1,047 receiving yards in those final nine games, a total that was third-best in the league over that span with only Antonio Brown and Julio Jones ahead of him. So why did it take half the season for Taylor and Watkins to get in sync?
Taylor, who made an in studio appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Friday, explained why it was difficult to get acclimated to one another on the field early in the season.
“If people remember Sammy was injured throughout the preseason so I really didn’t get a chance to work with him then,” said Taylor. “Through the last OTA period he was rehabbing (hip surgery) as well so I didn’t get a chance to work with him. Early in the season we connected on some things. Then he got injured early in the season in Week 3 at Miami and then I got injured a couple of weeks after that against Tennessee.”
Though injured both players made the trip with the team to London for the Week 7 game against Jacksonville. It was there that they spent a lot of time outlining what they had to get accomplished on the field when they were healthy.
“We spent some time talking a lot in London when we were getting treatment together,” said Taylor. “So we got on the same page, and when it was time to come back on the field for both of us we had talked through a lot of things.
“I remember throwing some with him after the bye week and trying to understand how to work off each other. He’s one of the top receivers in this league and I have to get him the ball. He can be very dynamic once the ball is in his hands. We got on the same page and trusted each other and that continued to build. He is one of the best receivers in the league at tracking the ball. I love playing with him and I like what we have going on and we’re going to continue to keep building.”
Perhaps the best example of their quarterback-receiver relationship reaching critical mass was in Kansas City when Taylor let Watkins dominate the first half, scoring on a pair of passes, even when he wasn’t completely open.
“It’s a trust factor and that’s something we talk about. Just giving him a chance,” said Taylor. “If your best guy is one-on-one with the safety or one-on-one with the corner and the safety is coming, but not in the picture, then you feel like he’s open. Like he told me, ‘Just give me a chance and I can either catch it or knock it down.’ And we’ll take those chances.”
Tags: Bills Radio Network, Sammy Watkins, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills