When the Buffalo Bills placed veteran wide receiver Lee Evans on Injured Reserve prior to their Week 15 game against the Miami Dolphins, many believed that the Dolphins - who have been shredded by Evans on numerous occasions - had dodged a bullet.
Buffalo entered the contest with, quite literally, the most anonymous group of receivers you'll ever find on an NFL roster. Stevie Johnson, the headline name of the group, was a seventh-round pick in 2008, and is a first-year starter. David Nelson, Donald Jones and Naaman Roosevelt? All rookies. All undrafted this past April.
Miami entered the game with the NFL's sixth-rated pass defense, and the fifth-rated defense overall. The Bills had no shot at moving the ball through the air, right? As Lee Corso might say: not so fast, my friend.
The no-name group of Johnson, Nelson, Jones and Roosevelt hauled in 12 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns in Buffalo's 17-14 road win over Miami. Each receiver had at least one reception of 18 yards, and Nelson and Johnson hauled in critical touchdown receptions in the win. All other Bills receivers combined for four catches and 39 yards.
Ryan Fitzpatrick expressed confidence in his young receivers after news broke of Evans' injury, and his confidence is clearly well-placed. Next season, the Bills will get Evans, Roscoe Parrish and fourth-round pick Marcus Easley - who showed great promise over the summer - back into the fold. Wide receiver, ladies and gentlemen, is clearly the most talented area on Buffalo's roster - and perhaps the biggest surprise group of the 2010 season, as well.