1 – Fans create a magical atmosphere for Thurman Thomas ceremony
There wasn't a dry eye in the house at halftime of Buffalo's Week 8 contest with the Patriots.
The Bills used the break to honor Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas, retiring his No. 34 jersey number. The extravagant ceremony, emceed by former ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman, took place at New Era Field's 50-yard-line on top of the logo that Thomas proudly wore on the side of his helmet for over a decade.
Thomas, a former NFL MVP who accumulated over 16,500 scrimmage yards throughout his career, is objectively one of greatest players to ever lace up a pair of cleats. Buffalo coach Sean McDermott was honored to be in attendance of the ceremony.
"Congratulations to Thurman," McDermott said. "Neat environment, really, really special. We were able to get back out there after half there for a minute or two to see some of it. To see all of the support, the fans, really special moment and I'm glad to be a part of it."
All-time Buffalo greats such as Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, and Andre Reed were also in attendance. Bills wide receiver Zay Jones could feel the passion in the crowd, and he feels it's unfortunate that the team could not ride that momentum on the field.
"It was great. It was packed," Jones said. "You saw the energy. Incredible honor for Thurman. That meant a lot for him and his family. A lot of people in attendance, everybody's watching. You just want to do better, perform better. You want to represent your organization to the best of your ability. We could've done better."
2 - Julian Stanford does a 'fantastic job' in place of Edmunds
Tremaine Edmunds did not play in the second half of Buffalo's Week 8 loss to the Patriots. The rookie linebacker suffered a concussion in the second quarter of the contest and did not return.
Julian Stanford took over the middle linebacker role in Edmunds' absence, and the 28-year-old played well when his number was called upon. Stanford totaled two tackles in the game, one of which was for a loss.
Stanford, who primarily plays on special teams, became the quarterback of the defense in the second half, receiving and relaying the defensive play calls. Though unexpected, Stanford was ready when he was thrust into the starting lineup.
"I feel like I was well prepared," Stanford said. "Every week, game in and game out, I prepare as if I'm playing the game. Every week, my preparation is to the max, it's everything that I can do to prepare myself to play in case I do have to step in to play the mike backer."
Even when playing at middle linebacker, Stanford kept his special teams duties. Playing at full capacity in all facets of the game is something that Stanford strives to do.
"It's a challenge, but it's a challenge that I'm accepting," Stanford said. "Playing to the best of my ability. Obviously, I played more snaps, but I feel like it's go out there, give it everything I have, and play at a high level to the best of my ability."
Stanford's teammates were pleased with his strong performance. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams feels as though the defense didn't miss a beat once Stanford entered the game.
"I think Julian did a fantastic job," Williams said. "I think he came in, he commanded the team. I think he did a great job, hats off to him. Obviously, we miss Tremaine, we want him out there, but Julian did a fantastic job."
Photos from all the action at New Era Field as the Buffalo Bills take on the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football Week 8.
3 - Bills host WR Terrelle Pryor on visit
The Bills hosted free agent wide receiver Terrelle Pryor on a visit Monday. Head coach Sean McDermott confirmed the visit without providing much detail.
"He was here [Monday]," McDermott said. "We spent some time with him [Monday]. I'm going to leave it there right now."
Pryor, 29, was released by the Jets earlier this month after suffering a groin injury. Now healthy, Pryor is looking to make a return to the field, and that return may come with the Bills. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Buffalo has offered a contract to Pryor. The team has not confirmed this.
In six games this season, Pryor has reeled in 14 receptions for 235 yards and two touchdowns.
Throughout his seven-year career, Pryor has caught 113 passes for 1,546 yards. The majority of that total came in the 2016 season when he caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards with the Cleveland Browns.
General manager Brandon Beane also confirmed the visit, stating that the workout took place on Monday due to Week 9 game-planning.
"He visited [Monday]," Beane said. "We worked him out. He had a good work out. It was good to meet him. That's really where it is, he went back home . . . A lot of times we do Tuesday workouts, but the game being [Monday], it was easier to do it [Monday] knowing all the stuff we've got to get ready for Chicago starting [Tuesday] for next week."