1. Freedom in route running has helped John Brown excel in Buffalo
John Brown has been the top wide receiver in the AFC this season. His 817 receiving yards rank first among all wide receivers and second overall only behind Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Part of that success has been the freedom Brown has to run more routes in Brian Daboll’s offense.
"I've been running routes since high school. Certain offenses that I got put in they liked me to go deep, so I was doing what I was told to do. Now I'm here and they let me run routes,” Brown said on WGR 550 Howard and Jeremy show. Routes underneath, getting open on short routes, so I'm just happy that I'm able to show that I'm an all-around athlete as a receiver. Even though it came kind of late in my career, I'm still just thankful that I'm able to show that I'm not just a deep threat."
But Brown has to be on the same page as Josh Allen. The two have taken extra time during practice to get timing down in their first season playing together.
"We take time out, even at practice when the defense is going, we'll run a few routes,” Brown said. “He gives me a couple of signals, and I give him a signal back to let him know whether I like it or not. If he gives it to me, we show body language and things like that, but it's getting better every week."
2. Isaiah McKenzie getting more playing time heading into this matchup with his former team
Isaiah McKenzie played 78% of snaps last week against the Miami Dolphins, a season high. He only trailed Cole Beasley and John Brown in snap count at the position. McKenzie had to fight for a roster spot during training camp and is only a year removed from being put on waivers by the Denver Broncos. This Sunday, he’ll get a chance to play his former team.
“In Denver I didn’t play much receiver. So, when I got here they gave me an opportunity. They gave me little plays here and there. But now I’m in the flow of the offense. I feel like each and every week I’m getting better running routes on the outside,” McKenzie told The Buffalo News.
McKenzie has been utilized in a lot of jet sweep action this season and wants to prove that he can be a reliable receiving option.
“I want to show I can make the big catch when Josh (Allen) throws it to me,” McKenzie added. “If I want more, I have to show them I can run routes, I can block."
3. Bills hoping for repeat performance offensively
Buffalo put up their best offensive performance of the season against Miami and hopes for similar results against Denver this week.
“We really found our identity as an offense,” Josh Allen said. “We’ve got a good sense of who we are as a team. We’re gonna continue to roll with what we’ve been doing.”
Allen spoke about how the Bills are going to do just that.
“(We have to) Play good, complimentary football, especially early,” Allen said. “I’ve been talking to Coach McDermott (about) what we need to do as an offense. It’s to get off to a fast start and put up some points early and try to hold on to the football and not make those early mistakes. It’s not any different from any other game we’ve played but now they’re gonna be one of the better defenses that we see all year.”