Bills unheralded talent shining

After Sunday's thrilling comeback win over the Bengals in Cincinnati, Ryan Fitzpatrick was asked if there's a special bond that the players in Buffalo's locker room share with several of them being far from household names and hyped up stars in the NFL.

In a league where the big names get all the publicity, the playmakers for the Bills are bucking that trend boasting a cast of blue collar performers that have simply been getting the job done.

Fitzpatrick, who entered the starting lineup in Week 3, was the sixth to last pick in the 2005 NFL draft. Now he's second in the league to only Drew Brees (19) in touchdown passes since he stepped under center for the Bills with 18.

He's also one of the best passers in the league on third down (4th) and has Buffalo more successful in scoring red zone touchdowns than they have been in years.

Steve Johnson as a fellow seventh-round pick has emerged as one of the league leaders in receiving prowess.

There's a distinct kinship that exists between Buffalo's players that were second guessed for their game breaking ability in the past based on where they were drafted more than by what they could do if given an opportunity.

"I think that's part of our identity, kind of the no names," said Fitzpatrick. "We're all in it for each other and that's fine with us. My job is to put them in a position to make plays. All the guys out there are pretty much the lower level guys in terms of draft status or national attention. We're out there trying to make plays. Obviously we don't get any hype or the national stories. I guess we're the no names that are doing well."

Fred Jackson, despite outgaining the likes of Chris Johnson and Ray Rice in total yards from scrimmage last season, is still one of the most unheralded players in the league due in part to his Division III college roots and journey through the lower professional leagues of football.

All he's done the last two weeks when given more than 20 touches in the game is rush for 249 yards, catch nine passes for 50 yards and score four touchdowns in Buffalo's only two wins of the season.

"More than anything we know what type of road everybody has traveled," said Jackson. "Not everybody has been that first-round draft pick or household name so you've got to fight for everything. You've got to go out and try to make a name for yourself by making plays on the field and that's what everybody in this locker room is about. It's another attribute of the guys in this locker room to be able to go out and keep working."

The story was no different on the defensive side of the ball Sunday where Drayton Florence had a fumble return for a touchdown and an interception. Just two seasons ago Florence was considered a free agency failure in Jacksonville, but he's arguably played the two most consistent seasons of his career in Buffalo.

George Wilson is a former undrafted receiver that flipped over to the defensive side of the ball to make the Bills 53-man roster a couple of seasons ago after toiling on NFL practice squads for three years. He was given a chance to step into the defensive lineup Sunday and came away with an interception in the end zone and broke up a deep ball in Sunday's victory.

"You've just got guys that are hungry to get out on the field and help make plays to impact the game," Wilson said. "Nobody cares what round you're drafted in or how you got here. The fact is that you're here and with this coaching staff you're here for a reason."

"Everybody wants to be great," said head coach Chan Gailey. "We have a bunch of guys who are not known yet. I would hope in the future that that might change and we have the opportunity to do that. I've always said this: Having a bunch of superstars doesn't make a great team but having a great team will eventually create some superstars."

The Bills aren't there yet, but you can't deny their effort in trying to achieve that end result.

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