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Fine emerges in loss to Jets

By After sitting out the first six games with a serious thumb injury that required surgery, tight end Derek Fine didn't waste any time racking up his first career points.

The rookie tight end released off the right side of Buffalo's offensive line 4:28 into Sunday's 26-17 home loss to the New York Jets before scoring his first career touchdown.

After finding a pocket in the defensive coverage, Fine set up shop about five yards deep in the end zone before Trent Edwards fired a high pass which Fine grabbed for his first career NFL catch.

While the Jets left Fine open for what seemed like an eternity, the Kansas product said the play developed deceivingly fast.

"It actually seemed like it got there a lot faster than you think," Fine said. "It just kind of hit me all real fast. It was great."

Edwards said Fine was not the primary receiver on the play. Luckily, he had enough time to find the rookie.

"He was number three in the progression," Edwards said. "I went to number one and number two and kind of had to slide a little bit and just look to my check downs…I saw Derek (Fine) waving his hands and just threw him the ball."

After catching the pass and looking unsure of what to do next, Fine made like an old pro and spiked the ball high into the air. Caught up in the moment, Fine said he didn't even realize the ball bounced away but said he was glad running back Marshawn Lynch retrieved the item so many NFL players keep as a personal memento.

Although the touchdown put the Bills ahead, 7-3, they would soon relinquish the lead, never to recover it.

Fine put the touchdown in perspective, talking about how it eventually wasn't enough to help the Bills get the win.

"I'm glad I got the touchdown, it was great, but in the end result it doesn't really matter," Fine said. "It'd been a lot better if we could get the win but without the win it's just another touchdown."

Edwards talked about the performance of Fine and fellow tight end Robert Royal in light of tight coverage on Buffalo's main receivers.

"They took away Lee Evans and we had matchups inside on their linebackers with our tight ends and we had to get Rob (Royal) the ball and Derek (Fine) the ball and Derek (Schouman) the ball and that's kind of the give and take of the game of offense."

Edwards said he expected to work more in the upcoming weeks with Fine and the Bills' other two tight ends.

"Yeah, it's going to need to happen," Fine said. "We're going to need to have them step up. That's going to be critical for us to have another couple tight ends behind Rob (Royal) to make plays in the passing game. I thought they did a great job especially for going through a lot of these things for the first time as a rookie and he did a great job all day for us."

Fine, who finished with four receptions for 43 yards and a long of 20, praised the Bills for keeping him inactive rather than putting him on injured reserve after he fell on his thumb while covering a kick in the preseason game against Indianapolis.

"I was glad, obviously, that they didn't put me on I-R because I wanted to play," Fine said. "…I appreciate every day that I'm here. I appreciate the Bills organization for keeping me and having the opportunity to keep playing the rest of the season."

For now, Fine said his focus is on doing whatever the team asks of him.

"Honestly I think I just need to bring whatever I can," Fine said. "(It) may be blocking or catching, whatever it is. Whatever I can do to contribute and help out, that's what I want to bring. I want to be here to help and I want to make this team as good as it can be."

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