Buffalo's offense saw another explosion in production against the Patriots Sunday. Ryan Fitzpatrick made use of seven different receiving targets in the game en route to a 337-yard passing day. While it all went for naught in a 37-31 loss, it provided further exposure to what is fast becoming Donald Jones' most productive season to date.
Hampered by injuries each of his first two seasons, Jones has finally been able to stay on the field and his game has benefited as a result. He currently stands tied with Stevie Johnson for receiving touchdowns with four, second in receptions (32) and second in receiving yards (380).
"Donald is starting to emerge as another weapon for us," said head coach Chan Gailey. "So you get Stevie and Donald and Scott (Chandler) and we're starting to develop some diversity where they can't just look at one thing and stop one thing which is where we need to be."
Jones has pulled in half his receptions on the season in the last three games alone, racking up 16 catches for 186 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"I think Donald has really grown this year," said tight end Scott Chandler. "He's starting to get a really good feel for the offense and his niche in the offense. A versatile guy that can play inside and outside and has really been an asset for our team."
"I am getting stronger every week," said Jones. "I am just learning every week what they are doing and playing inside is just fun to me. I am having fun right now."
The third-year wideout has been particularly opportunistic against the Patriots. In his last three games against New England Jones has 13 catches for 265 yards (20.3 avg.) and a pair of scores.
"I've been saying all year, we as a receiving corps, we don't feel like anyone can stop us on the outside," said Jones. "We were moving the ball pretty good, and we'll keep playing that way."
Jones made his two longest receptions in the first half with 22-yard and 18-yard receptions. His first helped the offense finish a drive with a field goal, while the second set up a 1st-and-goal situation, ultimately leading to a three-yard touchdown by Scott Chandler.
In the second half Jones again set up a goal to go situation when he pulled in a six-yard pass on first-and-goal from the seven. Fred Jackson plunged into the end zone two plays later.
His biggest play came on a 3rd-and-goal play from the two-yard line as Fitzpatrick hit him over the middle on a crossing route in the end zone for a fourth quarter touchdown that pulled Buffalo to within a field goal with less than eight minutes remaining.
"There was a lot of confidence after that," said C.J. Spiller. "You could see it when Donald got his touchdown, the guys on the sideline were very confident we could go down and win it, but they just made that play at the end to win it for them."
Jones only has one career reception against the Dolphins, but he firmly believes their success in the passing game can roll right into Thursday night's game against Miami.
"We definitely can carry over," said Jones. "We don't have a lot of time to prepare for that team, but they have the same thing. We'll come out Thursday and hopefully we put up the same performance—without the penalties."