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Taylor to Watkins connection exploding down the stretch


Sammy Watkins outran everybody. He burned Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland off the line of scrimmage, and he left safety Deangelo Hall in the dust as he sprinted into the right corner of the end zone to corral a 48-yard pass from quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

Watkins athleticism certainly played a part in the Bills second touchdown of the game, but the wide receiver gave most of the credit to his quarterback.

"I couldn't have asked for a better ball," said Watkins. "He dropped it in. It was so perfect. Like I said, it's what we work on every week. We go over it. We prepared. We work on different looks, and we got the perfect look. He just launched the ball, and I had to go get it and make a play."

Taylor indeed made a great throw, leaving the ball just in front of Watkins, who brought it in with both hands. The touchdown pass was evidence of Watkins and Taylor's growing chemistry on the field. The pair has connected for nine touchdowns, six in the last four games.

"It's just trust. Ty and I just believe in each other, and we're just putting in the work as a whole," said Watkins. "No one will have to worry about Ty and me. We're on the same page, and we're just going to continue to work and grow as teammates and just do what we have to do to win."

"We're going to continue to keep building on it," said Taylor. "There are two more games left for us to build and go out there and work on things for the future."

The combination found the end zone a second time on the team's final offensive drive. This time, Watkins ran a streak route down the left sideline, and Taylor put great touch on a ball that floated between the safety and the cornerback into Watkins hands.

The second touchdown was Watkins' ninth score on the season. He is the first Bills receiver to catch that many since Stevie Johnson in 2010.

Watkins piled up additional accolades in the team's 35-25 loss at Washington. With 111 receiving yards, he recorded his eighth career 100-yard game. He is the ninth Bills receiver with eight such games. His 48-yard score made him the second Bill to produce a 40-yard reception in four consecutive games. Elbert Debenion had a five-game streak in 1964.

The former first-round pick also broke the record for most career receptions by a Bill in his first two seasons with the team. His second catch of the day gave him 106 catches in his first two years. The previous record (105 receptions) was held by Jerry Butler and Robert Woods. Watkins finished the game with three more grabs, five total, giving him 109 for his career.

While he admitted the records and streaks were nice, Watkins cited a need for himself to take the next step as a leader for this team.

"We have to have more leaders," he said. "Like myself, I have to step up and speak to the team. That's what I have to do to get over that hump."

Taylor echoed his wide receiver's call for more leadership, a testament that their bond extends beyond the field of play.

"The more leaders, the better the team, but it's going to come gradually," he said. "Guys have to find a way to lead in their own way and just hold each other accountable."

Taylor wants to use the final two games of this season to further develop his bond with Watkins for the long term betterment of the organization.

"As far as finishing out the season strong, we definitely want to finish with two wins," he said. "But there are definitely some things we can work on in practice and in these games moving forward that will help us in the long run."

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