With the Bills three most experienced receivers not dressing for today's preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts, it was a big opportunity for the younger receivers to show their skills. Three of the five touchdowns for Buffalo were scored by rookie receivers.
Second-round pick Robert Woods filled in for Stevie Johnson on the outside, and displayed good awareness. He caught four catches for 32 yards from quarterback E.J. Manuel.
Third rounder Marquise Goodwin also had a big day. His biggest play was the 107-yard kickoff return in the second quarter. His took his first return from five-yards deep and brought it 53 yards to the Bills' 47.
"Give all the credit to the guys that were blocking for me, really," Goodwin said. "Following behind Frank Summers, he took the end out and I just cut off his butt and cut up field and cut across the field and just ran for my life."
Goodwin said the return was originally supposed to be right-middle. He added he didn't think about taking a knee.
"I'm bringing it out every time," Goodwin said. "Until the other returner, Frank, keeps me in, I'm bringing it out every time."
Goodwin's teammates felt his return kept the team energized for the rest of the game.
"Marquise had a great kick return for us, and that really ignited the whole team," Manuel said. "(He) got a spark going for us and we were able to go out there and put some more points on the board."
Head Coach Doug Marrone said Goodwin is one of the fastest guys he's ever been with on the field.
"It's not surprising he's able to get those two big returns and the one return for a touchdown," He said. "The guys that have been with us through training camp obviously have seen him do some good things, not just as a receiver but in the return game. Everyone has seen him."
Marrone also said he was surprised and would like to have seen more go routes called. With Goodwin's speed, that could mean more time for him.
Meanwhile Woods was Manuel's go-to guy during the two-minute drive at the end of the first half. Three of Woods' grabs came then for a total of 25 yards. His last catch of the day was a 12-yard crossing pattern and a heads-up play, running out of bounds to stop the clock with under one minute remaining in the half.
Manuel liked what every receiver did during the two-minute offense.
"All those receivers did great job, especially Wood. Woody being the young guy," he said.
Rookies scored four of the five touchdowns Sunday. Goodwin said he thought the rookie class did a good job.
"There are a lot of things we can work on, but the rookie class they came in and we did what we were supposed to do," Goodwin said.
Marrone complimented Woods' awareness too. He said it was a combined effort of the coaches and the players.
"Give credit to (Tashard) Choice and Woods and when they were catching the ball, moving up the field vertically to get the clock stopped," he said. "Credit to the coaches, credit to the players. They really did a nice job of the management and the execution."
Brandon Kaufman and Da'Rick Rogers also saw action. Kaufman had two catches for 34 yards including a five-yard score. His first catch of 14-yards was negated for offensive holding. Rogers' only catch was a six-yard score in the third quarter. Chris Hogan also had two catches for 11 yards.
All the receivers would get opportunities to demonstrate their skills moving forward, Marrone said.
Marcus Easley led receivers for the day. He caught seven passes for 94 yards including one for 29 yards and one for 13 yards. Easley, a fourth-round draft pick in 2010, demonstrated speed and experience by consistently separated himself from coverage.
Marrone said that all receivers did a good job getting separation, but commented on Easley specifically saying he made some really nice plays.