As frustrating as it was for Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown to sit on the sidelines for the last five weeks, his extended stay on the injured reserve list is considered a blessing in disguise by the veteran wideout.
Throughout the beginning of the season, Brown was in and out of the lineup with different injuries. He played against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3, but he only tallied 29 snaps and didn’t register any receptions.
Three weeks later, after sitting out Buffalo’s matchup against the Tennesse Titans, Brown participated in 96-percent of Buffalo’s offensive snaps against the Kansas City Chiefs but didn’t record a single catch.
Brown suffered a knee/ankle injury against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10 and he tried to come back after Buffalo’s bye week. But, the Bills ultimately placed Brown on the injured reserve and gave him time to recover properly.
“I definitely feel like it gave me the time to heal properly,” Brown said during a video conference call on Tuesday. “Not even just that though, it gave me more time to heal because I was supposed to come back to a different game. I’m not allowed to play in Denver because of my conditions (sickle cell) so it gave me even more time to heal up.”
The former third-round draft pick was activated off of the injured reserve list before Buffalo’s game against the New England Patriots but was then deemed a close contact to running back TJ Yeldon who tested positive for COVID-19. So, Brown was given even more time.
When Brown finally returned this past week against the Miami Dolphins it was like he had never left. He caught four passes for 72 yards and a touchdown just before halftime that showed what Brown is truly capable of in Buffalo’s offense.
With just under two minutes left in the first half, Bills quarterback Josh Allen hit Brown with a 27-yard toe-dragging pass on the left sideline to stop the clock. Two plays later, he hit Brown over the top with a 32-yard touchdown pass that put the Bills up 28-6 heading into halftime.
After a standout performance, Brown was excited to be back and felt like it was enough to knock off the rust.
“I feel like to play the first half to test it out and see how my body feels and how I adjust to everything was good enough for me,” Brown said on Tuesday.
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Brown’s Teammates Had His Back
One of the most frustrating things for an injured athlete is sitting on the sidelines and knowing he could do something to help his team win, but the Bills didn’t necessarily need Brown during his injured reserve stint and for him, that was good to see.
“Just watching the guys have fun, that was the most stressful thing, but in a way I was relieved,” Brown said during his video conference call. “We had guys making plays left and right so I could rest up and get fully healthy like I wanted to rather than things going bad and then rushing myself to get back and help my team.”
While Brown was on the injured reserve list, the Bills offense was clicking on all cylinders as they went 5-0 and averaged 34.6 points per game. Now, with Brown back in the mix, the Bills offense can take another step forward as they are fully healthy and ready to make a run back to the Super Bowl.
Getting Into Rythm With Bills Offense
Bills fans saw glimpses of it on Sunday, as Brown made plays throughout the first half, but the best is still yet to come and the veteran wide receiver now knows he has to bring his level of play up to the entire offense.
The Bills offense has been operating at an elite level and Brown knows he has to assimilate back into their rhythm rather than the opposite as the Bills head into their Wild Card playoff game.
“It was just something that was hard to deal with, watching the offense and the whole team play outstanding ball and just have to sit back and watch,” Brown said during his video conference call. “It came to me that I have to get on beat with them now and I have to be able to join them. I have to get on their rhythm.
With Brown returning and Cole Beasley on the mend, the Bills will hopefully return to full strength on Saturday for the first part of their playoff push.