Niagara Gazette

September 8, 2008

BILLS: Denney played starring role

By Jay Skurski<br><a href="mailto:skurskij@gnnewspaper.com">E-mail Jay</a>

The Buffalo Bills have played just one game in the 2008 regular season, but already have a pair of highlights for NFL Films’ annual review.

One was Roscoe Parrish’s 63-yard punt return, the other of course Brian Moorman’s touchdown pass to Ryan Denney. Yes, you read the last half of that sentence correctly.

“At that time, it was a huge play,” Bills coach Dick Jauron said after his team’s 34-10 win. “It had to be a huge letdown for them. Their defense gets a stop, and they’re expecting a field goal, and it ends up seven points, and then of course the crowd just gets energized.”

With Denney lined up at the left sideline, having an innocent conversation with an official, Seattle scrambled to get 11 players on the field, none of them paying attention to the Bills defensive end. Moorman took the snap, stood up and lobbed a perfect pass to Denney, who raced to the end zone untouched.

“We’ve probably done it six or seven times in practice and I’ve been 100 percent,” Denney said of making the catch. “So far I haven’t dropped one.”

Denney said after the game the play was actually called in the first quarter on a third down, but the offense was able to pick up the first down.

“Coach (Bobby) April does a great job. He takes his time in practice and does a good job in meetings trying to prepare the special teams players to do their parts. He knows that special teams can determine the outcome of a game and (Sunday) was a great example of that. We were playing well on offense and defense, but special teams really changed the momentum,” Denney said.

After missing much of the 2007 season with a foot injury he admits to trying and return too soon from, Denney also showed Sunday he can be more than just a contributor on special teams.

He registered a sack — one of five of Matt Hasselbeck on the day — a quarterback hit and a tackle for a loss. Along with providing a solid pass rush, the defensive line helped to limit the Seahawks to just 85 rushing yards.

“They throw a lot of short and quick passes and it’s hard to get (in the backfield) because they have some good offensive linemen,” Denney said. “We did have some good pressure from the inside tackles, Marcus Stroud and Kyle Williams. We had Aaron Schobel wrapping around. We had four defensive ends standing up and I was able to come through the middle. I think we were able to confuse their protection from a scheme standpoint. That’s how we were able to be effective.”