How Backups Win NFL Games

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When Jermaine Gresham went down with a hamstring injury, QB Andy Dalton lost one of his most reliable offensive weapons. Its no secret in today’s NFL that rookie QB’s love big, athletic tight ends like Gresham, and losing him could have been disastrous to the Bengals’ offense, as he ranks third on the team in receiving yards and second in TD receptions.

 

Enter Donald Lee, a 9-year veteran, had played with the Green Bay Packers since 2005, serving mostly as a backup TE, even being third or fourth on the depth chart at times. He was signed by the Bengals prior to the start of the regular season, and wasn’t expected to contribute much, if anything to the young Bengals. That changed whenGresham went down and Lee was thrust into the starting lineup and has made key plays at pivotal points in the last two games.

 

Against the Seattle Seahwaks, Lee had a 14-yard reception on a TD drive that gave the Bengals a 17-3 cushion. He finished the game with three catches for 44 yards. In the two wins against Tenessee and Seattle, Lee had six catches for 93 yards. We see this ever year in the NFL with teams who have winning records. Having good depth is as important as how good the starter is, because once the starter goes down, your now as good as your backup is.

Against Tennessee, he had two catches for 47 yards on the Bengals’ first scoring drive, including a 25-yard reception on 3rd and 9 at the Tennessee 33-yard-line  in the second quarter of a game the team would win 24-17.

 

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