Deonte Thompson had one of the better performances by a Buffalo Bills wide receiver so far this season with his 107-yard receiving day in the team’s win over the Tampa Buccaneers on Sunday. Thompson made several impressive plays throughout the day, but his shining moment came late in the fourth quarter on a 44-yard pass play down the sideline that helped the Bills score an equalizing touchdown.
If you hadn’t heard of Thompson before Sunday, don’t feel bad. Few had. The Bills signed the 28-year-old, six-year veteran to a deal worth the league minimum last Tuesday. The Florida Gators product went undrafted in 2012 before landing with the Baltimore Ravens and playing two seasons there, one of which he spent on the team’s practice roster. In 2014, Thompson came over to Buffalo and played — though he didn’t record any stats — in the season finale. He was cut by the Bills ahead of the 2015 season, with Rex Ryan running the show on the sidelines then, before joining the Chicago Bears and playing with them up until he was released by the club and signed by the Bills last week.
The Bills front office obviously has confidence in Thompson, beating the New England Patriotsto the punch, who the receiver visited with the day before he signed with Buffalo for the second time. But more importantly, Thompson has plenty of confidence in himself.
“I didn’t think I would have 100 yards, but I knew I was going to make some plays today,” Thompson said postgame on Sunday. “That’s just me. If you dress me up, I’m going to make plays. To have 100 yards, it was icing on the top.”
Thompson admits that he’s still having a hard time understanding why he was cut from the Bears. He said he felt like he was one of the leaders on that team and pointed out that his stats were among the best of the Bears wide receivers. Thompson’s 107 yards in a Bills uniform on Sunday marked the second time in his career that he’s cracked the century mark in receiving. It was also marked the first time this season that a Buffalo wide receiver did it — tight end Charles Clay had 112 yards receiving in Week 4. Additionally, Thompson’s 11 receptions in 2017 as a member of the Bears, were more than any Bills wideout had coming into Week 7.
Undoubtedly, the new Bills receiver has talent, but it also doesn’t hurt that he has history with quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The two were members of the Ravens for the entire duration of Thompson’s tenure with the team, and even before that, they knew each as high schoolers.
“Just [Thompson’s] confidence level,” Taylor said when asked about the receiver’s performance postgame. “Like I said we’ve had plenty of reps together in Baltimore, not necessarily game reps, but of course preseason reps. We work servicing our defense as well to throughout the season. Like I said just the chemistry. I trust him. I trust all those guys. He was able to take advantage of some of the matchups and he was able to make some plays downfield.”
Thompson certainly looks to fit the mold of a player that Bills head coach Sean McDermott likes to have on his team. In his post-game availability, the coach talked about Thompson having physical and mental toughness, an underdog mentality, that the coach loves. His resume certainly lines up with that of the majority of the Bills wide receivers, too, in that most of the group is compromised of wide receivers that most people are not very familiar with. That might be his predicament, currently, but if his first game as a Bill is an indication of what’s to come, Thompson seems eager to take advantage of the opportunity the Bills organization has afforded him and at the very least make a name for himself among the team’s fan base.