With the game already well in hand, Hunter got behind the Jets' secondary and was wide open for rookie quarterback Cardale Jones. Had the ball not been slightly underthrown, Hunter would have likely waltzed into the the end zone. He has yet to live up to his second-round billing and caught just 10 passes this season, but he enters free agency having converted those 10 catches into four scores and three receptions of 20 or more yards.
Hunter caught one of three targets for 16 yards in Sunday's win over the Browns.
There's little utility for reserve receivers in a Buffalo offense dedicated to pounding the ball. Exhibit A is Hunter, who hasn't caught more than one pass in a game since Week 7. The good news is that that Week 7 opponent, Miami, is next on deck. The bad news is that that high-water mark consisted of just two catches for 25 yards. Hunter's size makes him a viable red-zone target, and he was targeted there twice on Sunday. But the famine is too great, and the feast too meager, to look to Hunter week to week.
Hunter's four targets and 38 offensive snaps were his highest sums since Week 8. It didn't make much of a difference in terms of production, however. Since coming to Buffalo, whether he's been on the field for 50 snaps or 15, he's never topped two catches or 30 yards. He's scored four times, so there's value in that, but a potential increase in usage is more cosmetic than useful at this point.
With Sammy Watkins back, Hunter's playing time mostly depends on the health of Robert Woods, who may be out another week or two with a knee injury. Still, Hunter's been in this position before and has yet to catch more than two balls in a game all season, so when Ryan implies more playing time, that might just mean a sprinkle more catches and targets for the league's leanest passing attack.
Incredibly, Hunter has just seven catches all season, and four have gone for scores. His role isn't likely to increase going forward -- he only saw 13 offensive snaps Sunday -- especially with Sammy Watkins back in action, but if you're in a league where touchdowns are heavily weighted, Hunter's size and leaping ability should allow him to get a couple more before the season closes.
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