Sixth-year wide receiver Andre Holmes is not a player many fans look at as a play-maker. Holmes is seen by most as a great special teamer, a hard worker, and overall a team guy. Surprisingly, he has made some high impact plays when given the opportunity during his first season as a Bill.
His stats aren’t eye popping; he has been targeted 19 times, catching 12 balls for 113 yards and three touchdowns. But the context of the receptions, the gravity of the moments in which he has come up big, have fallen by the wayside, in my opinion. This is too bad, because mental toughness is often overlooked by those very same fans that want to label him purely a special teamer. They don’t want to count the fact that he has only played in 44.1% of the snaps, or that he has been asked to come in on critical down-and-distances and asked to be on top of his game on short notice — moments such as on third downs and in the red zone. In short, Holmes has come up big in the clutch.
Of his 19 targets, 12 have been on third down, according to Sharp Football Stats. Holmes has caught seven of those third down targets, including one touchdown.
The 58% success rate ranks him 7th among receivers who have 10 or more targets in the same situations. This also ties him with his teammate, WR Jordan Matthews.
When you look at it in an even more important area of the field, the red zone, Holmes has also produced quality plays. In the red zone, Holmes has a perfect five receptions on five targets, which includes all three of his touchdowns. That ranks him tied for 1st in the league in success rate.
Just for comparison’s sake, Justin Hunter caught four receptions out of seven (58% success rate) all of last season in the red zone, which included three touchdowns. Hunter averaged five yards, while Holmes is averaging 5.6.
Many fans were calling for the Bills to cut Holmes as part of the compensatory pick formula, and if they had, then I honestly wouldn’t have questioned it. But considering what the team asks of Holmes on special teams and in critical situations, I have to give him credit.
Twelve receptions for 113 yards is mediocre, there’s no denying that. But you also can’t deny that he has made some plays in critical moments.
Holmes has shown preparation, discipline, focus, and mental toughness. Mental toughness is a trait that this team has lacked for many years and it’s one that doesn’t necessarily translate to a stat sheet. For Holmes, it’s apparent.