Buffalo wide receiver Andre Reed was not a happy Bill for most of the season.
After being Buffalo's go-to wide receiver for seven seasons, Reed felt more like a decoy than an offensive threat.
With the departure of offensive coordinator Ted Marchibroda, who had developed the Bills' no-huddle offense, Reed saw his role diminish under new coordinator Tom Bresnahan.
Reed still lined up in the slot position in Buffalo's three and four wide-receiver sets, but somehow he did not see the ball as often.
"With a new offensive coordinator, my role changed," said Reed, who was drafted by the Bills in the fourth round out of Kutztown (Pa.) College in 1985. "He didn't take many chances with the offense. Being new, he was more conservative."
But when Reed was successful, Bills' victories often followed. Early in the season against San Francisco, Reed had 10 catches for 144 yards. Against New England, he had nine catches for 168 yards. Both games resulted in Buffalo victories.
His production dropped off as the Bills began to struggle.
"Teams were taking me away and not letting me catch (the ball) and turn and run with it," said Reed, who lives in Redondo Beach during the off-season.
"I try to control the middle and let the outside guys get man coverage. It was a blessing for me whenever I was lucky enough to get one-on-one coverage."
At times, Reed wanted to talk about his frustration with the lack of passes thrown his way.
He could only dream of the days when he caught 88 passes for 1,312 yards, as he did in 1989.
Even though he would finish the year with 65 catches for 913 yards, Reed caught only three touchdown passes for the season.
To make matters worst, he went through a late-season, four-game stretch in which he caught only eight passes for only 86 yards with no touchdowns.
It was difficult for Reed, 29, to look at his production during the Bills' late-season drive for the playoffs. As a former Pro Bowl selection, he could not accept that he caught only eight passes combined against Indianapolis, the New York Jets, Denver and New Orleans.
When he complained to the coaches, they simply told him that his day was coming and that opponents were taking him away from their offensive game plans.
They told him that in order for the Bills to win they needed to spread around the offense.
That suited Reed fine when the Bills won. But when Buffalo lost three of its last four games of the season, Reed wanted out unless things changed.
So, what did Buffalo do to open its first round wild-card playoff game against Houston? Ignore Reed.
While the Bills fell behind, 35-3, early in the third quarter, Reed was shut out. But, that changed when Buffalo began the biggest comeback in NFL history.
The Bills had to score points in a hurry and that meant going to Reed.
Reed finished with eight catches for 136 yards and three touchdowns as the Bills rallied to defeat Houston in overtime, 41-38.
"It was hard to believe that we could come back at a certain point," said Reed, whose effort against Houston was his best playoff performance.
"Then, when the score was 35-17, I started to think that we could do it. Winning like was a real confidence booster."
Still, the Bills seem to go to Reed only when they need him the most. In their next playoff game against Pittsburgh, which Buffalo won easily, 24-3, Reed did not catch a pass.
"I know that our offense has a lot of weapons," Reed said. "When I get my opportunities, I have to shine when it comes. With us, there is not one guy who does it all."
For now, Reed is content with his role because he is where many other receivers around the league want to be: the Super Bowl.
"I'm at the point in my career where I just want to win a Super Bowl ring," Reed said. "I know a lot of guys who have more catches than me who are not in the playoffs. In fact, there are guys who have been in the league 10 and 11 years who haven't even tasted the playoffs."