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Billy Cundiff excels in Bills' kickoff role against Titans

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan might not agree, but Billy Cundiff statistically had a good day Sunday as the Bills' kickoff specialist in Buffalo's 14-13 comeback win over the Tennessee Titans.

All four of Cundiff's kickoffs -- only three counted because of an opening-kickoff penalty -- reached the Titans' end zone. While kickoff statistics can be uneven because there are no yard markers in the end zone, Cundiff averaged 69 yards per kickoff, the second-highest rate in the NFL in Week 5.

Asked Monday about Cundiff, Ryan didn't seem satisfied -- potentially because none of Cundiff's kickoffs were downed for touchbacks.

"He did OK, but he probably wishes he had worked on his kickoffs maybe a little more," Ryan said. "But he did a ... it wasn’t probably his best effort. But he was out there."

Despite Ryan's comment, Cundiff did work on his kickoffs in practice last week, as he was replacing Jordan Gay in that role. Gay averaged 60.96 yards per kickoff through the first four weeks, the 30th-best rate in the NFL, while his 60.9 percent touchback rate ranked 22nd through the first quarter of the season.

Signing Cundiff was one of two special teams swaps the Bills made last week, in addition to signing Denarius Moore to replace punt returner Marcus Thigpen.

Moore's debut didn't go as well as Cundiff's, as Moore fumbled a key third-quarter punt return, giving the Titans ideal field position after they were stopped on three downs by the Bills. Tennessee then scored a touchdown to extend their lead.

"Yeah, that’s real unfortunate," Ryan said Monday. "Quite honestly both the guys that we picked up [Moore and running back Dan Herron] that had been on the streets, you’re not used to getting hit. You try to simulate it or whatever. That happens occasionally and it’s ... he made a great return but you’ve got to protect, you’ve got to feel that guy doubling back and all that.

"But that was a huge thing. We finally get a stop, we’re finally gonna flip the field and boom, we get a fumble. We go back and unfortunately one of the biggest negatives of the whole game is that the defense never stood on their head and just forced a field goal attempt."

Part of the Bills' thinking in adding Moore likely was to give them a more experienced receiver than Thigpen, especially with Sammy Watkins out for this past Sunday's game.

The Bills can't turn back to Thigpen, however; he was signed Monday by the Indianapolis Colts.