TORONTO – The final numbers showed Roddy White catching a season-high 10 passes for a season-high 143 yards. In talking to him Sunday after the Atlanta Falcons' 34-31 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills, one would think the wide receiver was held without a catch.
The frustration in White’s tone had nothing to do with the final score. It had everything to do with the way injuries have held him back all season long.
Yes, White still isn't healthy.
"My ankle is still bothering me, but I'm a football player," White said. "That's what they pay me to do: play football. And that's what I've been doing my whole life. That's all I know how to do. So I'm going to get myself out there and fight with my teammates every week, if I can. If I feel like I can go out there and be productive, I'm going to go out there and help my team win."
Ankle and hamstring injuries caused White to be inactive in Weeks 7-9 against Tampa Bay, Arizona and Carolina, the first three games he had missed in his nine-year NFL career. He suffered a high-ankle sprain in the preseason and never got a chance to really recover properly.
"Nah, I didn't think I was going to be healed by now," White said. "I dealt with this my rookie year. And with these kinds of things, you need a break. You need maybe two months of not doing anything so your body naturally heals itself. Then you feel like you can go 100 percent."
Regardless, White will continue to give his full effort. He also had a season-high 29-yard reception against the Bills, showing he can still be a deep threat. And his 10 catches were four more than he had in his previous three games combined.
White was targeted 14 times Sunday, something he knew would happen even before kickoff.
"Going over the game plan earlier in the week, they drew up a lot of plays, so I knew I was going to get the ball," White said. "I just knew we had to go out and execute and just make plays when it was my time to make them. We did a good job with that today. We actually went down there, got in the red zone and scored some touchdowns today. We looked efficient."
And White looked himself, injured or not.
"I thought Roddy played great, I really do," Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. "I thought Roddy played really well, made some big plays for us. Obviously, the deep pass down the sideline was huge during the game. I thought he played really well."
Tight end Tony Gonzalez agreed.
"I'm really happy that he came out and played the way he did,'' Gonzalez said. "He's still an upper-echelon receiver in this league. And if you get him one on one, he's going to make you pay for it.''