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Bills Win Another Thriller 16-13 in OT
Defense Leads To Win: It was the defense that kept the Bills in the game and Steve Christie's heroics that won the game for the Bills. The offense struggled for more than half the game and the coverage and return teams were awful as usual. We break the whole game down position by position. Gameday Grades.
Morris leaves game with injury: The Bills lost Sammy Morris for most of the second half after he got dinged up. No word on the seriousness of his injury. Sam Cowart got knocked out twice but returned and Antoine Winfield was also shaken up but returned.
Gameday Weather: Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. The high temperature will be near 50°. Winds will be out of the North at 10 to 20 mph. The chance of rain is 50%.
Saturday November 4, 2000
QB Controversy Explodes: We first told you on Thursday night about the quotes made to a national publication speaking out against Rob Johnson. Those comments are now being attributed to two unnamed Bills in Sports Illustrated. They said that Johnson is worried more about being liked and his QB rating than avoiding sacks. Johnson fired back yesterday on Jim Rome's radio show. While Johnson continues to refuse to talk to local media he went on Rome's nationally syndicated program and said that he thinks one of those players that spoke out is Doug Flutie. He goes on to say that Flutie is a good teammate to the rest of the team, but if he said those things it doesn't make him a good teammate. It appears that Johnson did confront Flutie on the article yesterday. GM John Butler downplayed that the team may have a rift over the issue. We say that this has to be a major distraction going into a must win in a place that is tough to play tomorrow.
Johnson Gametime Decision: It will be a gametime decision on whether or not Johnson will serve as the backup to his arch-nemesis. It does appear that he isn't ready as his shoulder stiffened up in practice on Friday. Look for Alex Van Pelt to backup Flutie.
Early Inactives: The early inactives include the injured Phil Hansen and Corey Moore. The Bills were hopeful Moore would return as he had been listed as probable on the injury report but his high ankle sprain isn't fully healed. The other inactives are the usual suspects: Jon Carman and DaShon Polk.
Friday November 3, 2000
Bills Working To Keep Moulds: The Bills have started contract talks with the agent for Eric Moulds. The talks are ongoing and friendly according to the agent. Moulds has said he wants to stay in Buffalo and that looks like it has a good chance of happening. Moulds is expected to get a deal in the range of the deal signed by Keyshawn Johnson. The Bills are short of star power and need to keep Moulds. Worst case scenario, they can slap the franchise tag on the star receiver. In other contract news, Ralph Wilson says he's working on a new deal for GM John Butler. He expects Butler to stay with the team.
It's Official: Coach Phillips finally announced what everyone already knew: Doug Flutie will start against New England on Sunday. Rob Johnson threw for the second straight day in practice yesterday. He threw well but the shoulder is still weak. Phillips hopes he will be available to backup Flutie on Sunday but he wasn't so sure that would happen.
Controversy Can Tear Apart Team: With Coach Phillips being non-commital on the Bills QB controversy the media has turned to the players to find out what they think. This can destroy the season for the team if it gets out of hand. The Buffalo News reports that an unnamed player told a national publication that Rob Johnson is more interested in his QB rating than avoiding sacks. Eric Moulds has also said that players do have a preference on which QB they like to play with. With that tidbit out of the bag, there is a good chance that the controversy has infiltrated the locker room. It could lead to a distraction or worse yet, bickering. Coach Phillips needs to stop this insanity now before it breaks the team into two camps and costs the team the season.
Thursday November 2, 2000
A Look Back At The First Half: It has been an inconsistent first half of the season for the Bills that puts them at .500 heading into the second half of the season. When the season started we didn't know what to expect from this team. In the first half we learned the offensive line was worse than we thought and the running game has no identity but certain players have stepped up and played better than expected. We tackle what Bills fans have learned during the first half of the season. Midseason Review.
Flutie Will Start: After throwing in practice yesterday afternoon, Rob Johnson felt he isn't ready to reclaim his starting job this week. He hopes to be the backup to Doug Flutie and feels he'll be able to start next week against Chicago if Phillips will go to him. He said the shoulder got a little weak towards the end of practice since he hasn't thrown for a while. So, the QB controversy can die down for another week and Flutie will be able to defend his 11-1 record in Foxboro.
Wednesday November 1, 2000
Three Players Listed: The Bills have a season low three players listed on the official NFL injury report. They will be without Phil Hansen for sure and maybe Rob Johnson and Corey Moore also. Injury Report.
Phillips Non-Commital: The coach's morning press conference was dominated with QB talk. Rob Johnson threw today without much velocity and the Coach said he wouldn't be ready to go if there was a game today. He will take a wait and see approach on if Rob will be healthy on Sunday. He would not commit either way to a quarterback yet. It does look like that Doug Flutie will be the guy on Sunday. Complete Preview.
Bills Prepare For Pats: With the QB controversy swirling overhead the Bills begin their on the field preparations for the New England Patriots today. Rob Johnson will be try to throw today but may need another week before he's ready to return. That will hopefully put the controversy on hold a week, which would be a good idea. The players don't need to have any distractions going against a team that is better than there 2-6 record. Combo that with the fact that the Bills notoriously don't play well in Foxboro and we will have a tough game on our hands on Sunday.
Tuesday October 31, 2000
Who's The Quarterback: Coach Phillips took his Monday press conference as a chance to get on his soapbox. He said the QB controversy is media generated and that in his mind their is no controversy since he has two players he can win with. It would be a controversy, according to Phillips, if he had no quarterbacks he could win with. Phillips also wouldn't commit to a starting quarterback for this Sunday's game against New England. Johnson tried to throw yesterday but there is no word on if he'll even be ready to start by Sunday. When he can throw he is expected to be ready to step right back in the starting role if Phillips lets him. QB Debate.
Monday October 30, 2000
Phillips Comments: Coach Phillips held his usual Monday press conference and talked about how the offensive line had their best game of the season. He singled out Jerry Ostroski as being dominant in the game. He thought the defense was dominant against the run and that the young plays really came through at the end of the game. He also felt that Marcellus Wiley had his best game of the year and will be needed to fill the void left by the injury to Phil Hansen.
Price and Flowers To Play More: The enthusiasm over the victory is tempered a bit by the reality of playing without Phil Hansen for the next 4-6 weeks. The initial feeling is his spot will be filled by a combination of Shawn Price and Erik Flowers. Price is slow coming back from a knee injury and Flowers is a rookie with little big time game experience. For those reasons look for the Bills to employ "the package" more with Pat Williams in the middle and Ted Washington in Hansen's end position. On passing situations look for the Bills to play nickel instead of dime to take advantage of having extra linebackers on the field at the expense of a defensive lineman. In any case, it will give Flowers at least some valuable playing time that he needs to continue his development.
Defense Changes Formations: The Bills defense confused the Jets in the first half by using a formation they haven't used much under Phillips. They played a nickel defense for much of the game to take the pressure off the poor play of the dime defense. The nickel kept linebackers Keith Newman and Sam Rogers on the field more and they responded with a forced fumble each. The Jets did adjust in the second half but the damage had already been done with three turnovers in the first half.
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