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Bills Take Step Back In Loss To Indy

Greg WilliamsColts Dominate Bills: The Bills offense struggled and the defense tired as the Colts blew out the Bills for the second time this year. The 30-14 loss was the Bills sixth straight at home. Rob Johnson turned the ball over twice in the first half on fumbles leading to 10 points that gave the Colts control of the game. The only bright spot for the Bills was Nate Clements 66 yard punt return for a score to briefly tie the game at 7 in the second quarter. The Colts dominated the rest of the way as the Bills came out flat after their emotional loss to the Chargers last week. Complete Review.

Special Teams Play Well: The special teams acquitted itself well in this game as they scored the Bills first touchdown on the punt return and setup the other score late in the game on a fumble recovery. The offense struggled mightily behind the patchwork offensive line and the defense tired from being on the field for 38 minutes. Gameday Grades.

Injuries Mount: John Fina dressed but did not play, while his linemate Jonas Jennings was inactive. Jeremy McDaniel was also a surprise inactive. During the game, Travis Henry suffered a hip pointer and was carted off the field but he would return. Keion Carpenter also got hurt in the first defensive series when he broke a rib when his own teammate ran into him. He did not return and was the most serious injury of the day. Bryce Fisher suffered a back strain and Tony Driver sprained his knee. Injury Page.

Bills D To Take Less Chances: The Bills have learned from their mistakes in the previous meeting with the Colts. Expect the defense to blitz a lot less and leave an extra defensive back or linebacker in coverage so the cornerbacks don't have to go one on one most of the game. One player really looking forward to redemption is Keion Carpenter. He said he played the worst game of his life in the 42-26 loss in September and it is personal for him.

Gameday Weather: Typical November weather in Buffalo. Today will be mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of scattered showers. High temperature will be 54°. Winds will be out of W to SW at 10 to 15mph.

Saturday November 3, 2001

OL Woes: Jonas Jennings and John Fina missed practice for the third straight day making their availability Sunday improbable except as emergency backups. Jerry Ostroski was also held out of practice Friday after working out on Wednesday and Thursday. He also may be available only as an emergency backup. This means that Marques Sullivan and Jon Carman will most likely get the start at left and right tackle respectively. The Bills are expected to alter their passing game to a lot of short passes to give Rob Johnson time to throw.

James Gametime decision: The Edgerrin James watch continues. He practiced on Friday, not at 100 percent and he remains a gametime decision. He did say his knee feels better but he doesn't want to rush it. Chad Bratzke is also a gametime decision as he also practiced on his injured ankle on Friday. Backup WR Terence Wilkins is expected to play. Updated Injury Report.

Friday November 2, 2001

Fina May Not Play: Empire sports is reporting that John Fina will not play on Sunday against the Colts. He wasn't listed on the original injury report but his injured knee and leg has been bothering him all season and it seems to have finally got the better of him. More bad news for the offensive line is that it looks like Jerry Ostroski is still a week away from returning and won't be available to replace Fina. The Bills are still hoping to have Jonas Jennings back in the lineup. If he can't go it will be a real patchwork unit protecting the already banged up Rob Johnson. Expect rookie Marques Sullivan to get the start protecting Johnson's blind side if Fina doesn't play. Injury Page.

First Down Defense: One of the telling statistics surrounding this weekend's game is how the Bills will play defensively on first downs. They are second to last in that situation in yards given up averaging 6.34 yards against on first downs. The Colts meanwhile lead the league with an average of 6.49 yards offensively on first downs. If the Bills defense can slow them down on the first play of each series that should help them keep the scoring down this week.

James Still Out: Edgerring James still has not practiced this week and probably won't. He is still a gametime decision and Coach Mora says they may not know if he can go until Sunday morning. If he doesn't play that gives the Bills a much better chance of winning.

Thursday November 1, 2001

Game Blacked Out: The 72 hour deadline has come and gone and this Sunday's game is now blacked out in Western New York. There are still more than 10,000 tickets left and if anybody from Syracuse to Buffalo wants to see the game, they will have to go to the game in person. This is only the third blackout in the last 21 home games.

Tasker And Hull Honored: The Bills will present Kent Hull and Steve Tasker with the Ralph C. Wilson Distinguished Service Award. They will be honored in a pregame ceremony before Sunday's game against Indianapolis. Tasker is doing color commentary during the game for CBS. They will also be honored by the Monday Quarterback Club. The award is in recognition of outstanding service to the team.

James Gametime Decision: Edgerrin James did not practice for the Colts yesterday and he isn't expected to practice today or tomorrow either. That being said however, he may play Sunday if his sprained knee feels better. It is likely he will be a gametime decision. Coach Williams said he is game planning for James because he has answered the bell before and he figures he will again. Injury Report.

Wednesday October 31, 2001

Bills vs. Colts: This game will go a long way in guaging how far this team has come. The Bills were blown out by the Colts during the second game of the year and now they seemed to be much improved. A good performance against the banged up Colts is imperative for further development. The Bills have to guard against an emotional letdown from last week's thriller. We correctly predicted the final score of the Chargers game in last week's review, can we make it two in a row? Complete Preview.

Players Getting Healthy: Jerry Ostroski, Jonas Jennings, and Leif Larsen are all healing and listed as questionable. Ostroski will return to practice today as he is way ahead of schedule. Jeremy McDaniel is listed as probable as he comes back from a high ankle sprain. Rob Johnson has numerous bumps and bruises but he is ready to play. Injury Page.

OL Shuffle: John Fina continues to play like a warrior through a knee injury. Coach Williams speculated that they may have to give some of the younger guys some time at Fina's left tackle spot to rest the injury. He also didn't rule out playing Jerry Ostroski there perhaps as early as this week. He said Ostroski will start when healthy, Williams said he'll play any position on the line depending on where they need him most.

Williams Wants Noise: The Coach said it is important to play well at home and get the crowd into the game since the Colts have struggled in loud stadiums with their audibles and no huddle offense. He feels making the stadium as loud as possible is imperative and preached that they need to sell the remaining 11,000 tickets to help the team win. The coach emphasized in his media day press conference, that the defense needs to play better on first downs so they can be dominate on third downs. On the rookies, Williams said that Aaron Schobel and Nate Clements have earned the starting roles but the people they replaced, Erik Flowers and Ken Irvin are still very important piece of various packages. He spoke about how the team is well conditioned and that has kept them fresh near the end of the game. He also said none of the rookies have met his expectations yet.

Johnson Banged Up: Rob Johnson said his body is pretty sore during his media day press conference. He said it takes a little longer to bounce back as the season goes on, but he is fine. He thought one of the hits he took was out of bounds and the other one he should've thrown away. He said his foot is sprained but he'll be able to play. On the team he said that penalties during big plays have hurt the team throughout the season. As far as the Colts goes, he said they know the Bills well. Johnson thinks the team is much better now than when they played the Colts originally. He also said how the team needs to get over last week's tough loss and the best way to do it is to win.

Tuesday October 30, 2001

Colts Ticket Sales Update: There is less than 12,000 tickets remaining for Sunday's game against Indianapolis. The game needs to be sold out by 1:00 on Thursday in order to have the local television blackout lifted. That is a tall order and the team is headed for the first blackout of the season. It seems the move in start time from 4:00 to 1:00 will help sales as the Bills are a regional team and earlier games are usually better attended.

Game Lives Up To Hype: The players have their usually day off today and it gives us one more chance to look back at a great game even though it ended in defeat. The game was billed as a grudge match, Super Bowl XXV1/2, Flutie vs. Johnson, etc. It lived up to all it was suppose to be and more. The NFL wishes the real Super Bowl would be more like this game. Bills Thunder Report.

Monday October 29, 2001

Injury Update: The Bills came out of the game relatively healthy. Rob Johnson has a foot sprain but he should be ok. Freddie Jones has a slight shoulder sprain but he returned to action. Phil Hansen is still bothered by his elbow injury, tweaking it a few times, but he came through the game ok. Jay Riemersma was bothered by his sciatic nerve on his catch at the end of the game, he should also be fine. Injury Page.

Kelly And Talley Eligible: The official list of 71 nominees that are eligible for induction in the pro football hall of fame is out. Two former Bills are on the list for nomination next year. As expected Jim Kelly is officially eligible as well as Darryl Talley. The voting committee will select 14 people off of the list as finalists. The inductees will be named the day before the Super Bowl. Ralph Wilson remains on the list this year.

Williams Press Conference: Coach Williams said it was a hard fought game and they showed character as a team coming back from 13 points down. He felt that Rob Johnson did a great job with his feet, improvising and making plays on the run. He thought that a lot of guys played courageous including Rob. The coach stated that great strides were taken in the loss but there are adjustments to be made and a few breakdowns to correct like the kickoff return that beat them. He did give credit to the top notch return game that the Chargers have. The bottom line the coach said is one play can ruin your day like the big kickoff return in the final minutes. Williams did take the time to praise his return game as Peerless Price and Nate Clements each had nice returns. On the missed field goal at the end of the game, Williams said it was a wobbly snap and the kick was just too low.

Reflecting On Great Game: Even though the Bills didn't win yesterday, the game seemed to bring closure to the great QB debate as both quarterbacks showed they are good enough to start and lead their team to victory. Rob Johnson showed guts and courage as well as a tremendous amount of skill in bringing the Bills back to grab the late lead. Special teams proved to settle his fate one more time, but fans are beginning to see that he may just be the quarterback of the future as he gets a better handle on the West Coast Offense. Doug Flutie meanwhile showed one more time why he is the magic man with a beatiful late scoring run. The difference between the two was very apparent on the field, all the luck just seems to go against Johnson while Flutie wills his team to victory. Luck has to change sooner or later, when it does Johnson may be among the best.

Injury Update: The Bills had only two plays dinged in this game. Rob Johnson left the field in the third quarter and went into the locker room. It appeared that he had his foot taped and he returned for the next series. Jay Riemersma got hurt on his fabulous catch to put the Bills into field goal range to tie. He couldn't get off the field costing the Bills 10 seconds. Phil Hansen reaggravated his elbow injury. We should be updated on these situations later today.

Time Change: Looking ahead to next week the game between the Bills and the Colts has been moved to a 1pm start at Ralph Wilson Stadium. It was originally scheduled for a 4:15 start. The Bills facilitated the change and the league agreed to make it. 1pm starts draw better crowds in Buffalo because of the regionalization of the team.

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