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Bills Daily Week in Review - December 20th - December 26th, 1999Previous Week

Bills Escape with 13-10 Win

It was looking like a repeat nightmare from last season, as a controversial call set New England up for an upset. The luck finally turned in the Bills favor in time to pull out the 13-10 victory. Pats Kicker Adam Vinatieri missed three field goals including a 33 yarder wide right at the end of regulation, and a 44 yarder in overtime to give the Bills a chance. Doug Flutie warmed up in the fourth quarter and completed his last 12 passes in the game and had help from a rejuvenated Thurman Thomas to overcome fumbles from Jonathan Linton and Eric Moulds. MORE.

December 25, 1999

Early Inactives: The early inactives includes WR Kamil Loud. How far out of favor has he fallen? The Bills have activated WR Jeremy McDaniel off the practice squad and he may suit up before Loud. Other inactives include Victor Allotey, Bill Conaty, and Joe Panos.

Injury Update: Both Antowain Smith and Robert Hicks expect to play tomorrow, but it will probably be a gametime decision.

December 24, 1999

Christmas Schedule: The Bills will be traveling on Christmas Day, like they would any other Saturday before a road game. The one exception is they won't have a morning walk through at the Ralph. Coach Phillips is giving them Christmas morning off to be with their families before flying to Boston.

Injury Updates: Eric Moulds has been added to the injury report with back problems but is expected to play Sunday. Antowain Smith is back practicing and may be able to play but it is looking like Robert Hicks may need another week. Check the injury notes section for the latest injury news.

McDaniel Activated: The Bills made a roster move, activating WR Jeremy McDaniel from the practice squad and placing injured CB Ken Irvin on the injured reserve list. This was a bit of a surprise since it was thought the Bills would activate CB Raion Hill.The injury to Andre Reed and the late addition of Eric Moulds to the injury report may be the cause of putting another wide receiver on the roster. As always for the latest on the Bills roster moves check out our front office page.

Defensive Back Shuffle: We all know that Antoine Winfield will be starting at cornerback but there will be a bit of shuffling on the nickel and dime back units. In nickel situations Winfield will move in to his normal slot position and Donovan Greer will take Irvin's usual spot. In the dime defense Darryl Porter will be added to the defensive backfield.

December 23, 1999

More Pro Bowl News: The two Bills to make the pro bowl is the fewest number since they sent no players in 1986. Interestingly, the Bills sent no players from the number one ranked defense in the league. That shows how much this is a team defense and not a star driven defense. Realistically, the only other Bills that may have been worthy of a spot on the squad were Sam Cowart and John Fina. Cowart didn't have a chance behind Ray Lewis and Zach Thomas and Fina doesn't get the recognition of a top tackle.

Special Teams Shuffle: Since Antoine Winfield is now a starter, his special teams duty will be curtailed. He will still play on the kickoff coverage unit but he will no longer be the gunner on the punt coverage team. That spot may be taken by Keion Carpenter or Donovan Greer.

December 22, 1999

Two Bills Named to Pro Bowl Squad: Ruben Brown and Sam Gash are the only two Bills to be named to this year's pro bowl team. Both players were named as starters, this is Gash's second straight appearance and Brown's fourth trip to Hawaii.

Reed Should Play: It looks like the Bills will have the services of Andre Reed on Sunday. The CAT scan revealed no break and the ribs are just bruised. He is listed as questionable this week.

December 20, 1999

Injury Update: The Bills have lost Ken Irvin for the season with a torn ligament in his foot. He was operated on today. Andre Reed is having a CAT scan today to determine the extent of his injured ribs, but the coach doesn't think it's serious. Check out our injury notes section for the latest injury information.

Notes from the Coach's Press Conference:

    With Ken Irvin being out for the year rookie Antoine Winfield gets his shot as a starter. Donovan Greer will replace Winfield in the nickel and dime packages. This also may be an audition for Winfield replacing Thomas Smith next season if he leaves via free agency. Irvin is expected to be placed on injured reserve.
    The coach praised the work of Marcus Spriggs yesterday, as he graded out much better than last week. Robert Hicks has a chance at returning this week.
    The defense has been moved up to the number one ranked defense in the league. The coach said that will be hard to maintain the last two weeks, but he's proud of the stat.
    He talked about the re-emergence of Thurman Thomas who exerted himself in the game and as a vocal leader on the sidelines. Thomas may have exerted himself too much as he was called for a penalty for ripping his helmet off and throwing it.
    The coach said they had the Cards on their heels with running the ball very well in the second half.
    Bruce Smith was healthy enough to play and on film it looks like he has more speed then he normally has at this point in the season.

Game Tidbits:

    The Bills defense is now top ranked in the NFL. They are second against the run and third against the pass. The ranking is decided by yards allowed, it doesn't take into account penalties, like the two big pass interference calls on Irvin and Winfield.
    The fluky onside kick return for a touchdown by Henry Jones was the first by the Bills since 1996. The 37 yards in distance was obviously the shortest TD return in Bills history.
    Jone's touchdown gave the Bills over 30 points for only the second time this year. They reached 30 six times last season.
    The club has been focusing on third down conversions recently and it paid off as they converted 12 of 17 third downs for a whopping 71 percent efficiency. They had two big conversions on the important fourth quarter touchdown drive.
    The whole season was on the line in the second half against Arizona and the Bills responded by holding the ball 23 of the 30 minutes of the second half.
    Thurman Thomas said he was trying to fire his team up by drawing the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the second quarter. The undisputed team leader was also very vocal in the locker room at halftime and his leadership had a lot to do with the Bills second half dominance.
    The touchdown pass to Eric Moulds was the first time all year the Bills scored a touchdown on their first possession.
    Flutie has now thrown a touchdown pass in 12 straight games. The club record is 18 by Jim Kelly.

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