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All Three Phases Lead Team To 5th Straight Win

AP Photo - Drew Bledsoe Everyone Contributes To Win: The Bills 33-17 win was another total team effort. All three units, offense, defense, and special teams scored touchdowns in the first half and that was enough to get a huge road win to keep the Bills playoff hopes alive. The defense was dominant at times but did give up big yards on the ground. The offense struggled but moved the ball late. Special teams were special once again. All is factored in to our position by position grades. Gameday Grades.

Sunday December 19, 2004

Bills Win Again: The Bills won their fifth straight game to keep their playoff hopes alive with a 33-17 win in Cincinnati. It was another solid performance from the defense that forced four turnovers and scored a touchdown on a Takeo Spikes 62 yard interception return. Special teams scored when Jason Peters blocked a punt and returned it for a score. Drew Bledsoe also threw a touchdown pass while Rian Lindell hit four field goals. Complete Review.

McGahee Injures Knee: Willis McGahee left the game late in the first half after twisted his surgically repaired left knee. He came down awkwardly after catching a screen pass. After a few minutes down he got up and walked off under his own power. He was taken to the locker room for further evaluation. He returned in the third quarter but called it day in the fourth quarter and went back to the locker room. It doesn't appear too serious, but he was clearly not 100 percent and the team decided to take him out as a precaution. Coach Mularkey said after the game he doesn't know the extent of the injury. In other injury news, Mike Williams returned to the lineup today. Missing the game was Travis Henry and Jon Dorenbos. Nate Clements did play despite having a sore shoulder. Injury Report.

Bitter Cold For Game: If Willis McGahee thought it was cold last week in Buffalo, he will not be happy in Cincinnati today. This game will be played in bitterly cold and windy weather. The gametime temperature will be 20° with a windchill factor of 5°. The winds will be out of the north northwest at 17mph. When the game nears it's end, windchills could be in the negative. Light snow showers are also possible.

Saturday December 18, 2004

Browns Get 9 More Yards: The Bills dominating performance on defense last Sunday, got a shade less dominating. The Elias Sports Bureau has changed a nine yard sack to an aborted play, giving those yards back to the Browns offense. So they now had 26 yards against the Bills instead of 17.

Friday December 17, 2004

Clements Practices: Nate Clements returned to practice on Friday and participated in all drills. He is listed as probable for the game. Jon Dorenbos once again did not practice and Coach Mularkey said he is a game time decision. Injury Report.

Van Pelt Back To Pitt? Bills broadcaster Alex Van Pelt has let it be known that he's interested in returning to his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh to be on the coaching staff of whoever is hired to fill the vacancy. He said he'd love to be apart of it and has a lot to offer. He would like to become the quarterbacks coach. Since his playing days, he has always been though of as a future coaching candidate.

Thursday December 16, 2004

Williams Upgraded: The Bill shave upgraded Mike Williams to probable after practicing for a second straight day today. The move means it is very likely that Williams will be back in the lineup at right tackle after missing last week's game against Cleveland. For a second straight day Nate Clements did not practice leading to speculation his injury may be more serious than the team is letting on. He is still listed as probable. Jon Dorenbos is likely out Sunday since he wasn't even at practice today with his injured knee. Injury Report.

Spikes Pumped: Takeo Spikes is really excited to play against his former team. He knows it's a big game because this is his first big December game because of its playoff implications. He feels his return to Cincinnati is secondary. He is guarding against being too hyped up and feels it is important to get past the first five minutes of the game. He will not hold anything back however. He said he has no hard feelings or regrets towards his former team. Coach Mularkey played with his mind a bit by joking to Spikes that he wasn't going to start. He said he's not concerned with the very hot offense of the Bengals, he needs to make sure that on defense they do the little thing right and everything else will take care of itself. He said he's very proud with what the team is doing because they didn't pack it in after the loss in New England.

It Will Be Kitna: It appears extremely unlikely that Carson Palmer will start against the Bills on Sunday. He was still on crutches yesterday and said it looks bleak for his chances to play. Jon Kitna will start and is excited to be getting back on the field as a starter. He was the Comeback Player Of The Year last year. Another blow to the Bengals is that they will probably be without their starting center Rich Braham who is doubtful with a knee injury.

Wednesday December 15, 2004

Bengals Have Playmakers On Offense: Coach Mularkey told the media today he knows that the Bengals have many weapons on offense and it will be a challenge. They will need to disguise what they are going to do like they do every week. The key to the defense is that they have to be disciplined and let the plays come to them especially against this team. The coach has no idea how the game will go since both teams are playing well. He knows they will have to score some point and he feels his offense is confident enough to hold their own if the game becomes a shootout. He feels if Jon Kitna gets the start, for the questionable Carson Palmer, there is more to the offense since he is a veteran. On the playoff possibilities, he said the team dug themselves a hole and they are crawling back. The focus is the Bengals and he has no idea what the scenarios are that gets the Bills in the playoffs and it doesn't matter if they don't win on Sunday. He calls the point explosion a team effort with all the units participating. The offense has capitalized on good field position from the special teams and takeaways by the defense.

Williams Questionable: Mike Williams is listed as questionable and they will see how he does, he did practice today. Jon Dorenbos is also questionable with a knee injury while covering one of his kicks. If he can't go the newly acquired Bradford Banta would do the long snapping. Nate Clements is probable after the hit he took on his shoulder while recovering a fumble against Cleveland. Travis Henry is once again out. Injury Report.

Bledsoe Ready For Playoff Atmosphere: Drew Bledsoe said he's looking forward to a playoff atmosphere Sunday and it should be a lot of fun, he hopes to go down and come away with a victory. He called the Bengals defense a blue collar one that works hard and is relentless going after the ball. If the offense executes like they are capable of, he feels they will put points on the board if they make mistakes they won't. He doesn't anticipate a shootout because that would sell the Bills defense short. He looks for the offense to run the ball and get into third and short situations and take a few chances downfield. He hinted that the no huddle may be part of their attack again. He feels the difference between the gadget plays they run is that they aren't just surprises, they are designed to work as effective plays. He feels that the offense has cleaned up their red zone woes from early in the year has helped them be much more effective. He called the team a special group, he feels stronger about them than he has of every team he ever played on. The character is very evident because of the adversity that they have been through. On the tight end situation, he feels Ryan Neufeld is the fastest of the group and the newly acquired Bradford Banta is a big target. He will be limited this week but he may get a ball thrown his way.

Tough Road Ahead: The Bills play their biggest game of the year on Sunday in Cincinnati. This is a huge test against a team that is playing very good football right now and fighting for their very small playoff hopes. If the Bills are a playoff team they need to win games like this. Complete Preview.

Tuesday December 14, 2004

Bills Make Roster Move: As expected the Bills placed WR Tim Euhus on injured reserve ending his season. He will have surgery on his torn ACL. To take his place the Bills signed TE Bradford Banta. He is an 11 year veteran that has played in 140 games in his career the last three years with the Lions. Front Office Page.

Donahoe's Future Secured: What a difference two months make. When the Bills were 1-5 it appeared that Tom Donahoe's job may be in jeoparday. The recent surge has caused Ralph Wilson to say that Donahoe can stay in Buffalo indefinitely. Donahoe has also said he wants his job in Buffalo to be his last. His contract runs through the 2005 season but the owner plans on talking to Donahoe in the off season about an extension.

Williams May Be Back: Coach Mularkey said he hopes to have Mike Williams back this week. He sat out last week's game with an injured knee and wasn't ready to play. The coach hopes with the few extra days off, he will be ready to go. Injury Report.

Monday December 13, 2004

Vincent To Stay At Safety: Mike Mularkey addressed the media in his usual day after press conference. He said he believed in his team after the 0-4 start because there was evidence of good play and effective execution despite the losses because of mistakes. He knew that if they got consistent play they would start winning. He told the team he is proud of the team the way they battled back from adversity. Their mindset has never wavered and he gives them credit for that because of the enormous pressure from the media and fans. He is glad he isn't losing Tom Clements to Notre Dame because he's spoiled to have the guys that he has but he only wishes them the best. On Troy Vincent, he said he's been around long enough that the move to safety isn't an issue, it was more rounding into game shape after nine weeks off. He is a smart guy who knows he can help the team the best at free safety. He isn't selfish and he has dedicated himself to the move which appears permanent for the rest of this year at least. The point of emphasis on taking the ball away on defense is succeeding with 12 takeaways in two games He feels it's because of execution and the fact that the ball has come to them because they are staying in the scheme.

Euhus Out For Year: Empire is reporting that Tim Euhus will have surgery tomorrow on his injured knee ending his season. The Bills haven't confirmed the report but his agent did say the injury was severe enough that it requires surgery. Coach Mularkey said surgery is unclear at this time but did rule him out this week and said it is not official yet that he will have surgery. In other injury news, Mark Campbell will have surgery on his ACL injury this week and Trey Teague is expected to be fine after tweaking his knee near the end of the game. Coach Mularkey was preparing to get him out of the game when the injury happened. Injury Report.

Historic Defensive Effort: Around the league and in the media everyone is praising the Bills historic defensive effort yesterday. They allowed only 17 total yards to the Browns offense. That is the fifth least amount yards ever given up in a game in NFL history. Going into the final meaningless drive the defense was -6 yards away from breaking the record but the Browns gained 19 yards. The Browns only had 2 yards at the half and finished with a Bills club record low -12 yards net through the air. They only gained 6 first downs against the Bills one shy of the club record. Other tidbit stats include the Browns gaining just 0.4 yards per play and QB Luke McCown finishing with a QB rating of just 25.4 that is lower than the rating for Brian Moorman who threw one incomplete pass.

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