Phillips crew wins, but doubts are lurking [5:18 AM]
Toronto Star reports: '"We had to run the football, they knew we had to run the football and we couldn't pick up the first down," Phillips lamented. Four times in the last 11:45, the Bills offenders ran on to the field. Four times they failed to garner even one first down. The Antowain Smith era as the Bills' marquee back seems over before it ever really started. The Bills said goodbye to Thurman Thomas, confident in the belief that the fourth-year player out of the University of Houston could become the workhorse. Smith, yesterday, rushed for 17 yards on 12 carries. That total included one run of 16 yards. "Everyone's not on the same page yet," Smith said, referring to his offensive line. "We have too many busted assignments."'
Johnson gets the job done [5:16 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Johnson emerged as the winner in a personal duel with Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, and earned respect from the fickle fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium. After Johnson was thrown hard to the turf following a third-down incompletion, the Bills went on to recover the fumbled punt return. And when Johnson led the offence back on the field, the packed house of 72,722 cheered. "That was nice to hear," Johnson said. "It showed me that they cared when I went back in the game."'
Moulds puts his stamp on Pack [5:15 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"Yes, we tried to get Eric the football," Bills coach Wade Phillips said. "You could see why we tried to get him the football. Eric had a breakout game."'
Battered Johnson keeps Bills perfect [5:10 AM]
Toronto Globe & Mail reports: 'Green Bay sacked Johnson five times, just as the Tennessee Titans had done last week, and also knocked the quarterback around at every opportunity. But Buffalo's defence is as good as any in the National Football League and held the Packers and quarterback Brett Favre to below 300 yards of total offence. The Bills accomplished this despite losing four starters from last season to free agency. "We're not like Jacksonville or Tampa Bay where we do a lot of blitzing. . . . That can take away from a lot of guys' stats," Buffalo linebacker Sam Cowart said. "But if you do your job, you'll be in a position to make plays."'
Bills 27, Packers 18 [5:07 AM]
AP reports: 'While the Bills defense held Favre in check, their offense finally warmed up. Tight end Jay Riemersma enjoyed his second career two-touchdown game, and Jeremy McDaniel scored his first career touchdown as the Bills opened the season 2-0 for the first time since 1996. Steve Christie hit 45- and 20-yard field goals, both set up by Green Bay fumbles.'
Bills 27, Packers 18 [5:05 AM]
Sportsticker reports: '"We had another all-around effort and played well in a lot of areas," Buffalo coach Wade Phillips said. "Certainly well enough to win."'
Johnson doesn't foresee a Buffalo let down [9:25 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '"The defense played so well (surrendering only 172 yards and one touchdown to a good offense), they might have an opportunity for a letdown," said Buffalo quarterback Rob Johnson of the victory over the Titans. "But on offense, we didn't play that well ... there's no reason for a letdown."'
Bills have best 1-2 defensive punch in league [9:23 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Ted Washington, their two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle, showed up at camp in the 330-pound range rather than 350-plus and seemed set to have a big season. But so did his protege and good friend, Pat Williams, the 312-pound, fourth-year pro. Williams, an undrafted free agent, has been a find. Despite his size, he has uncommon quickness and a non-stop motor that produced six sacks the past two seasons while playing in relief of Washington. Thus, during training camp, it occurred to Cottrell that it would be a novel twist to put Washington and Williams on the field at the same time. He did just that against Tennessee. And the result was that the Titans' running game was stuffed, managing a mere 53 yards on 20 carries with feature back Eddie George held to only 37 yards on 17 attempts. "I feel like we're unstoppable when we're out there together," said the ever-enthusiastic Williams. "First Ted was pounding on (Titans' center Kevin Long), then I was pounding on him. And by the end of the game, he didn't want to play any more ... you could see it in his eyes." And afterward, Long admitted the Titans never expected such an alignment.'
Destination end zone for Bills, Packers [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Two offenses that sputtered in their season-openers aim to get their motors running today at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The meeting of the Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers pits two teams that produced just one touchdown each last week. The Bills know they probably will need more against one of the game's greatest quarterbacks, Green Bay's Brett Favre. "After looking at the film, the last game wasn't the total mess that it appeared to be," said Bills quarterback Rob Johnson, referring to the offensive execution in the 16-13 win over Tennessee. "Usually we just broke down one guy here and one guy there. We know we have to do better."'
'65 Chargers were a tad too full of themselves [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'One of the things I remember best about the game that capped the Buffalo Bills' fantasy season of 1965 were the minutes after their stunning 23-0 shutout over the Chargers in San Diego's Balboa Stadium. As the late Tom Day came out of the dressing room he reached in his jacket pocket and fished out a button, pinning it to his shirt. It bore the catchy new slogan from Avis car rentals: "We Try Harder." That capsulized the '65 Bills, who are holding their reunion today at the Bills-Packers game.'
Twin peaks [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills simply call it The Package. That's short for The Total Package. And that's how the Bills view the dynamic duo of Ted Washington and Pat Williams, the mammoth defensive line combination they sprung on the Tennessee Titans last week with smashing results. The two nose tackles played together for 12 snaps and were joined on a three-man defensive line by either Phil Hansen or Shawn Price. Titans star Eddie George ran eight times for a mere 13 yards with Washington and Williams side-by-side. The Bills also got two sacks from the formation, one by Williams. "When The Package goes in there, we try to destroy everything in front of us," Williams said. "It worked good. It was unstoppable. We think we can stop anybody running the ball."'
Bills welcome banged-up Pack [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Favre is one of the game's all-time great warriors. But it looks like he will have to do too much on his own today. . . . Bills, 23-16.'
Fourth and inches [7:27 AM]
Dallas Morning News reports: 'Pride cost [Andre] Reed $1.75 million with the Bills and a roster spot with the Broncos.'
Third-string QB often premium insurance [7:18 AM]
Dallas Morning News reports: '"There were no dobbers down when Rob got hurt," Bills offensive coordinator Joe Pendry said. "Even though it was a tight ball game, there was never any thought that 'We don't have a chance now.' "This team felt good about Alex in there. He knows how to play the game. He's a smart guy who prepares well and performs. That's the reason you have a veteran third quarterback."'
Bills have the edge when they hold ball [7:09 AM]
Green Bay Press Gazette reports: 'A year ago, Buffalo led the league in average time of possession. The team's mark of 32 minutes and 12 seconds was one second better than runner-up Tampa Bay. In their opener this year, the Bills controlled the ball for over 33 minutes in a 16-13 win over Tennessee. In Buffalo, Green Bay will face an offensive line that averages nearly 325 pounds per starter. That's about 40 pounds more per man than the Packers' starting defensive line. On the other side of the ball, the Packers have to operate against a defense that held Eddie George to just 37 yards rushing and the Titans to 172 yards overall. A year ago, Buffalo's defense was tops in the NFL. Ball control and winning seem to go hand-in-hand for the Bills. Since 1999, they are 10-2 when they keep the ball longer than their opponent. They're merely 2-4 when they don't.'
Scouting report [7:07 AM]
Green Bay Press Gazette reports: 'The Bills are at home, where they are 61-20 over the last 10-plus years. But there's always the chance they'll take the Packers a little lightly after their emotional win over Tennessee, which beat them in the playoffs last year with a miracle kickoff return for a touchdown.'
Bills wary of Favre [6:59 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Even though Favre is playing with tendinitis in his throwing elbow and despite the fact he needs to ice an injured thumb he hurt last year, the Bills are wary of his presence. "If Brett Favre pulls on that No. 4 jersey and goes out there to play, we know he's going to give 110%. That injury stuff doesn't mean a thing,'' Bills safety Keion Carpenter said.'
Buffalo wants to get offensive [6:55 AM]
D and C reports: '"Our defense played so well they have a better opportunity to let down than us,'' quarterback Rob Johnson said. ''Offensively, we didn't play that well. There's no room for us to have a letdown."'
Bills-Packers scouting report [6:53 AM]
D and C reports: 'Bills win if...They keep Favre's big plays to a minimum. The Packers' ground game figures to stumble, so Favre will be airing it out most of the day and that might be dangerous for the Bills...Rob Johnson doesn't pretend he's Earl Campbell, taking on all comers when he runs out of the pocket. If Johnson's healthy, he will be a productive quarterback this season...The offensive line can win the battles up front and provide running room for the backs as well as time for Johnson to throw...Their special teams provide good field position for the offense and bad field position for Favre, therefore forcing him to drive long distances to get scores against a very good defense.'
'65 championship was a blast [6:51 AM]
D and C reports: 'Today, about 25 members of that Bills team that repeated as American Football League champions in 1965 will be honored before the Green Bay Packers game at the stadium that bears Wilson's name. You can be sure there will be plenty more laughs as the oldtimers tell tall tales over tall ones. Lou Saban, the well-traveled coach, is expected to be there, as is Jack Kemp, the quarterback who became a Congressman and presidential candidate, and Billy Shaw, the Hall of Fame guard who anchored a vastly underrated offensive line. "Our '64 championship team was healthier and had more overall talent, but the '65 season may have been more gratifying because we had to overcome so much more," recalled Kemp, the director of Empower America, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.'
Shuffling to Buffalo [7:57 PM]
Packer Report reports: 'Green, Favre and company will face a very good Buffalo defense. The Bills finished last season with the NFL's best defense, and it shows no signs of relinquishing the crown. Last week the Bills limited Titan running back Eddie George to 37 yards on 17 carries. "The Bills defense is very strong and powerful," said Packer head coach Mike Sherman. "They haven't lost much from last season."'
The Class of '65 [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I had a great fondness for that team," said Saban, who is coaching at Canton (N.Y.) Tech. "I thought it was one of those teams that I coached that did it when they were all beat up and still able to win the championship. I had great respect for the people as individuals as well as football players." Saban will return to Western New York this weekend and join some 40 of the 52 players on the Bills' last championship team. Festivities include a cocktail party and dinner tonight, a ceremony before the Packers-Bills game Sunday and the Quarterback Club luncheon on Monday. Among those in attendance will be the stars of that game, Jack Kemp and Ernie Warlick, who connected on an 18-yard touchdown pass, and Butch Byrd, who had a 74-yard punt return for a TD. Others include Dubenion, Hall of Fame guard Billy Shaw, center Al Bemiller, fullback Wray Carlton, cornerback Booker Edgerson, linebacker Harry Jacobs, linebacker Marty Schottenheimer, quarterback-receiver Ed Rutkowski, defensive tackle Ron McDole and linebacker Mike Stratton. "It's always good for a good time," said Stratton, whose tackle on Keith Lincoln in the '64 title game was one of the biggest plays in team history. "You get to match your recollection of things against other people's recollection. It's amazing how much difference there can be. If you look back 35 years, I made all the tackles and (safety) George Saimes didn't make any. Of course, he remembers it just the other way."'
Bentley back in Buffalo on dual career path [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bentley is moving his wife and five children from Grand Rapids, Mich., to Western New York because he is the head coach of the Buffalo Destroyers of the Arena Football League. "I can't not be there," said Bentley, who expects his Destroyers position to be mentioned in the broadcast. Fox, after all, has allowed him to continue coaching. "They understand that it really can only help as far as being a better broadcaster," Bentley said. "Now I can look at it not only as a former player but also from the perspective of a current coach."'
Moulds looking to play bigger role for the Bills [7:32 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"I've had teams hold me to one catch and things, but I'm not really concerned about it," Moulds said. "If I go out and play hard, you can't (double-cover me) every play, so eventually I'll be singled up and that's when I have to make the play." Moulds might have a field day tomorrow when the Bills play host to the Green Bay Packers. The Packers secondary is banged up and will be without Mike McKenzie, Green Bay's top cornerback who hurt his knee during last week's loss to the New York Jets.'
Rossum set to return to scene of perceived crime [7:24 AM]
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: 'Green Bay Packers return specialist Allen Rossum will not only be the smallest player Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium but also possibly the biggest target. Two weeks ago, Rossum was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles in their final exhibition game when, with 31 seconds left, he hustled around the corner and dived, attempting to block a field-goal attempt by Steve Christie of the Buffalo Bills. Rossum slid into Christie's leg and the kicker went down for more than a minute before being carried off the field. Bills coach Wade Phillips was yelling and pointing at Rossum, who stayed with medical personnel until Christie was moved. His 33-yard field goal ensured the Bills' 16-12 victory. Rossum was penalized 15 yards for running into the kicker. It turned out that all Christie received was a bruise below the knee, and within a few days he was fine. But some Bills were incensed at the time, given the circumstances. "In high school, we'd have had a fight after the game over something like that," Bills defensive end Marcellus Wiley said. Traded to the Packers the next day, Rossum forgot about the incident until he was asked at mid-week if he feared the Bills' special teams would be out to wreak physical revenge. "You know, I'm not worried about that if they're going to have that type of attitude," he said. "I didn't try to hurt the guy. If that was the case, I would have run right for the kicker. He was coming down and we just bumped into each other." Bills general manager John Butler was as concerned as anyone about Christie's condition at the time but absolved Rossum of malicious intent and doesn't anticipate retaliation from Buffalo coverage units.'
Bills know Favre will go all out [7:17 AM]
D and C reports: '"If Brett Favre pulls on that No. 4 jersey and goes out there to play, we know he's going to give 110 percent," free safety Keion Carpenter said. "That injury stuff doesn't mean a thing." Said defensive end Marcellus Wiley: "Brett Favre can go 0- for 20 then rip your heart out with pass 21. They say he's hurt but like they say, a wounded animal is a dangerous animal."'
Packers facing 3-4 defense again [9:37 PM]
Appleton Post-Crescent reports: '"No secret," Packers quarterback Brett Favre said. "(The Bills) are as good as they are hyped up to be. Very good, even better at home. Tremendous size up front and, on top of that, they're very quick. "I'm not blowing smoke here, they're good. We'll have our hands full. By far the best run defense that we'll probably face all year, or close to it. If you can't run, then you have to throw every time and are playing into their hands." The heart of the defense are nose tackles Ted Washington and Pat Williams, perhaps an ideal combination of size and more size. Packers coach Mike Sherman used to coach Williams at Texas A&M, so he knows what the Packers are up against. "It's a strong, powerful defense," Sherman said. "Washington is listed at 330 pounds, he might be more like 360. He is a huge man, probably one of the best run stoppers in football."'
Packers offense works out kinks [5:33 PM]
Appleton Post-Crescent reports: The coach began the day by comparing the Week 1 defeat to Muhammad Ali losing the first round of a heavyweight fight. It was an analogy the players appeared to buy into, Favre in particular. "I'd like to think this of'fense has a knockout punch to it," Favre said. "It has in the past. To say that I was rusty, had not played in three weeks, had not played in a game - yes, that is true. That is no excuse."'
Week 2 at a Glance [9:25 AM]
CNN/SI reports: "Miracle: Have y'all tired of hearing "miracle" tied to Tennessee and Buffalo. It's over -- besides, in Buffalo, it wasn't a miracle; it was a forward lateral."
Nice bit on the "Social Security Three" at the bottom, too.
Bills bundle running game in a package [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Smith will be the man mostly on first and second downs when the Bills are more likely to run. He still has the power and burst of speed to make plays. Even though Smith won't catch a lot of passes, his presence in the backfield on first-and-10 could help set up the play-action pass. Linton, who led the team in rushing last year as a part-time player, excelled as a third-down back. He's got good hands and the 6-foot-1, 230-pounder is difficult to bring down. Though listed as questionable, it's possible he could see his first action on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. Linton also can play some fullback. Bryson has unlimited potential as a runner and receiver. He also has the breakaway speed to turn short gainers into long ones.'
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