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Buffalo Bills News - December 16, 2004

Marker North Kentucky Backers Ready for Bengals [11:51 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Vezina and the rest of the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati Bills Backers meet every week at Barleycorn's in Lakeside Park, KY. The restaurant makes sure that the club is comfortable for every game. "We have a loft area reserved just for the Bills Backers," Vezina said. "And there's also a big screen TV downstairs that usually has the Bengals game on, we'll be cheering if Buffalo does something great and half of the group tries to watch the Bengals game too. That place is probably going to be wild Sunday."'

Marker Big game hunting [10:36 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We know we're going to be tested," said Bills defensive backs coach Steve Szabo on Wednesday. "This is one of the better offenses we've faced."'

Marker Lewis has restored Bengals [10:08 AM]
Lockport Union Sun and Journal reports: '“We’re going to work our tails off in the rooms and practice field,” he said. “If we don’t win it, run out of time I should say, then we’ll come back we’ll find a way to do a little better next week, work a little harder, do it a little smarter and get after the next opponent."'

Marker Bills vs. Bengals Preview [8:54 AM]
BillsDaily.com reports: This is the single biggest of game of the year for the Bills. Every game is a must win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive but this is the toughest one with the exception of the finale against Pittsburgh.

Marker Turnaround by Teague leads charge [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills have rushed for 133 yards a game since Teague came back from a four-week absence. They've allowed only eight sacks in those six games and scored 30.3 points a game. It's no coincidence that Teague has been healthy and playing some of the best football of his seven-year career.'

Marker Palmer says he's out Sunday [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills, however, are wary of Kitna's ability to run a wider-ranging offense than Palmer. "What they've done offensively is give just enough to Carson to get his feet wet," Bills coach Mike Mularkey said. "I think they're grooming him to be a more efficient quarterback, but the experience and some of the things Kitna did . . . I know we'll be ready for him."'

Marker Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals [6:59 AM]
WIVB-TV reports: 'It will be a tough, hard fought, playoff-like game...but I see the Bills winning 31-24.'

Marker Battle-tested Bengals try Bills [6:58 AM]
Bengals.com reports: '“Personnel wise, they’re the best defense we’ve played,” said Pro Bowl right tackle Willie Anderson. “I know we’re going to vote for their two big tackles for the Pro Bowl. I think everybody is. They’ve got speed on the outside, smart athletic linebackers, and their DBs are making plays.”'

Marker Spikes glad to return to where it all began [5:32 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: '"I appreciate the opportunity I was given to play as a Cincinnati Bengal. If I could take the days back, I wouldn't," he said. "Not only as a player, but as a person, it made me grow into the man I am now. I have no regrets or hard feelings. "It's a business. As much as you hate to say it - it's a kid's game you love to play - it's a business decision."'

Marker Thursday's Cincinnati Coverage [5:04 AM]
TwoBillsDrive.com reports:
Spikes glad to return to where it all began (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Support role is Kitna's star turn (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Palmer feels down, because he is out (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Braham listed as doubtful Sunday (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Kitna's back in business (Cincinnati Post)
Durable Braham could miss Sunday's game (Cincinnati Post)
Back in the saddle again (Dayton Daily News)
All-Pro Spikes all business (Columbus Dispatch)
Palmer expects to sit out (Columbus Dispatch)
Injured Palmer expects to miss game against Bills (AP)
Inside slant (CBS Sportsline)
Strategy and personnel (CBS Sportsline)
Notes, quotes (CBS Sportsline)
Battle-tested Bengals try Bills (Bengals.com)
Lewis: Bengals better, but not there (Bengals.com)
Palmer doubts he can go, eyes Giants (Bengals.com)
Spikes lives to play do-or-die (Bengals.com)
Wyche's comeback comes back (Bengals.com)
Marvin Lewis News Conference (Bengals.com)
John Kitna News Conference (Bengals.com)
Bengals Weekly News Release (Bengals.com)
Bills Weekly News Release (Bengals.com)

Marker Bills' Fletcher packs a big punch [5:01 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"If guys didn't practice at a certain level, he was right there in his face," Rams coach Mike Martz said last month before St. Louis came to Buffalo to play Fletcher and the Bills. "He demanded it out of everybody, that everybody practiced like he did. There was no question, you lose somebody like London, that's going to affect you."'

Marker Banta should help Bills [5:00 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Banta can handle both punt and kick-snap duties. The 11-year pro, who has played with the Colts, Jets and Lions, was sitting at home in Chattanooga, Tenn., and keeping his skills sharp as best he could, waiting for a team to phone. "I got tired of snapping to a gym wall. It's fun to snap to somebody again," said Banta, who was released by Detroit during training camp. "You get that phone call and it's like, 'Yes.' Somebody finally wants you and you're joining a good team."'

Marker Sharper Bills still have a playoff pulse [4:59 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'The Bills have to beat out three of the four other contenders. Assuming Buffalo wins out to finish 10-6, here's how it could happen (listed in order of probability of falling out of the race)...'.

Marker Bills turn around, keep balance [4:58 AM]
USA Today reports: 'Playoffs or not, it is coming together well. "We are playing really good 'team' football," quarterback Drew Bledsoe says. "That's what's allowing us to win. ... All three phases can beat another team. If we put them all together, then we're really hard to deal with."'

Marker Inside slant [4:57 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"I keep thinking about what Coach (Jim) Mora once said: 'Playoffs?! Playoffs?!' We're not that good," defensive back Troy Vincent said. "We can't think that far ahead. We are exactly what our record says we are, 7-6. We can't think about post-season play. Our biggest challenge is this week. It's going to be a playoff-type atmosphere, because they're still in the hunt, too."'

Marker Strategy and personnel [4:56 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Meanwhile, steady long snapper Jon Dorenbos injured a knee covering a kick against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday and is day-to-day for the Bengals. Dorenbos was not able to practice on Wednesday and Banta started his crash course in getting used to working with punter/holder Brian Moorman and place-kicker Rian Lindell. Coach Mike Mularkey described the signing of the versatile Banta as "killing two birds with one stone," providing depth at two positions.'

Marker Notes, quotes [4:55 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Donahoe has mentioned often that he'd like to make Buffalo his last job.'

Marker The Bills To Face Kitna [4:54 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Jon Kitna gets the start. He led the Bengals to an 8-8 record last season.'

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December 15, 2004

Marker Bills Gear Up For Bengals [9:29 PM]
RNews.com reports: 'Starting right tackle Mike Williams was back at practice Wednesday. Williams is listed at questionable with a knee injury. Long snapper Jon Dorenbos did not practice and is listed as questionable with a knee injury he sustained last week against Cleveland. Corner Nate Clements was held out of practice with a shoulder, he is probable.'

Marker Bills LB Spikes fired up for first trip back to Cincinnati [9:28 PM]
AP reports: '''I think the biggest thing with me is I'm just going to have to get past the first five minutes,'' Spikes said. ''But other than that, I'm not holding anything back. I'm just going to let it go.'''

Marker Injured Palmer expects to miss game against Bills [9:27 PM]
AP reports: 'Jon Kitna ran the offense in practice, getting ready to make his first start of the season against the Buffalo Bills. Kitna was the league's Comeback Player of the Year last season, but hadn't taken a snap until Palmer got hurt last Sunday.'

Marker McGahee's emergence sparks Bills' success [5:11 PM]
NBCSports.com reports: 'Until McGahee, the offensive line appeared quite overrated and unable to protect immobile quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Travis Henry is a good back, a 1,300-plus rusher the last two years. McGahee looks more like a great back.'

Marker Spikes lives to play do-or-die [4:29 PM]
Bengals.com reports: '“No. 1, I’ve never been in a month of December this late, and having something to play for other than pride,” Spikes told the Cincinnati media in Wednesday’s conference call. “No. 2, this is where it all started; when I was greener than the grass and turf at Cincinnati. It kind of goes back to the first day I stepped up on the field.”'

Marker Fear factor applies to Bills; Dolphins discuss Saban [4:28 PM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: 'Buffalo has 38 sacks and 28 takeaways and makes teams earn their yardage. The Bills allow just 4.42 yards per play, second in the NFL to Washington (4.38), and they rank third in the NFL in total yards allowed.'

Marker Cincinnati a Fierce Opponent for Buffalo [11:47 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'The Bills have won four straight games, but only one of those has come against a winning opponent. The Seattle Seahawks currently sit at 7-6, but the Rams (6-7), Dolphins (2-11), and Browns (3-10) all have struggled in the latter part of the season.'

Marker From Joe fan: I believe [11:47 AM]
Rochester City Newspaper reports: When the Bills were 2-5 and coming off an ugly loss in Baltimore, those three words rang a bit hollow for me, so I decided to call Tom. I figured if anyone could help make sense of the 2004 Buffalo Bills, it would be Tom --- as in Tom Donahoe, the president and general manager of the Buffalo Bills. Donahoe explained that the players and coaches were frustrated, but not in the same way that fans were frustrated.

Marker Safety valve [10:16 AM]
phillyBurbs.com reports: '"For his first game back, and for as long as he's been out, to play free safety out of the blue and make the plays that he did was outstanding on his part," Bills coach Mike Mularkey said.'

Marker Wyche's comeback comes back [9:27 AM]
Bengals.com reports: '“These guys go at it pretty good. We go at it hard. Jimmy McNally is still nuts. I get here in the morning and he’s already broken down three or four games,” said Wyche, who turns 60 next month. “There are a couple days of the month I get pretty tired, but I think for the most part I feel pretty good.”'

Marker Some gifts never go out of style [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills franchise does so much in the way of community outreach that its involvement tends to be taken for granted, kind of like another 100-yard game for Willis McGahee. There's rarely a Tuesday that goes by when at least a handful of players aren't appearing at a school or a community center, shining a light down the path toward a healthy, productive life. Sunday afternoon, as they see it, is only part of the job.'

Marker Spikes set to dig in on familiar ground [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It's going to be big," Spikes said. "It's something I'm looking forward to because of all the history that I had there and because they have great fans in the city of Cincinnati. That is where I grew up, from a young baller to an established veteran. This game will have a lot of feelings that come along with it."'

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09/11 @ Baltimore Ravens 1:00 pm
09/15 New York Jets 8:25 pm
09/25 Arizona Cardinals 1:00 pm
10/02 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm
10/09 @ Los Angeles Rams 4:25 pm
10/16 San Francisco 49ers 1:00 pm
10/23 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
10/30 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
11/07 @ Seattle Seahawks 8:30 pm
11/20 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
11/27 Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 pm
12/4 @ Oakland Raiders 4:05 pm
12/11 Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 pm
12/18 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/24 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
01/01 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm

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