Lewis' debut less than glowing [7:59 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: 'Sunday's sellout crowd of 71,447 (2,520 no-shows) is not unusual for this football-crazed community. The Bills sold approximately 37,500 season tickets, meaning the walk-up crowd approached 35,000. By comparison, the Saints sold approximately 43,500 season tickets, and more than 15,000 tickets remain for their home opener against the San Francisco 49ers.'
Nice guy takes the blame for having a tough day [7:30 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: 'In his 19th regular-season start for the Bills - for whom he is now 8-11 in three seasons-plus - Johnson had those three interceptions, was sacked five times and gained an unremarkable 160 yards through the air on 16-of-27 passing. Most importantly, his offense generated two field goals in the first half, produced no points in the second and inspired throaty boos from the sweltering crowd of 71,447 (so many of whom remain staunch Flutie fans) throughout.'
New Orleans 24, Buffalo 6 [7:03 AM]
Houston Chronicle reports: '"You're going to lose when you play only one half," Williams said. "Now we've got to put two together."'
Bills can look West to see how it's done [6:51 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Banned from Buffalo in the offseason, Doug Flutie shined in his debut for the San Diego Chargers, orchestrating a 30-3 triumph over the Washington Redskins. Hours earlier and more than 3,000 miles away, Bills fans discovered that Flutie is gone but the problem still wears a Buffalo uniform. No. 11, to be exact.'
Bills fans still want Flutie [6:46 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'What is it? The Rob Johnson era? The Gregg Williams era? Nahhh! Neither possibility has much fan appeal, judging from the Bills' first kick at the 21st century can, a 24-6 loss yesterday to the New Orleans Saints.'
Bills' Johnson picked apart by Saints [6:45 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'But if Johnson and the new Bills regime feel one flick of the TV clicker will remove them from under the shadow of Flutie and Chargers general manager John Butler, who bolted the Bills to run the San Diego franchise this past off-season, they are fooling themselves -- especially with off-par performances like the one they turned in against the Saints.'
Christie bitter over Bills booting [6:44 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Christie, who has told friends that his career with the Buffalo Bills is over, is outraged that neither Williams, the team's first-year coach, nor general manager Tom Donahoe, bothered to contact him on Saturday to inform the Bills' career leading scorer that he had been placed on the reserved injured list. Instead the gloomy news was delivered over the phone by special teams coach Danny Smith.'
Buffalo breaks pivot-al promise as Johnson folds [6:43 AM]
National Post reports: '"I don't think this has anything to do with youth, it's just overall execution," said Buffalo head coach Gregg Williams, himself a new addition this year. "That's an easy way out and I'll never take the easy way out in those kind of things."'
Saints overcome embarrassments to run past Buffalo in 2nd half [6:13 AM]
Baton Rouge Advocate reports: 'To Saints center Jerry Fontenot, it -- the timeout, not the 46-yard touchdown pass from Brooks to wide receiver Albert Connell -- was the turning point of the game.'
Saints defense comes up big [6:12 AM]
Baton Rouge Advocate reports: '"We talk about that all the time," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "If you make them kick field goals in this league, you've got the upper hand. Going in at halftime it was 6-0, but it could have been 14-0."'
Saints notebook [6:11 AM]
Baton Rouge Advocate reports: 'Saints defensive tackle Norman Hand, a 330-pounder, clobbered 221-pound running back Travis Henry for a 3-yard loss on first-and-goal at the Saints 1 in the second quarter. On the ferocious hit, Hand knocked Henry onto the back of tackle John Fina -- forcing Fina to leave the game momentarily.'
Bills stacked up [6:09 AM]
Biloxi Sun Herald reports: 'It was one half of embarrassment followed by one half of excellence.'
Hot camp paid off [6:09 AM]
Biloxi Sun Herald reports: 'The temperature at kickoff was 87 degrees at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "Everybody complains about the heat in Thibodaux," Saints center Jerry Fontenot said. "I'm included because I don't like the heat. But I'll tell you what, we were ready for the heat today. While it still felt pretty warm out there today, we're so used to practicing in it and pushing through it. I think it really affected them in the second half."'
Brooks settles down for Saints [6:07 AM]
Mobile Register reports: '"We need to play two complete halves of football," said the Bills' new coach, Gregg Williams. "We can't have 17 unanswered points and we need to manage turnovers better. We need a total team effort."'
Saints use double-teams to break the Bills' Moulds [6:07 AM]
Mobile Register reports: '"Our defense played well," Moulds said. "They kept us in situations where we had chances to make plays and put the Saints away. By no means did the Saints come out and do what they wanted to do. Offensively, we just didn't make plays when they were there."'
Shaky start for Johnson [5:48 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Flutie-Johnson debate is alive and well.'
Bills' big-time start goes to waste in loss [5:47 AM]
D and C reports: '"We couldn't do it. I think that would have given our offense a boost right after the half if we had stopped them from scoring points. But we didn't, and it ballooned on us after that."'
Johnson's gut check needs guts [5:46 AM]
D and C reports: 'While he was taken down five times, that wasn't really the problem, execution was. When the Saints took away wide receivers Moulds and Peerless Price with double teams, that left the middle of the field open for Riemersma. Johnson saw it, but failed to connect.'
Reality still disappointing [5:45 AM]
D and C reports: 'The offense showed some flashes, but they were rare, and the bottom line is the Bills didn't score a touchdown. Rob Johnson once again failed to deliver on his ''potential.'' That storyline is getting tiring.'
Buffalo kicker times things perfectly [5:44 AM]
D and C reports: 'Yesterday, in his first regular- season NFL game, he connected on field goals from 37 and 22 yards, providing the only Buffalo points in a 24-6 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The job is his -- for now.'
Loss of Cowart hurts more than loss to Saints [5:43 AM]
D and C reports: 'Consider this: If Cowart -- second only to Baltimore's Ray Lewis among NFL defenders last season -- is gone for the season, the Bills will be without their four leading tacklers and their entire linebacking corps from a year ago.'
Buffalo Bills report card [5:42 AM]
D and C reports: 'Gregg Williams' debut turned out as expected -- his young team played well early against a beatable Saints team, failed to respond to adversity, and petered out in the end.'
Bills' will fight for survival in transition season [7:26 PM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'There you have it, 7 up, 9 down. Nothing too spectacular or out of the ordinary. The hope will have to be that the Bills have swallowed hard and are now in position to make a charge and not so much change in '02.'
Saints 24, Bills 6 [6:41 PM]
AP reports: 'While Buffalo's newly installed 4-3 defense held firm, quarterback Rob Johnson looked unsettled running the new West Coast offensive scheme.'
New Orleans 24, Buffalo 6 [6:40 PM]
Sportsticker reports: '"I thought we ran the ball well in the first half but you've got to come back with some play action and throw teams off," he said. "We didn't do that. I think our game plan was to come in, pound it, try to run the clock a little. I think it worked in the opposite for us. I think they came back and switched up things. I think we played into their hands a little."'
Christie cut on eve of new era [9:26 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm shocked and disappointed," Christie said. "I've spent 10 years in Buffalo. This is my 12th year in the league. I've made Buffalo my home. I've loved it here. I've loved the Bills. I think I deserve more from guys who have not been in Buffalo at all. I deserved more. This would not have happened with Marv Levy. Period."'
Bills and Saints have to lay it on the line [9:25 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Look for the Bills to feature rookie running back Travis Henry early and often. If Henry is effective, he will take some of the heat off Johnson and give him a chance to make some big pass plays against the Saints' suspect secondary.'
True Survivor [9:25 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo News Ronnie Vinklarek is 5-9 and weighs less than 200 pounds, but he's always been a suc-cessful offensive line coach.'
Best Bills' openers are tough acts to follow [9:24 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bills 17, Dolphins 7 - 1980: Of course, this ended the 0-for-the-'70s, 20-game losing streak against Miami. The game itself wasn't particularly well-played. The winning score was a Joe Ferguson-to-Roosevelt Leaks touchdown pass. It's best remembered for the fact the fans tore down both goal posts.'
Major changes mean it's time for patience with the Bills [9:22 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Don't be confused by Williams' optimistic swagger. He's trying to prop up his young team's confidence and help sell tickets. But he's no dummy. He talks about making the playoffs and contending for the Super Bowl, but his actions tell another story.'
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