Vikings notes [9:08 AM]
Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: 'It has been three seasons and two teams since Vikings guard Corbin Lacina played in Buffalo. But he still knows enough of Bills to be looking forward to Sunday's game. Lacina played in Buffalo from 1994 to '97 before going to Carolina for a season then coming to the Vikings. "It will make it a little more fun out there," Lacina said. "There are a lot of guys I know, guys I practiced against. Look at [defensive end] Phil Hanson and [nose tackle] Ted Washington. And linebacker John Holecek. Those guys are still there, and those are the guys we'll be going against. There will be some trash talking."'
Vikings mix wins, winces [9:07 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'With an average margin of victory of only about seven points, every game has been in question well into the fourth quarter.'
Burrough aids line's versatility [9:06 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'The Vikings don't feel they would have effectively been able to move John Randle from defensive tackle to end without the flexibility of John Burrough. And now that nickel-package defensive end Bryce Paup will be out for six weeks with a fracture in his right knee, Burrough's versatility also may save the Vikings a headache. "There's no question, John is versatile, and it has helped us," Vikings defensive line coach Fred vonAppen said. "We feel he can play anywhere on the line and play effectively."'
A painful first [9:05 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Defensive end Bryce Paup will be out for six weeks with a fracture in his right knee.'
Phillips goes on defense over offense [8:36 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Phillips still stubbornly maintains that while Johnson was hit and sacked too much "it wasn't all the offensive line, certainly." He then pointed out that a "young guy" (probably running back Jonathan Linton) had missed a protection on the game's first sack. But what about all the other hits on Buffalo QBs? It defies logic that the offensive line can't be held accountable, especially since the Bills have rushed for more than 100 yards in only two of six games this season.'
Paup out 6-8 weeks [8:27 PM]
AP reports: 'Minnesota Vikings pass-rushing specialist Bryce Paup is expected to miss six to eight weeks because of a fracture in his right leg.'
Bills top TV ratings [8:25 PM]
AP reports: 'For the sixth straight week in which they've played this season, Bills games have been the most-watched program in Buffalo.'
Flutie is mum about 'promotion' to starter [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The normally accessible Flutie did not make himself available to the media Monday as he was locked away in a room at the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse studying film. There are a number of ways to look at why Flutie wasn't around to talk about getting his first start since Week 15 of last season. Is there so much concern about facing the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings on Sunday that more film work is needed, or is he so motivated to succeed that he couldn't break away for even a few minutes? Or could it be that Flutie doesn't want to come off as being insensitive about starting at the expense of a fallen teammate? Whatever the case, the job is his. How he handles it will have a huge bearing on how the rest of the Bills' season plays out.'
What, Wade worry? Woes multiplying in spite of win [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Week after week, the offensive linemen have botched their assignments, leaving Johnson exposed to unimpeded rushers. What Brown seemed to be saying was, we're tired of it. Give us some blocking schemes that don't get abused. Last week, Eric Moulds asked for Joe Pendry's offense to be simplified. It was a clear sign of discontent simmering within the offense. Brown's outburst, which embarrassed the coaching staff in front of 72,000 fans and a TV audience, was a more dramatic cry for help. Phillips can laugh it off all he wants. I doubt Johnson is laughing.'
Wiley, Flowers make change for the better [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'After being held to two sacks in the previous three games, the Bills recorded four in the 27-24 overtime win over San Diego on Sunday. The Bills moved Marcellus Wiley from right defensive end to the left side and put rookie Erik Flowers at right end in the nickel defense. The result was a career-high two sacks for Wiley, while Flowers recorded his first as a pro.'
Buffalo's Doug Flutie presents a new challenge for the Vikings' defense [8:35 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: '"Offensively, with Doug Flutie, I think they are going to recommit themselves to running the football," Vikings coach Dennis Green said. "I think Doug likes the running game with the play-action pass. We're going to have to work extremely hard in that area this week."'
Flutie inherits start for Bills [6:12 AM]
D and C reports: 'Should the Bills (3-3) upset the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings (6-0) on the road Sunday, then get past the New York Jets (5-1) at home the following week, and the offense is humming under Flutie, Phillips will be faced with a decision to make, just like he was in 1998. The big difference is that Johnson is much more entrenched as the starter and Flutie could be a salary cap cut after this season anyway.'
It's better late than never, now that Flutie will start [6:10 AM]
D and C reports: 'I also think a one-two punch of Johnson and Flutie could be effective, but we're in the minority. Perhaps Phillips would be more inclined to try it if Flutie does well in his upcoming emergency starting role and Johnson returns 100 percent healthy.'
The Last Word [6:09 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'In some corners, the former Argos star has a reputation as a "me-first" guy, a handle that quickly will be forgotten if he leads his team to a couple of wins, of course. In his defence, he has been dealt some rotten hands by the NFL, both by the Bills and previously the Chicago Bears. Which leads us to the crisis in waiting. What happens if Flutie leads the Bills to victories over the Vikings this Sunday, the New York Jets the following weekend and the New England Patriots after that?'
Flutie gets his shot to start [8:34 PM]
AP reports: '"I think I learned my lesson early on. And it's not a factor of Rob gets hurt, it's a factor of it's NFL football and the opportunity will probably be there," Flutie said. "I guess we'll just take it one game at a time. I just have to prepare and get ready."'
Chargers blow 10-point lead in losing seventh straight [3:17 PM]
North County Times reports: 'And while the Chargers hand it to the Bills (3-3) for their fortitude, they also admit this one didn't need to slip away. Not on a day in which Curtis Conway and Jeff Graham each had 100 yards receiving and a touchdown. A day in which the Chargers collected 303 total yards against the NFL's No. 2 defense - first to do so in eight straight contests. A day in which the Chargers were ahead, 24-14, with about 14 minutes to play. "Definitely, we were in the driver's seat," said Rodney Harrison, who tied Seau with a game-high 12 tackles, and added a sack and interception. "We had the momentum, we felt everything was going positive, we had a 10-point lead. It just seemed like things started to fall apart. It's always something - one thing here, one thing there. It seems like that way all the time."'
Chargers come up short on key play [3:15 PM]
North County Times reports: 'It was a third-quarter play designed for the right side. Instead, it went terribly wrong for the Chargers. Faced with a third-and-1 on the Bills 33, the Chargers were primed to put a stake in Buffalo's wings. Ahead 24-14, moving the chains here would seemingly pad a cushion the inconsistent Bills might have a tough time overcoming. But Jermaine Fazande got tossed for a 2-yard loss, coach Mike Riley elected to punt, and before someone could say "Doug Flutie," Buffalo shuffled off with a victory.'
Carney fine, but Riley reluctant to use him [3:14 PM]
North County Times reports: 'It was an obvious question, after Mike Riley elected to punt on Buffalo's 35- and 36-yard lines in Sunday's 27-24 overtime loss to the Bills. Hey John Carney, you're reliable right leg OK? "Yeah," he said. So despite Carney owning the team record with two career-best 54-yard field goals, the Chargers' coach elected to punt on both occasions inside the Buffalo 37. On one, Darren Bennett pinned the Bills in at their 1 - they still scored. On the other - with 2:35 to play; he kicked it into the end zone - they still scored, to tie the game and send it into overtime. On Saturday, the winds were swirling so bad at Ralph Wilson Stadium one wouldn't consider field goals of 52 and 53 yards. Sunday? "We were very, very fortunate wind-wise," said Carney, the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history. "I had a 53-yarder in pregame." But Riley - afraid of a miss and losing the field-position battle - didn't give Carney a chance. "I was ready to go," Carney said. "But at the same time I understand percentages of long-range field goals. Coach Riley said 'punt' right away; he didn't want to give up field position in case something happened." Said Riley: "We did put them down to the 1-yard line, which I thought was great. The second time, we didn't."'
Bills celebrate overtime win against San Diego [1:35 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '"This was a big win," [Steve Christie said], "and we needed it." But will there be enough for a playoff berth?'
Ostroski's TD a lineman's dream [1:33 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The Bills' second touchdown was bizarre as running back Jonathan Linton fumbled into the end zone when hit by former Buffalo safety Mike Dumas with center Jerry Ostroski recovering. "That's the first touchdown I've scored since I was in sixth grade and caught a long bomb in the backyard," Ostroski said. "All my life I was doomed to be an offensive lineman and not touch the football unless I hiked it. So, scoring today, was pretty cool."'
All Chargers can do is keep on playing hard [1:31 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'When the announcement was made that the San Diego locker room was open after the Chargers 27-24 overtime loss, only two reporters bothered to go in.'
Riley admits musical quarterbacks was mistake [12:12 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'In breaking his seasonlong routine, Chargers coach Mike Riley didn't wait until the morning after the game to admit he had made a mistake. Instead, he stepped up to a wall of microphones after yesterday's 27-24 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills and acknowledged his decision to send in backup Moses Moreno to start the second quarter was wrong.'
Coaching errors dig a hole for Chargers [12:10 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: '[Chargers' coach Mike Riley's] first mistake was announcing during the week that Jim Harbaugh would start the game, play the first quarter and then give way to Moses Moreno for the second 15 minutes. This isn't Colgate-Canisius. His second mistake was sticking to his decision. Pulling Harbaugh was an error. It was a mistake before Moreno came in and stunk up Ralph Wilson Stadium to such an extent I'm surprised the fans didn't run for Syracuse.'
Old Bears wake up against Bills [12:08 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'It was like old times for wide receivers Curtis Conway and Jeff Graham yesterday against the Buffalo Bills. As they did five years ago as teammate with the Chicago Bears, the two ran circles around the opposing secondary. They caught passes: 16 combined. They gained yards: 256 combined. They scored touchdowns: one each. They lost.'
Penalty turns into big gift as extra kick rescues Bills [12:07 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: '"I was called because I was the last one on the line," said Ostroski, who was reluctant to take credit for saving the Bills. "It should have been called on them because they jacked with our center."'
Key plays of the game [12:05 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'The Bills appeared to have scored on their second possession when they lined up for a field goal only to have holder Chris Mohr stand up and pass 37 yards to an uncovered Eric Moulds for what should have been a touchdown. But the officials ruled the ball was "not whistled ready for play" and nullified the play. Buffalo wound up punting.'
Clinton attends church while Lazio tries to pick up votes at Bills game [9:10 AM]
AP reports: 'Lazio began the day at the Buffalo Bills game in Ralph Wilson Stadium. Accompanied by his wife and two young daughters, he greeted fans in the parking lot amid tailgate parties complete with barbecues and beer. An airplane flew overhead with a banner reading "Lazio for Senate, www.lazio.com," while campaign aides handed out toy footballs bearing the message "Go Buffalo! Lazio for Senate." "I grew up a Giants fan," Lazio said, "but that doesn't mean I'm against the Bills. Today, I'm really hoping the Bills win and shut out the Chargers." His wish came true, in part: The Bills beat the San Diego Chargers, 27-24.'
Bills win a tough one, lose a QB [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills ended a three-game losing streak and leveled their record at 3-3 with a 27-24 overtime win over the winless San Diego Chargers before a sellout crowd in Ralph Wilson Stadium. The victory came despite an injury to Rob Johnson, who separated his shoulder in overtime. Johnson is expected to miss two to four weeks.'
Bills dodge lightning strike [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Everything that looked easy was made hard by the Bills on this day. The winless San Diego Chargers made so many mistakes that Bills fans could have been lighting victory cigars by halftime. But the Bills sunk to the Chargers' level - and actually went below it for the first three quarters. It wasn't until 8:26 of overtime was played that the crowd of 72,351 at Ralph Wilson Stadium was able to breathe a final sigh of relief.'
Moulds gets the job done [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"He's really come through, especially in the clutch," Bills coach Wade Phillips said of Moulds who, with 560 yards this year, is on pace for his second 1,000-yard season in two years. "We look for him a lot, but he's our big gun. He's our big guy. He's always there to make plays. I'm constantly amazed by him."'
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|09/21||San Diego Chargers||1:00 pm|
|09/28||@ Houston Texans||1:00 pm|
|10/05||@ Detroit Lions||1:00 pm|
|10/12||New England Patriots||1:00 pm|
|10/19||Minnesota Vikings||1:00 pm|
|10/26||@ New York Jets||1:00 pm|
|11/09||Kansas City Chiefs||1:00 pm|
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|12/14||Green Bay Packers||1:00 pm|
|12/21||@ Oakland Raiders||4:25 pm|
|12/28||@ New England Patriots||1:00 pm|