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Buffalo Bills News - September 4, 2000

Marker Bills win Nickel City nailbiter [1:37 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The Bills are tied with the New York Giants with the most "home grown" players on their roster with 40. The Bills have 31 draftees on their 53-man squad, plus nine undrafted free agents. Tennessee and Pittsburgh have the most draftees on their rosters, 33. And New Orleans and Miami have the fewest "home grown" players with 23.'

Marker This time, a happy ending [9:11 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It was sweet revenge for the home fans, who saw the Titans end the Bills' playoff hopes in the first round last year. The faithful came early to the parking lots around the stadium in Orchard Park and partied hearty.'

Marker Bills persevere in Titanic struggle [9:10 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills scored a little Throwback Payback Sunday night against the Tennessee Titans. The new-look Bills opened the 2000 season with a dramatic 16-13 victory over the defending AFC champions. But it wasn't easy.'

Marker Defense silences Titans attack [9:09 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'For those who thought the Buffalo Bills defense was going to take a fall this season, the guys on that side of the football had a rejoinder Sunday night. We're still standing.'

Marker Bills' new faces on defense get acquainted fast [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We looked like the best defense in the league again tonight," said coach Wade Phillips.'

Marker Monday billboard [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bills linebacker Keith Newman had two sacks in his first NFL start. The second one pinned the Titans deep in their own territory and allowed the Bills good field position in the third quarter. FYI: Gabe Northern, Newman's predecessor, was waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers after training camp.'

Marker Christie's late FG music to Bills' ears [7:27 AM]
Houston Chronicle reports: '"Our defense played well the entire game except that one pass to Moulds at the end," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "We couldn't run the ball. We didn't convert on third down. And we dropped too many passes. "Now we've got to dig ourselves out of this hole."'

Marker No miracle this year [6:43 AM]
Titans Exclusive reports: 'It was a night of dropped balls and missed opportunities for both teams, but the Titans' miscues were more crucial and would have had a huge impact on the outcome.'

Marker Payback for Throwback [6:17 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills opened their season with a pulsating 16-13 triumph over the Titans, their playoff nemesis eight months ago, but the price was an injury to quarterback Rob Johnson. He limped off the field with an injured left leg in the fourth quarter and didn't return. Alex Van Pelt relieved and quarterbacked the comeback.'

Marker Titans miscues keep Bills alive [6:16 AM]
D and C reports: 'With 11 minutes left in the game, the Titans were faced with a 4th-and-1 at the Buffalo 9 while trailing 13-6. Going for a field goal would have left them still in need of a touchdown later in the game, so coach Jeff Fisher decided to go for the first down. His gamble backfired when Sam Rogers got great penetration and threw off Steve McNair's timing and his pass to rookie tight end Erron Kinney was broken up by Henry Jones in the end zone, preserving Buffalo's lead.'

Marker Report card [6:14 AM]
D and C reports: 'Rob Johnson's worst nightmare was realized behind a horrid performance by his offensive line. He withstood numerous hits, while throwing for one TD and setting up two field goals, giving the Bills a 13-6 lead before suffering a leg injury. The goal was to shed his injury-prone label, but it didn't happen. Backup Alex Van Pelt, however, had some magic in his bag.'

Marker Bills and Titans give fans enough bang for a buck [6:11 AM]
D and C reports: 'With any luck, the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans will meet again this season, maybe for the AFC Championship and the right to go to the Super Bowl. These two teams know how to entertain.'

Marker Bills End This Game With Different Tune [6:08 AM]
New York Times reports: 'The key play was a Van Pelt pass of 36 yards to wide receiver Eric Moulds, one of the premier pass catchers in the game, which put Buffalo on the Tennessee 20-yard line, setting up Christie's kick. This time, there was no miracle kickoff-return runback by the Titans, but it was a pretty good one nonetheless -- a a 52-yard return by Derrick Mason to the Buffalo 49 yard line. After a 9-yard pass play, the Titans decided to try a 60-yard field goal. But the kick by Craig Hentrich was wide left.'

Marker Play Leaves Indelible Mark on DeHaven [6:05 AM]
New York Times reports: '"If I were 100 years old, I would remember what happened on that play," he said in a telephone interview last month from San Francisco.'

Marker Revamped Bills look for winning combination [6:04 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'The tally shows another 11-5 season and another playoff berth through the wild card.'

Marker Bills win tight'un [5:54 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'The miracle script, first written nine months ago, was looking all too familiar last night. This time, the Bills satisfied their sweet tooth with long- awaited revenge, the last men standing in a 16-13 bash of the Tennessee Titans that was more of a defensive prize fight than offensive artistry. Urged on by a blood-thirsty sellout crowd, the Bills gave their fans what they wanted -- redemption for a bitter, controversial 22-16 loss to Tennessee in an AFC wild-card playoff in January.'

Marker Bills get sweet revenge on Titans [5:50 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'When asked if he was concerned about how the game was unfolding in eerily similar fashion to last season's playoff loss, Phillips responded: "This is a different team, a different year. Last year's gone. I don't live in the past. "We won the game. I'm pleased but we've got a long road to go and there are things we need to shore up, but any time you have a great defence you have the makings of a great football team."'

Marker Miracle comes to a close [5:47 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'It was the day the Music City miracle died. Any possible reprise at the Ralph ended with a wide and short 60-yard field goal attempt by strong-legged punter Craig Hentrich which helicoptered left as drained Bills defenders held heads in hands and spun to the ground in relief. The demons were finally exorcised, winging skyward in the exact opposite direction from where four pre-game parachutes had descended.'

Marker Titans lose tight game to Bills [5:43 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Tennessee had no game-ending miracle this time, as a last-ditch, 60-yard field goal attempt by Craig Hentrich sailed wide left and appeared short. The Bills won, 16-13, exacting at least a small measure of revenge for the Music City Miracle as Steve Christie nailed a 32-yard field goal with :35 on the clock.'

Marker Tribute to Lowry didn't go over well with Bills fans [5:41 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'The Titans wanted to pay tribute to their special teams coach, Alan Lowry, who didn't make the trip here after chest pains prompted a heart procedure midweek. So Tennessee didn't introduce its offense or its defense, but its special teams last night before kicking off the regular season with a rematch of last season's Wild Card Game matchup, won with the Music City Miracle. Those who recognized it at sold out Ralph Wilson Stadium surely saw it as the Titans taking advantage of one last opportunity before kickoff to rub Home Run Throw Back into Western New York's collective face.'

Marker Titans offense never able to get off ground [5:40 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Steve Christie's 33-yard field goal with 31 seconds left was the difference, but in the end dropped balls, mental errors and overall lackluster play on the offensive end prevented the Titans with a chance to start the season on a positive note. "It was very frustrating," Titans quarterback Steve McNair said. "They did a lot of things to stop us and we just could never get started. But Buffalo has a good defense and you have to give them credit -- they did what we had to do and we didn't."'

Marker Defense targeted Bills QB Johnson, and hit their target often [5:38 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'But for all of Johnson's talent -- a powerful arm to go with good mobility -- he will stand in the pocket until he is virtually out of time. In his previous 16 games before last night, he had been sacked 37 times -- that's 2.3 sacks per Johnson game. That isn't counting all of the hits he has taken on throws that actually made it out of his right hand. "You see what [Johnson] went through," Van Pelt said. "He's as tough as they come." "I think Rob has shown us he's our quarterback," said Bills linebacker Sam Cowart. "Just with the way he has approached things. We know he's going to be there and try to make some things happen."'

Marker Titans start season with sloppy football [5:35 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Home Run Throw Back now has been replaced by Buffalo Bills' payback. Next, we'll see how the Titans come back.'

Marker Titans had no miracles left in Buffalo [5:34 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'After the Titans tied it with 9:44 showing, Alex Van Pelt replaced a gimpy Johnson and eventually drove the Bills down for a Steve Christie field goal with 31 seconds left. It went down to the wire. This time, the Titans were fresh out of miracles.'

Marker Highs and lows of the Titans-Bills game [5:31 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Of all the variations on the theme, the best sign inside Ralph Wilson Stadium was hand-lettered on a large piece of cardboard: "Home Run Throw Up!" First runner-up: "NFL -- No Forward Laterals."'

Marker Titans report cards vs. Bills [5:29 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Rushing offense - F - Ineffective night for Eddie George (17 carries for 37 yards). The Titans were too stubborn with it when things didn't open up late in the game. On their own 14-yard line with 2:37 they ran him three times and punted.'

Marker Bills 16, Titans 13 [5:27 AM]
AP reports: 'New season. Same drama. New outcome. Finally, perhaps, the Buffalo Bills can look ahead and stop replaying "The Music City Miracle." "I hope so," Bills quarterback Rob Johnson said Sunday night after Buffalo edged Tennessee 16-13 in a rematch of last year's AFC wild card playoff game, won by the Titans on the final play. "How sweet it is," Buffalo coach Wade Phillips said. "Not revenge, but victory."'

Marker Bills 16, Titans 13 [5:22 AM]
Sportsticker reports: 'With the Buffalo Bills watching in horror, the Tennessee Titans almost provided a flashback to "Home Run Throwback." The Bills survived Derrick Mason's long kickoff return and held on for a 16-13 victory over the Titans in a rematch of their thrilling and controversial playoff meeting from last season.'

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September 3, 2000

Marker NFL schedule maker does Bills a favor [3:23 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'When the league formula dictated that the Bills and Titans would meet this season, the game was booked for the first week ... reintroducing that bizarre finish, but at least getting it out of the way in the opener. Even now, some Buffalo fans swear the Bills were jobbed on the play ... that Wycheck's toss was illegal and not a lateral at all. And they've found in ally in coach Wade Phillips who has his own name for the memorable play: "Home Run Throw Forward." But, of all people, he has a sympathizer in his Tennessee counterpart. "I just think it's just his opinion of the play," said Titans coach Jeff Fisher when asked if Phillips' contention smacked of sour grapes. "I often times put myself in (his) shoes and can only imagine how he feels. After playing the way his team did ... having the season his team had ... and the expectations they had... to come down to what they thought it took to win the ball game and have it end like that ... I could only begin to understand how he feels. I'm sure a lot of people in that organization haven't had a good night's sleep since it happened." Especially, since Fisher thought the game was lost with 16 seconds to go.'

Marker Throwback Playback [9:24 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The electricity on the sidelines was enough to make one's hair stand on end. The Buffalo Bills had taken what seemed like the best haymakers the Tennessee Titans could throw for three hours. They had seen teammate after teammate get carted off the field. Both starting tackles were injured. Running back Antowain Smith hobbled off. Linebacker Marlo Perry broke his leg and went off on a stretcher. Yet they had hung together. They had fought back. Here they were, in the loudest stadium in the NFL, Adelphia Coliseum in Nashville, Tenn. It had been a madhouse all afternoon, but all of a sudden it was dead quiet. Half their teammates on the sideline had just mobbed Steve Christie, whose 41-yard field goal gave the Bills a 16-15 lead. Sixteen seconds remained as they gathered to hear special teams coach Bruce DeHaven tell them how Christie would kick off. Their adrenaline was off the charts. "Everybody was jacked," said Christie. "I had another coach in the league tell me that if you think those guys heard anything you said in that huddle before you went out, you're crazy," said DeHaven this week from his San Francisco 49ers office. "I'm not sure I totally agree with that." What happened next, of course, is NFL history.'

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