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Buffalo Bills News - December 20, 2004

Marker Spikes scores big 'TKO' in Ohio homecoming [5:01 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"A lot of the Cincinnati fans were calling me a traitor, but I was thinking that they just love me and don't know how to act," Spikes said with a devilish grin. "Like a bad relationship, they see you with somebody else and they don't like it for a minute, but then they learn to love you."'

Marker The two-minute read [5:01 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Came to play: Bills LB Takeo Spikes: So who wrote this movie script, Walt Disney? In the feel-good performance of the day, the ex-Bengals linebacker returned an interception 62 yards for a touchdown and recovered a Rudi Johnson fumble forced by Nate Clements that led to a field goal.'

Marker Buffalo Bills report card [5:00 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'With his team 8-2 since a 0-4 start, Mike Mularkey deserves some coach of the year votes.'

Marker Bills continue to pay off [4:54 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"We notice it," said Spikes when asked if the Bills have started scoreboard watching. "We said 'Okay, that happened, let's go take care of what we need to.' "'

Marker A Spikes in Bengals' heart [4:54 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'If there was ever a doubt as to why Takeo Spikes wanted to leave Cincinnati, it was played out in front of him yesterday. As the Bengals were guaranteeing a 14th consecutive season without a playoff berth, one of their old warriors played a big part in making it happen.'

Marker Best team in the NFL right now is... [4:54 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'Team of destiny, you say? Hard to believe that this is the same bunch that started winless in four. Can that really be the same Drew Bledsoe the Buffaloons were trying to run out of town, or worse, a few weeks ago?'

Marker Rookie blocks punt, scores TD [4:53 AM]
ESPN reports: 'He is about the most unlikely-looking special teams player in the NFL, a 6-feet-4 and 328-pound behemoth who caught the attention of league scouts at the annual combine workouts, clocking an eye-opening 40-yard time of under five seconds.'

Marker Bills Win Fifth Straight 33-17 [4:53 AM] reports: The blueprint was to use a ball control style of offense to win games. During the Bills feverish rise in the standings they have found other ways to win. The 33-17 win over Cincinnati was similar to last week's win against Cleveland. The offense didn't do that much, but they didn't have to. All three units scored touchdowns while the Bills forced four turnovers and made a couple of big plays on offense to pull off their fifth straight win, seventh in their last eight, and eighth in their last 10 after an 0-4 start.

Marker All Three Units Lead Bills To Win [4:49 AM] reports: 'The offense didn't have an explosion but they did enough to win. The defense struggled against the run but made big plays when they had to. Special teams made one big play, a few smaller ones, and flirted with disaster on a few other plays. Here are our position by position grades...'.

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December 19, 2004

Marker Bills keep playoff hopes alive [8:17 PM]
ESPN reports: 'The fact the Bengals were so repulsive, though, should not diminish the resourcefulness of the Bills, who won for the fifth straight time.'

Marker Bills Win Fifth Straight [7:28 PM] reports: 'Rookie Jason Peters blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. Defensive end Chris Kelsay recorded his first career pick.'

Marker Spikes Shines As The Bills Rip The Bengals [7:27 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Rudi Johnson opened the scoring with a three yard TD run and had 130 yards on the afternoon. Despite that, I think the Bills defense really arrived. Cincinnati had been a scoring machine lately picking up 113 points in three games. The Bills held them to just ten more points after falling behind.'

Marker McGahee twists knee, sits out last quarter [7:25 PM]
AP reports: '``I was thinking, 'Get up, Willis,''' Bledsoe said. ``He's been so pivotal in us turning this thing around, and it's a testament to him to get to where he is, with what he's gone through. Hopefully he'll be all right.'''

Marker Postgame quotes [7:19 PM] reports: 'Mike Mularkey on the destiny of the Bills: ďI donít know if itís destiny or just a team thatís made up of good character ó guys that have never given in ... not once. Even again, in this game, being down early and not blinking.Ē'

Marker Bills in the Thick of the Playoff Picture [5:36 PM] reports: 'Just five short weeks ago, the Bills were left for dead at 3-6 after an embarrassing defeat to the New England Patriots. Since then, Buffalo has scored at least 33 points in each win, making the 2004 team the first to score 30 points in five straight games in franchise history.'

Marker Freeze-dried frustration [5:35 PM] reports: 'For the second straight week against a playoff contender, the Bengals self-destructed with turnovers and gaffes and blew up their own playoff chances as well as a shot at a winning season during an ugly and cold 33-17 loss here to the Bills at Paul Brown Stadium.'

Marker Buffalo 33, Cincinnati 17 [4:28 PM]
AP reports: 'With the defense and special teams playing so well, the Bills' offense didn't have to do much. Drew Bledsoe was 15-of-30 for 183 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown pass to Lee Evans.'

Marker Buffalo 33, Cincinnati 17 [4:27 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Linebacker Takeo Spikes all but ended his former team's postseason hopes and kept his current squad in the thick of the playoff chase.'

Marker Buffalo 33, Cincinnati 17 [4:27 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Buffalo running back Willis McGahee left the game with a hyperextended knee after rushing for 25 yards on 11 carries.'

Marker What to look for vs. Bengals [11:32 AM] reports: 'The Bengals offense has played extremely well but Spikes could single-handedly disrupt their offense. He is both a stout run stopper and can also play back in coverage. He has three interceptions on the year, tied for second on the team. Cincinnati needs to be aware of where he is on the field at all times. Even if the Bengals double or triple team him, it may not be enough to contain the excitement he will be feeling on the field this week.'

Marker Special day on tap [9:27 AM] reports: 'What is going to decide the Bengalsí first home game in December between two playoff contenders (Cincinnati at 6-7 and Buffalo 7-6) in nine years is that little matchup in agate print: Special teams.'

Marker Bills savor taste of big stakes [9:27 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bengals' offense is one of the hottest in the NFL, averaging 478 yards a game over the past three weeks. Even though Cincinnati (6-7) will be without starting quarterback Carson Palmer, who has a knee injury, the Bengals will turn to one of the most competent backups in the NFL - Jon Kitna. He threw the third-most touchdown passes in the league last year.'

Marker Punching the clock [9:26 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills' ability to control the clock probably will be a huge factor against a Bengals offense that has been racing up and down the field the past month. "That's one of the first things I go to see," Mularkey said. "Obviously if you have the ball, you have chances to score and they don't. It's been a couple years since I did it, but typically the top teams in the league are at the top in time of possession."'

Marker Mularkey's toughness drives Bills' resurgence [9:25 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It seems like I've always started at the bottom," Mularkey said. "If we'd have started 4-0, maybe then I'd have been caught off-guard."'

Marker Mental toughness of Bills nears its final exam [9:24 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Today's game in Cincinnati will be a demonstration course. The Bengals virtually have been eliminated from playoff possibilities, but they are still a work in progress, a team that is almost certain to insert itself into much more serious contention in the next few years.'

Marker Bills, Bengals making a run with red-hot offenses [9:24 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bills survive a shootout with a 34-27 win.'

Marker A Gifted Class [9:23 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But in reality, it was an 11-round draft for the Bills, because four rookie free agents made the roster. Three of those - safety Rashad Baker, corner Jabari Greer and tight end Jason Peters - also have contributed. That's an impressive accomplishment for the Bills' college scouting department, headed by Assistant General Manager Tom Modrak.'

Marker Isolation booth [5:42 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: 'The Bills employ five offensive and defensive starters as blockers on the kickoff return team, including 245-pound linebacker London Fletcher as McGee's fellow deep man and designated blocker. The Bills also are dangerous on punt returns, so the Bengals' cover team will have to be sharp. Nate Clements and Jonathan Smith have returned punts for touchdowns this season, and the Bills' five return TDs in one season are the most since the Chicago Cardinals returned five for scores in 1959. Buffalo is ranked in the top five in kickoff return average, punt return average, average drive start (offense) and kickoff return average (defense).'

Marker Who's got the edge? [5:41 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: 'Bengals 24, Bills 23.'

Marker What you need to know about Bengals vs. Bills [5:40 AM]
Dayton Daily News reports: 'Don't be surprised if the scoreboard resembles a pinball machine. The Bengals will miss the center-QB exchange of Braham & Palmer, but I have faith that Jerry Fontenot and Kitna will get the job done. The Bengals will spoil Spikes' homecoming. The final: Bengals 38, Bills 31.'

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09/10 New York Jets 1:00 pm
09/17 @ Carolina Panthers 1:00 pm
09/24 Denver Broncos 1:00 pm
10/01 @ Atlanta Falcons 1:00 pm
10/08 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
10/22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 pm
10/29 Oakland Raiders 1:00 pm
11/2 @ New York Jets 8:25 pm
11/12 New Orlean Saints 1:00 pm
11/19 @ San Diego Chargers 4:05 pm
11/26 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
12/3 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
12/10 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
12/17 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
12/24 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm
12/31 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm

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