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Buffalo Bills News - September 30, 2001

Marker Banged-up Bills' offense steels itself for Pittsburgh [5:58 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Steelers are a notch below the caliber of the Bills' first two opponents - New Orleans and Indianapolis - so there is a legitimate opportunity for the Bills to rebound from their 0-2 start before a flag-waving, sellout crowd at Ralph Wilson Stadium. But the Bills' new offense, which is still trying to find its bearings, enters the game hobbling, and the Steelers' defense is better than a lot of people realize.'

Marker For Bills and Steelers, to play's the thing [5:57 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If ever there were two teams anxious to get back on the field, they are the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers. They get their wish today at Ralph Wilson Stadium.'

Marker No Gray areas [5:56 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The challenge he's facing now is different than chasing future Heisman Trophy winners or lowering his forearm on some unsuspecting wideout who dared stray between the hash marks. Gray is in his first season as the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, a position that places him under an intense spotlight that can be tough to bear. He knew there were going to be doubters when the Bills abandoned the 3-4 defense they had used successfully since 1979 in favor of the 4-3. He knew some people were going to ask questions about the change, especially after the Bills had the third-ranked defense last year following a season in which they were ranked No. 1. Molding the unit in his resilient image is even more daunting minus steadfast veterans like Marcellus Wiley, Ted Washington, John Holecek and Sam Rogers. Now Sam Cowart, the pulse of the group, is down for the year with a partially torn right Achilles tendon.'

Marker Gregg Williams' slow start has parallels to Saban's struggles in '62 [4:47 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'I have to cackle at Buffalo Bills' fans. One medium-sized pratfall and they think the football world has gone into permanent eclipse.'

Marker Going to the dogs? [4:43 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The annual Buffalo Bills pet calendar is out, and as always, the photos make it. Where else can you get a picture of Bills owner Ralph Wilson side by side with pal Buffy?'

Marker Rust from 21-day layoff should be Steelers' biggest problem [11:49 AM]
Beaver County Times reports: 'The Steelers have been off so long they wonder how long it will take to shake off the rust. "We have tried to get close to game simulation (at practice), but you can never simulate true game speed," Cowher said.'

Marker Bills fall long way in short time [11:48 AM]
Beaver County Times reports: 'Cynics may sneer at the Buffalo Bills as big-game chokers. Critics may point to the Bills' four straight Super Bowls failures in 1990-93 and snicker. But in reality, the Bills had nothing to be ashamed of. They were awesome. Obviously, not as awesome as the Steelers' dynasty of the 1970s. The Steelers' went 4-for-4 in their Super Bowl appearances in the '70s. But in a lot of respects, the glory years in Buffalo bore similarities to the glory years in Pittsburgh. Great owners. Great coaches. Great players. Great fans. Great cold-weather, small-market franchises located just 186 miles from each other. Today, though, the Bills are a team light years away from their heyday, 0-2 and going nowhere.'

Marker Cowher vs. Donahoe: Another power struggle [11:47 AM]
Beaver County Times reports: '"The fans in Pittsburgh were great to me," he said. "And they were great to my family. They always treated us with a lot of respect, and we'll never forget that. But we're Buffalo Bills (now). We live in this community. And that's where our attention is."'

Marker Buffalo GM, Cowher say game outweighs old feud [6:24 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'Cowher didn't like being asked on Tuesday if this game had added meaning because of Donahoe. "No," the coach said, glaring at the inquisitor.'

Marker Bills willing to start with baby steps [5:38 AM]
D and C reports: 'After losing their first two games by a combined score of 66-32, after being outgained (856-625), outsacked (9-3) and outclassed, the Buffalo Bills have a more modest goal right now. Win one game.'

Marker Question and answer with Nate Clements [5:37 AM]
D and C reports: '"I feel pretty confident right now. I'm not down and the team doesn't feel down. We need that one win and we can get this thing rolling. We've got 14 games left. In college had we lost our first two games, maybe yes, you'd be down because you only play 11 or 12 games. We know how crucial losses are in college. But in the NFL, we might go on a streak and win 14 straight. Who is to say we won't? We just need to stay confident, keep working hard, and it's going to come."'

Marker Overview [5:36 AM]
D and C reports: 'After losing two games to upper-echelon teams, the Bills will face a Pittsburgh club that, like it, isn't going anywhere this season. The Steelers have not played in three weeks, so they're either going to be rusty from the layoff or fresh and eager because of it. If the Steelers are fresh, the banged-up Bills must avoid falling behind early. If the Steelers are rusty, the Bills need to take control of the game.'

Marker Averting a Travis-ty [5:35 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'For the Bills offence to develop some consistency, it may have to come on the back of Henry, a second-round pick from the University of Tennessee. The sooner Henry hits his stride the better for the 0-2 Bills, starting with today's meeting with the 0-1 Pittsburgh Steelers at Ralph Wilson Stadium.'

Marker Game on: Steelers' wait over [5:34 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'The Bills are without middle linebacker Sam Cowart, their best defensive player. He's done for the season with an injury. His backup, Brandon Spoon, is also out. They will start Kenyatta Wright, a second-year, undrafted player from Oklahoma State in the middle of their new, 4-3 defensive scheme. It should be a good place for Bettis to run.'

Marker Today's Matchup [5:32 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'The offensive and defensive systems being employed by new Bills Coach Gregg Williams are still causing the players to think instead of react. However, he knows how to defense the Steelers because he did it when he was the defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans. Cowher and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey will have to make quick adjustments once they determine how the Bills are going to try to stop them.'

Marker Cowher, Donohoe meet once again [5:31 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Today, the two former associates, who together built one of the best teams in the AFC in the 1990s, send their teams against each other at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. Donahoe is president and general manager of the home team, the Buffalo Bills. He won't admit it, but he would like nothing better than to whip Cowher's team. Cowher remains coach of the Steelers and holder of the keys to the Rooney kingdom through 2005, along with a salary that eventually will approach $3 million per year.'

Marker Bills' Brown always an optimist [5:30 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Right about now the Bills are looking like a considerable underdog themselves, but that's not about to bother Brown. "It's football to me," he said of all the organization's changes. "I go out and block and try to do my job. I have fond memories of the times that I spent with the former guys and I cherish them, but those guys are gone. I'm still here and I have to play games and try to win, so I don't dwell on it. But there is a great history here and we are trying to build on that."'

Marker Scott ready to resume role on center stage [5:29 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Although it was over in a matter of moments, it hasn't been forgotten more than a month later. On one hand it was only a practice, a training camp practice at that. On the other hand it was a profound example of just how dominant a cornerback Chad Scott can become when he puts his mind to it.'

Marker Doing what comes naturally [5:28 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Their opponents this week, the Buffalo Bills, have played as badly as everyone expected in their first two weeks, and, consequently, have generated very little buzz.'

Marker Steelers/Bills scouting report [5:26 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Trips to Buffalo haven't been easy on the Steelers, but this one figures to be easier than most. The weather should be passable and the opponent - minus Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Bruce Smith and the rest of those Super Bowl Bills that used to give the Steelers fits at Ralph Wilson Stadium - should be much more forgiving. Although road games are never a "gimmie," this is one road game a playoff team ought to be able to win.'

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September 29, 2001

Marker Starting Not Important to Hampton [9:19 PM]
Pittsburgh.com reports: 'Analysts considered Casey Hampton to be something of a "reach" when he was drafted 19th in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers last April.'

Marker Lewis Likes the Blitz [9:18 PM]
Pittsburgh.com reports: 'The Bills' most critical injury, however, may have been the torn Achilles tendon suffered by middle linebacker Sam Cowart in the opener. Cowart, who made the Pro Bowl after making 181 tackles in only 12 games last season, was expected to be the lynchpin for Williams' new 4-3 defense. He was replaced last week by rookie Brandon Spoon on running downs and by Kenyatta Wright on passing downs. Spoon was injured in the game and will join Cowart on the sidelines today. "I'm not crying that he's not playing," said Steelers running back Jerome Bettis. "I never wish injury on a player. I just hope he recovers 100 percent from it. But he's one of those guys where you kind of give a sigh of relief when you hear he's not playing."'

Marker Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-2) Preview [6:08 PM]
AP reports: Buffalo's defense couldn't have played much worse than it did during the first two games. The Bills will have to improve in that area without their best defensive player. Buffalo takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ralph Wilson Stadium in a matchup of winless teams.

Marker Bills' Donahoe psyched about facing Steelers [3:30 PM]
AP reports: 'It's no wonder Donahoe was less candid discussing payback against the Steelers. "We have our issues we're trying to address. That's where our concentration is," Donahoe said. "But as far as me being a factor in the game, I'm not a factor." But in some ways he is.As the first executive to hold the title of president in franchise history, Donahoe is front and centre in overseeing a new Bills era. Since taking over in January following John Butler's dismissal, Donahoe has brought in a new coaching staff, headed by rookie Gregg Williams, defused a quarterback controversy by releasing Doug Flutie in favour of Rob Johnson, and is attempting to rebuild the Bills from scratch.'

Marker Bills make roster move [2:55 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'The Bills today announced offensive tackle Jon Carman has been signed to the 53-man roster.'

Marker Defense ready to go against Johnson [2:35 PM]
Steelers Digest reports: '"If he gets a little excited, he'll get out of the pocket and scramble on you and hurt you that way," said Smith. "You do get a little excited when he holds the ball, but you have to be conscious of getting overaggressive and he takes it up the field and the defensive backs are running downfield and he's getting a big gain on you. You can't let him sit there and pick you apart. If you get some pressure and get in his face and disrupt his throws, you can get some interceptions and knockdowns."'

Marker Donahoe downplays any extra incentive against Steelers [9:20 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'For Donahoe, who started in the Steelers' organization in the 1960s as the team's ball boy, this game has to conjure bittersweet feelings. Donahoe's tenure with the Steelers ended in January 2000 when it was determined that his relationship with Cowher had deteriorated to a point that owners Dan and Art Rooney II felt they had to decide which one must go.'

Marker Moulds will play; tackles questionable [9:19 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If Fina and Jennings can't go or are limited, rookie Marques Sullivan, who has been working at right tackle, will see time at tackle.'

Marker CBS draws the line on technology in smaller markets [9:18 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If the Buffalo Bills continue to flounder, Buffalo television viewers will be suffering through more than just the losses. They also will suffer through some games in which CBS doesn't appear to be trying its hardest to provide quality telecasts. During the Indianapolis Colts' 42-26 demolition of the Bills on Sunday, CBS didn't use the technology that helps viewers see where teams have to go to make first downs. In the Bills' opener two weeks earlier against the Saints, Fox also didn't use the technology.'

Marker Bills fans alerted to Route 219 work [9:17 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Fans heading to the Bills game Sunday on the westbound New York State Thruway are being asked to consider alternate routes to the stadium, Erie County Sheriff Patrick M. Gallivan announced Friday.'

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09/07 @ Chicago Bears 1:00 pm
09/14 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
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
11/13 @ Miami Dolphins 8:25 pm
11/23 New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/30 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/07 @ Denver Broncos 4:05 pm
12/14 Green Bay Packers 1:00 pm
12/21 @ Oakland Raiders 4:25 pm
12/28 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm

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