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Buffalo Bills News - October 9, 2000

Marker Big plays for the big D [5:31 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'The Dolphins' defense continues to be the hallmark of the team. Besides strong, steady play, the defense has come up with big plays that have turned games around this season.'

Marker Playing it safe? [5:30 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'The Dolphins took a 13-3 lead at halftime Sunday and then took a more conservative offensive approach in the second half.'

Marker Bills rookie goes from elation to grief [5:24 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: '"It's kind of like last week, almost like we're on a roller-coaster of emotions," Morris said. "We got a high point and then all of a sudden we got a big, hard, low point."'

Marker Long route enhances Fiedler's mixed arsenal [5:22 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'The Dolphins went the long route more than they had in the previous five games. It paid off in one touchdown, kept the Bills off balance and showed promise for the future.'

Marker Sacks virtuoso: Armstrong hits 100 [5:19 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'Trace Armstrong, that grizzled old Gator, dropped onto a stool in front of his locker, wearing a sweat-drenched T-shirt whose sleeves had been raggedly removed by scissors. He was too tired to ponder the meaning of what he had just accomplished and certainly too drained to realize that he had just hit 100 sacks.'

Marker This film study came with some popcorn [5:17 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'On the eve of the Dolphins' 22-13 victory over Buffalo on Sunday at Pro Player Stadium, coach Dave Wannstedt took his players to watch the new Denzel Washington movie about a racially integrated Virginia high school football team that won a state championship in the early 1970s. Wannstedt moved his team meetings up an hour and ordered buses for his surprised players to attend a private screening at a Miami Lakes movie theater.'

Marker Bills' Brown talks better than he plays [5:15 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'Buffalo guard Ruben Brown couldn't control his mouth on Sunday any better than he could control Dolphins' defensive linemen. Brown was so frustrated by the Dolphins after the 22-13 loss, he took a shot at the Dolphins and defensive tackle Jermaine Haley in a postgame interview. "They're not that tough," said Brown, who some thought the Dolphins should have pursued in the offseason. "They're not nowhere tough, especially that No. 94. He's a chump. He's a little kid out there playing with the big boys. I can't wait to see his little butt next time. That's it."'

Marker Thurman vs. the Bills takes some getting used to [5:12 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: '"I hate it," said Bills defensive end Phil Hansen. "It's like putting peanut butter and jelly on a hamburger. It's just not right."'

Marker Another game, another defensive hero [5:10 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'There are a dozen ways to cut this win, from the Dolphins' 120 rushing yards to the Bills' 76, from the Dolphins' six sacks to the Bills' one, from Dolphin quarterback Jay Fiedler not missing what little he was asked to do and Buffalo quarterback Rob Johnson missing on too much. But Sunday really came down to what this season comes down so far. It comes down to the Dolphin defense.'

Marker Players helping to sack paralysis [5:07 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'It's a pact that Taylor, Armstrong and Zach Thomas made with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, one of the country's foremost clinics dealing with spinal-cord injuries. Every time one of those three makes a sack, they donate $1,000 to the project. Every time one of those three makes a tackle, they donate $100. So far, the trio has raised $20,000 this season, and expects to raise more than $100,000 by season's end.'

Marker Dolphins' dogs have their day [5:05 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'Said Dolphins center Tim Ruddy: "We're not tearing it up. We're having bright spots and low spots. But we're trying to work on the consistency and getting the offense together." The same can be said of the Bills (2-3), who now have three division losses. Johnson, who completed 11 of 26 passes for 178 yards, was sacked five times and forced from the game after banging his right elbow late in the fourth quarter.'

Marker Madison sparks Miami victory with late score [5:02 AM]
Orlando Sentinel reports: '"We fought our [rear] off," said Buffalo quarterback Doug Flutie, who replaced Johnson on the game`s final drive. "As poorly as things went for three quarters, we got the ball back down by less than a score. You just had that feeling that we were going to take it and go."'

Marker Dolphins notebook [4:59 AM]
Orlando Sentinel reports: 'Scott Galyon, the Dolphins' top backup linebacker, is expected to miss the remainder of the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Galyon suffered the injury while tackling Buffalo's Chris Watson on a first-quarter kickoff.'

Marker Miami has the state`s best NFL team, too [4:55 AM]
Orlando Sentinel reports: '"We`re not shocked," Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler said after another solid yet unspectacular day. "No matter what our critics said before the season, we knew we had a good team."'

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October 8, 2000

Marker Leaders of the pack [7:07 PM]
Fox Sports reports: 'Miami dominated for most of the afternoon. Still, with 8:34 left, the Dolphins' lead had been trimmed to 15-13 when Buffalo quarterback Rob Johnson led his team on a three-play, 82-yard touchdown drive in the blink of an eye. The Dolphins sputtered on offense and gave the ball right back. But once again, the Miami defense stepped up. Johnson flipped a little pass to running back Sammy Morris. Cornerback Patrick Surtain knocked the ball out of his hands. Cornerback Sam Madison scooped the ball out of midair and returned it 20 yards for the touchdown that settled the outcome.'

Marker Dolphins 22, Bills 13 [7:05 PM]
AP reports: 'Like so many times in the past, the showdown between AFC East archrivals Miami and Buffalo ended with Thurman Thomas holding a game ball. Only this time Thomas provided a spark for the Dolphins rather than the Bills, and he did it not so much with his running as with his taunting. Thomas repeatedly talked trash to his former teammates, and Miami's defense backed him up with a smothering performance Sunday to beat the Bills 22-13. "I'm 1-0 against the Bills. I'm happy," Thomas said. "Once I strapped it on today, everything I did for 12 years in Buffalo went out the window."'

Marker Buffalo 13, Miami 22 [7:02 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Thurman Thomas dominated the headlines this week, but the defense of the Miami Dolphins dominated the game. With most of the attention focused on Thomas in his first game against the Buffalo Bills, Trace Armstrong led a ferocious pass rush and Sam Madison, Patrick Surtain and unheralded rookie Jermaine Haley also starred on defense in a 22-13 victory.'

Marker Jones insists his young unit will be special [7:00 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '"Our special teams players are young ... and the fact people are tired of hearing that doesn't make them any older. We have six rookies on our kickoff coverage team ... five of them next to each other. Eventually, they're going to be pretty good," he said. "One thing we've started to do is take things game-by-game. Once you've given up a (97-yard kickoff return) you're not going to move up very much (in the kick coverage standings). So we're concentrating on 'How did we do this week (compared to the other 30 teams).' A big part of my job is being part psychologist or psychiatrist to these players. And right now, they have to do a better job of preparing to win."'

Marker Showdown has top billing for Thomas [9:40 AM]
Tampa Tribune reports: '"I'm really excited, but I've been excited since I signed here with the Miami Dolphins," Thomas said. "Obviously, spending 12 years in Buffalo, you want to play well against that team. You want to win. But I can't turn this into a me- against-the-Bills type of atmosphere. That's what I'm trying not to do." How hard he's trying is anybody's guess.'

Marker Dolphins' greatest tests begin with Buffalo [9:34 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'The Bills swept the Dolphins last year for only the seventh time in the history of this rivalry, and they have won four of the past six meetings. They also come into the game with an 0-2 record in the AFC East, losing at the gun last week to Indianapolis at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "We know it's an important game," former Buffalo now Miami running back Thurman Thomas said. "It would probably separate us from the pack. We know we have to be ready. We know we have to play extra hard, and what better feeling to have than being 5-1 going into the bye week."'

Marker Characters change, but AFC East prevails [9:32 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: '"The AFC East is still the best division," former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly said. "Whoever said that (it wasn't) doesn't know anything about football."'

Marker It's win or Go Fish for Bills today [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It's not a must-win but it's huge, especially because it's in division and we've lost two," Johnson said. "I think the biggest thing is for the morale of the team. We felt we've given two games away in our division. I think we're a good team. We've proven that. We can play with anyone. I think we can go on runs and roll off five or six wins in a row. But we have to start playing better."'

Marker Pretty good won't get it done for Bills in Pro Player Stadium [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Outlook: The Dolphins have had an easy schedule so far. They are a soft 4-1. . . . Bills, 17-14.'

Marker Thurman adds spice to intense matchup [7:08 AM]
D and C reports: 'Today's first Thurman Bowl is a juicy soap opera, especially after Thomas' week of trash talking and the fact the Bills' season is tetering in the wind. "I haven't said anything to my teammates here," Thomas said. "You know the rivalry. These guys know how I want this game to turn out."'

Marker Bills' scouting report [7:07 AM]
D and C reports: 'Bills win if...They play turnover-free. The Dolphins have thrived on turnovers, forcing a league-high 14 thus far. The game figures to be close and one break off a turnover could prove critical...Their defense outplays the stout Miami defense. The Dolphins will have the advantage of the home crowd firing them up, but top to bottom, the Buffalo defense is stronger than Miami's...Johnson plays efficiently. He can't make some of the poor decisions that plagued him last week.'

Marker Rivalry burns in Miami [7:05 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"Whatever you've become accustomed to with Miami-Buffalo games, it's going to be the same, no different," Bills guard Ruben Brown said. "They're going to be coming at us, man. They always bring the heat and we've got to be prepared for that."'

Marker Out of the shadows [6:56 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Since their meeting last November, future Hall of Famers Bruce Smith, Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas were cast out in Buffalo. Dan Marino was similarly vanished from the Dolphins roster, albeit in a more diplomatic fashion. The last time the teams played without this superstar corps intact, President Ronald Reagan was in the White House.'

Marker Is this season real, or is it Wannstedt magic? [6:54 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'The Dolphins are the surprise team in the NFL right now. Dave Wannstedt is the coach of the year or Doug Henning. The early success has the feel of magic, but you wonder if it will disappear. There remains the unsettling sense that Miami's 4-1 record is propped up on matchsticks and toothpicks, held together by masking tape, string and a prayer. Today -- here against nemesis Buffalo, most perfectly -- we should finally get an answer: Can this be real?'

Marker Dolphins looking for another miracle [6:53 AM]
Miami Herald reports: '[Dolphins Special Teams Coach Mike] Westhoff admits the Bills looked bad on special teams their first three games this season. But when he pops in the tape of last week's game against Indianapolis, he notices marked improvement. "Early in the season, you could see they had a lot of things to iron out," he says. "They gave up a lot of plays. But as the season has progressed, they've done a lot of work and have gotten better. They totally changed some of the things they're doing. Yeah, there's no doubt in my mind we can still beat this outfit, but I know we'll have to execute very well."

Marker Enter the Hall of Almost [6:50 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Linebacker John Holecek said of his former teammate-turned-Dolphin Thurman Thomas: "He's the possible Hall of Famer." And I'm thinking Holecek must have Holeinhead, because isn't the Thurmanator, a top-10 all-time ground gainer, a lock to make Canton? Ran the question past two Hall voters, and both said Thomas, right now, looks like an interesting debate, not a lock. Clearly, the topic merited further chewing.'

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