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Buffalo Bills News - December 17, 2004

Marker Friday's Cincinnati Coverage [5:31 AM] reports:
Palmer not yet counting self out (Cincinnati Enquirer)
SS Beckett doubtful to play against Bills (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Another tough foe for Bengals (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Rudi's battled the best (Cincinnati Post)
Rudi Johnson, game by game (Cincinnati Post)
Backup Kitna ranks as 1st-stringer in life (Cincinnati Post)
Palmer's down to 1 crutch (Cincinnati Post)
Focused Spikes back in Cincinnati (Dayton Daily News)
Kitna defends arm, Rudi earns praise (Dayton Daily News)
Kitna at peace with role (Columbus Dispatch)
Kitna & Palmer close friends despite differences (AP)

Marker Bills defense the grinch that steals offense [5:00 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"We want three a game, not to get greedy, but to finish on a positive note," said Gray, whose unit has 28 takeaways, already 10 more than all of last season. "If you can get a positive number, the offense will have the ball on short fields and you have a great chance to win games."'

Marker Wannstedt pulls self from Pitt's list [4:55 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'One other former Pitt quarterback is clearly interested in a job once a new coach is hired. Alex Van Pelt, who is the Panthers' all-time leading passer and played for the Buffalo Bills for nine years, has contacted Long to let him know he's very interested in being a part of the new coach's staff.'

Marker Vincent's new job [4:50 AM]
AP reports: 'As a favor, Vincent asked Gray to design some plays in which the free safety would blitz, something the Bills didn't do with rookie starter Rashad Baker. Gray obliged and called Vincent's number on the first play against Cleveland. Vincent responded with a sack. "I didn't think he was going to start the game with it. At least let me get my feet wet and put me back deep," Vincent said, laughing.'

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December 16, 2004

Marker Clements Misses Another Day Of Practice [4:38 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'You have to wonder if it's worse than Mike Mularkey is letting on.'

Marker Bills offense suddenly clicking at prolific pace [4:37 PM]
AP reports: 'The old knock against the Bills offense was that its ineptitude was placing too much of a burden on the defense to keep the game close. Now, it doesn't seem to matter how many points opponents score. The Bills offense is suddenly believing it can keep up with anyone.'

Marker Bills OT Williams upgraded to probable [4:36 PM]
AP reports: 'Williams practiced for the second straight day Thursday, and his status was upgraded from questionable to probable. He was hurt in Buffalo's 42-32 win at Miami on Dec. 5, and missed last weekend's game against Cleveland.'

Marker Playoff Atmosphere Expected this Week [2:34 PM] reports: 'The Bills have scored a record amount of points in the past four games. The offense is just rolling and doesn't show any signs of slowing down. Drew Bledsoe is going to have a big challenge against the Bengals corners. The defense may be ranked in the mid-20s in the league, but they can make big plays and cause a lot of turnovers. Drew needs to be aware of where those guys are and how they break on the ball. Eric Moulds and Lee Evans are going to have to get open and beat the corners. If Eric and Lee get open early, it may cause the Bengals to commit more defenders to the pass which should open lanes for Willis McGahee. Buffalo should be able to keep a balance on offense and should be able to score some points.'

Marker Stayin' Alive [2:33 PM]
WOKR-TV reports: 'Bills 27 Bengals 20.'

Marker Spikes set for Queen City return [12:59 PM]
The Sports Network reports: '"He is everything people talk about," head coach Mike Mularkey said. "He's a disruptive player. He's a smart player. A physical and aggressive guy. I'm just glad he's on our side."'

Marker North Kentucky Backers Ready for Bengals [11:51 AM] reports: 'Vezina and the rest of the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati Bills Backers meet every week at Barleycorn's in Lakeside Park, KY. The restaurant makes sure that the club is comfortable for every game. "We have a loft area reserved just for the Bills Backers," Vezina said. "And there's also a big screen TV downstairs that usually has the Bengals game on, we'll be cheering if Buffalo does something great and half of the group tries to watch the Bengals game too. That place is probably going to be wild Sunday."'

Marker Big game hunting [10:36 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We know we're going to be tested," said Bills defensive backs coach Steve Szabo on Wednesday. "This is one of the better offenses we've faced."'

Marker Lewis has restored Bengals [10:08 AM]
Lockport Union Sun and Journal reports: '“We’re going to work our tails off in the rooms and practice field,” he said. “If we don’t win it, run out of time I should say, then we’ll come back we’ll find a way to do a little better next week, work a little harder, do it a little smarter and get after the next opponent."'

Marker Bills vs. Bengals Preview [8:54 AM] reports: This is the single biggest of game of the year for the Bills. Every game is a must win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive but this is the toughest one with the exception of the finale against Pittsburgh.

Marker Turnaround by Teague leads charge [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills have rushed for 133 yards a game since Teague came back from a four-week absence. They've allowed only eight sacks in those six games and scored 30.3 points a game. It's no coincidence that Teague has been healthy and playing some of the best football of his seven-year career.'

Marker Palmer says he's out Sunday [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills, however, are wary of Kitna's ability to run a wider-ranging offense than Palmer. "What they've done offensively is give just enough to Carson to get his feet wet," Bills coach Mike Mularkey said. "I think they're grooming him to be a more efficient quarterback, but the experience and some of the things Kitna did . . . I know we'll be ready for him."'

Marker Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals [6:59 AM]
WIVB-TV reports: 'It will be a tough, hard fought, playoff-like game...but I see the Bills winning 31-24.'

Marker Battle-tested Bengals try Bills [6:58 AM] reports: '“Personnel wise, they’re the best defense we’ve played,” said Pro Bowl right tackle Willie Anderson. “I know we’re going to vote for their two big tackles for the Pro Bowl. I think everybody is. They’ve got speed on the outside, smart athletic linebackers, and their DBs are making plays.”'

Marker Spikes glad to return to where it all began [5:32 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: '"I appreciate the opportunity I was given to play as a Cincinnati Bengal. If I could take the days back, I wouldn't," he said. "Not only as a player, but as a person, it made me grow into the man I am now. I have no regrets or hard feelings. "It's a business. As much as you hate to say it - it's a kid's game you love to play - it's a business decision."'

Marker Thursday's Cincinnati Coverage [5:04 AM] reports:
Spikes glad to return to where it all began (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Support role is Kitna's star turn (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Palmer feels down, because he is out (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Braham listed as doubtful Sunday (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Kitna's back in business (Cincinnati Post)
Durable Braham could miss Sunday's game (Cincinnati Post)
Back in the saddle again (Dayton Daily News)
All-Pro Spikes all business (Columbus Dispatch)
Palmer expects to sit out (Columbus Dispatch)
Injured Palmer expects to miss game against Bills (AP)
Inside slant (CBS Sportsline)
Strategy and personnel (CBS Sportsline)
Notes, quotes (CBS Sportsline)
Battle-tested Bengals try Bills (
Lewis: Bengals better, but not there (
Palmer doubts he can go, eyes Giants (
Spikes lives to play do-or-die (
Wyche's comeback comes back (
Marvin Lewis News Conference (
John Kitna News Conference (
Bengals Weekly News Release (
Bills Weekly News Release (

Marker Bills' Fletcher packs a big punch [5:01 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"If guys didn't practice at a certain level, he was right there in his face," Rams coach Mike Martz said last month before St. Louis came to Buffalo to play Fletcher and the Bills. "He demanded it out of everybody, that everybody practiced like he did. There was no question, you lose somebody like London, that's going to affect you."'

Marker Banta should help Bills [5:00 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Banta can handle both punt and kick-snap duties. The 11-year pro, who has played with the Colts, Jets and Lions, was sitting at home in Chattanooga, Tenn., and keeping his skills sharp as best he could, waiting for a team to phone. "I got tired of snapping to a gym wall. It's fun to snap to somebody again," said Banta, who was released by Detroit during training camp. "You get that phone call and it's like, 'Yes.' Somebody finally wants you and you're joining a good team."'

Marker Sharper Bills still have a playoff pulse [4:59 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'The Bills have to beat out three of the four other contenders. Assuming Buffalo wins out to finish 10-6, here's how it could happen (listed in order of probability of falling out of the race)...'.

Marker Bills turn around, keep balance [4:58 AM]
USA Today reports: 'Playoffs or not, it is coming together well. "We are playing really good 'team' football," quarterback Drew Bledsoe says. "That's what's allowing us to win. ... All three phases can beat another team. If we put them all together, then we're really hard to deal with."'

Marker Inside slant [4:57 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"I keep thinking about what Coach (Jim) Mora once said: 'Playoffs?! Playoffs?!' We're not that good," defensive back Troy Vincent said. "We can't think that far ahead. We are exactly what our record says we are, 7-6. We can't think about post-season play. Our biggest challenge is this week. It's going to be a playoff-type atmosphere, because they're still in the hunt, too."'

Marker Strategy and personnel [4:56 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Meanwhile, steady long snapper Jon Dorenbos injured a knee covering a kick against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday and is day-to-day for the Bengals. Dorenbos was not able to practice on Wednesday and Banta started his crash course in getting used to working with punter/holder Brian Moorman and place-kicker Rian Lindell. Coach Mike Mularkey described the signing of the versatile Banta as "killing two birds with one stone," providing depth at two positions.'

Marker Notes, quotes [4:55 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Donahoe has mentioned often that he'd like to make Buffalo his last job.'

Marker The Bills To Face Kitna [4:54 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Jon Kitna gets the start. He led the Bengals to an 8-8 record last season.'

December 15, 2004

Marker Bills Gear Up For Bengals [9:29 PM] reports: 'Starting right tackle Mike Williams was back at practice Wednesday. Williams is listed at questionable with a knee injury. Long snapper Jon Dorenbos did not practice and is listed as questionable with a knee injury he sustained last week against Cleveland. Corner Nate Clements was held out of practice with a shoulder, he is probable.'

Marker Bills LB Spikes fired up for first trip back to Cincinnati [9:28 PM]
AP reports: '''I think the biggest thing with me is I'm just going to have to get past the first five minutes,'' Spikes said. ''But other than that, I'm not holding anything back. I'm just going to let it go.'''

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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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