What if Johnson could have outplayed Manning? [9:11 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If Indianapolis' hair-raising, 18-16, last-play victory over Buffalo could be distilled down to one essential factor, it would be this: Johnson, for all his skills, is not yet up to winning a war of nerves against the Colts' wonder quarterback, Peyton Manning.'
Colts' Big Three figures out way to win [9:10 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Sunday's 18-16 win over the Buffalo Bills was a case in point. It wasn't the greatest day for the Colts' triplets. But when a pass needed to be completed, when a clutch run or catch had to be executed, they delivered.'
Christie denied chance to pad lead [9:09 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Kicker Steve Christie kicked three field goals in the first half, but he was miffed when coach Wade Phillips declined to attempt another on fourth-and-6 from the Colts' 29 with about four minutes left in the third quarter and the Bills leading, 9-7. After Christie and holder Chris Mohr took a few steps onto the field for the 46-yard field-goal attempt, Phillips waved them back because he wanted to go for the first down. Christie threw up his hands and ripped off his helmet. "I told (special teams coach) Ronnie (Jones) I was ready to go, and Ronnie called for the field goal," Christie said. "But then Wade overruled him and kept us off. I was ready to go. "He said we were going for it and that was it. His call. I'll just leave it at that."'
Monday billboard [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Unsung Heroes: The Colts' defense. In spite of giving up the 40-yard TD pass, they held Buffalo to three field goals on first-half trips into the red zone, keeping the offense within striking distance the entire game.'
Thurman's mouth warming up for Bills [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Thurman Thomas fired the first salvos in his upcoming battle with the Buffalo Bills, who visit his new team, the Miami Dolphins, on Sunday. In an interview with the Miami Herald published today, the Bills' all-time leading rusher said he is itching to beat his former teammates in Miami. And he said he's especially eager to take a few legal shots at a few teammates with whom he is unhappy.'
He wants to 'stick it to' Bills [7:42 AM]
Miami Herald reports: "But there are some other guys on that team and some other people in that organization I [Thurman Thomas] will not speak to or shake hands with. Those guys and the organization as a whole, every time I get the ball, I'm going to try to stick it [to them] and let them know I haven't forgotten what happened this offseason."...he has particularly strong enmity for three defensive players. Defensive end Phil Hansen, linebacker John Holecek and safety Henry Jones.'
Colts conquer Bills [7:31 AM]
USA Today reports: '"There was one minute, three seconds left," tailback Edgerrin James recalled of the drive that began at the Colts' 31. "That's way too much time for us."'
Christie denied chance to give Bills a leg up [6:37 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'But yesterday, under sublime conditions at Ralph Wilson Stadium, in a game decided by just two points, 18-16 in favour of the Colts, Bills' head coach Wade Phillips passed up a 46-yard Christie attempt as the third quarter wound down, choosing unsuccessfully to leave quarterback Rob Johnson in on fourth-and-six from the Colts 29. A confused Johnson looking desperately to the sidelines, finally lined up in the shotgun, fumbling with the play-call. The clock ran out. The Bills were backed up another five yards, making it potentially a 51-yard attempt, still within Christie's range. Instead, Chris Mohr hoofed a 34-yard punt deep into the endzone. The 12th man was angry. Fans booed. The Colts took over on their own 20 and marched 80 yards in 4:31 for the go-ahead touchdown, a 10-yard pass from Peyton Manning to Terrence Wilkins. They added a disputed two-point conversion, challenged by the Bills. "It was in-between as far as a field goal goes," Phillips explained. "It was fourth and four (sic). I thought we'd go for it. There was still plenty of time. A touchdown would have put them away." Actually, Wade, it was fourth and six. "I told (special teams coach) Ronnie (Jones), I was ready to go," an obviously disappointed Christie said. "But it's (Phillips) call."'
Colts jolt Bills [6:35 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Leading 9-7, the Bills had marched the ball into Colts territory and facing a fourth down and six from the Colts 29, helmet on, Christie looked for the signal for what would have been a 46-yard field goal attempt. Instead, Bills coach Wade Phillips opted to go for a first down, an ill-fated decision that looked sicker when quarterback Rob Johnson let the play-clock expire resulting in a delay of game penalty to force a punt.
"I said 'yes' (to special teams coach Ronnie Jones to go for a field goal) and Ronnie looked at Wade and Wade said no," Christie said, shrugging his shoulders. "He said `We're going for it.' It's his call. That's why he's the head coach, let's leave it at that."'
Bills seeing red after missed scoring chances [6:33 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Through three quarters, the Bills had hogged the ball for 29 minutes and 56 seconds leaving it to the Colts for just 15:04. "It was tough early, but we hung in there," said Manning, who keyed a last-minute drive to set up Mike Vanderjagt's 45-yard field goal for a 18-16 win as time expired. "We made just enough plays to win the game."'
Young Colts play with great poise [6:32 AM]
Toronto Globe & Mail reports: 'The Bills were the better team throughout most of the game, which was far more entertaining than the low score would suggest. They fell short in the most crucial area -- finishing off drives. The only time they managed to find the end zone was when they absolutely needed to.'
Vanderjagt kick a pain to Bills [6:31 AM]
Albany Times Union reports: 'Bills center Jerry Ostroski spoke as though he were ready to apologize to his defensive mates. "I feel bad," Ostroski said. "I don't even want to look our defense in the eye. It's a damn joke. Our defense held that team to 18 points. That's the second week in a row that our defense played lights out."'
From joy to heartbreak with just 1 Colts kick [5:12 AM]
D and C reports: 'You guys (the media) cloud the issues all the time," Ostroski said. "All that matters is that we have more wins, that's it. If you win in this league, you're successful; if you don't win, you're not, you're yesterday's news. "Personally, I don't give a damn about the running game. We didn't run it a lick in the first two games and we won both. I felt a hell of a lot better after those two games than I do right now."'
Bills amass more yardage but lose on points [5:10 AM]
D and C reports: '"They made more plays than we did, it's as simple as that," free safety Keion Carpenter said. "You can say it's a good day holding them to whatever points, but obviously it wasn't enough. We lost." The Bills' won the numbers game, but the Colts won the game because of more big plays. They were 2-for-2 in the red zone (inside the 20), with Manning firing two touchdown passes.'
Bills ensnared in Red Zone [5:09 AM]
D and C reports: 'In order to win, teams have to score touchdowns, not field goals, in the Red Zone.'
Notes on Bills/Colts game [5:08 AM]
D and C reports: 'Phillips eschewing the field goal in the third quarter might have been one of his most dubious decisions in his Bills' tenure. The Bills were leading 9-7 and Christie -- who had already made three field goals -- would have had about a 47-yarder to make it 12-7. Maybe Christie would have missed, but maybe he would have made it and those three points could have been the difference.'
Prepared for victory [4:46 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'With time winding down and no room for error, the Manning-led offense turned preparation into production. It needed just seven plays and less than a minute to maneuver into position for Mike Vanderjagt's 45-yard field goal as time expired.'
Colts deserve extra credit for this one [4:45 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'Really, this one should count double. Because it wasn't enough for the Indianapolis Colts to beat the Buffalo Bills once Sunday. They had to do it twice. With 2 minutes to play, they had them beat. And when that was wiped away, they went out and beat them again in the final seconds.'
Vanderjagt's wind-aided appeal pays off [4:44 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'Vanderjagt meandered up to Jim Mora in the locker room and informed the Colts' coach it would be a good idea for the team to kick into the wind in the third quarter. " . . . So in the fourth quarter when I kick a game-winner, we'll have the wind," Vanderjagt said, retelling his brief dialogue with Mora. So, in the fourth quarter, with the wind at his back, Vanderjagt did precisely that. His 45-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Colts to an 18-16 victory over the Bills.'
Manning can show a little mobility when it's necessary [4:43 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'Though the new wave of quarterbacks -- led by Daunte Culpepper, Cade McNown, Donovan McNabb, Shaun King and Akili Smith -- all are superior runners, none even approaches Manning as a quarterback. Even so, Manning has added a little mobility to his game. He'll run when he must. Only then does he resemble a dinosaur.'
Defense's timely plays save the day [4:41 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'Though Buffalo came out hot, racking up 164 total yards on its first three offensive possessions, the Colts kept the Bills out of the end zone. In the process, they prevented the Bills from building a more sizable lead than 9-0, and made life that much more bearable for the offense, which recovered from a sloppy start to post an 18-16 victory on Sunday.'
Plan backfires: Buffalo QB feels the pressure [4:40 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'All week long the Buffalo Bills talked about the importance of putting pressure on the passer. Come Sunday, most of it was on theirs. For the second consecutive game, the Indianapolis defensive front came hard and often. It sacked Rob Johnson four times and helped the Colts to an 18-16 victory. Often as not, it was rookie linebacker Marcus Washington chasing Johnson around Ralph Wilson Stadium.'
Missed opportunities haunt Bills [4:38 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: '"Things could happen. Could've, should've, would've," Moulds said with a grimace. "We can't live like that. We've got to go down there and score points."'
At the stadium [4:37 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'Buffalo fans are among the most avid tailgaters in the NFL, and have been for more than two decades. A parking lot adjacent to Ralph Wilson Stadium starts filling up with motor homes on Friday night and is packed hours before the game starts.'
Report card [4:35 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'The Bills thoroughly dominated the statistics. They outrushed the Colts 170-81, out-passed them 215-184 and held the ball nearly 12 minutes longer. Buffalo also drove 80 yards for what could've been the game-winning touchdown with 1:08 left. In the face of all that, the Colts simply found a way, coming up with just enough plays at critical times to beat another quality team on the road.'
Stats not all [4:34 AM]
Fox Sports reports: 'Buffalo wracked up 385 offensive yards (the Colts had 265), quarterback Rob Johnson outthrew Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning (246 yards to 187) and the Bills outran the Colts, 170-81, but Manning and the Colts prevailed, 18-16, on a last-play field goal by Mike Vanderjagt.'
They like Mike [4:32 AM]
Fox Sports reports: '"It was a big finish, but we expected to do that," said running back Edgerrin James. "The problem (for Buffalo) is that they gave us too much time. If there were only 14 or 15 seconds, OK, but what did we have a minute something (actually 63 seconds), and that's plenty of time for us. "Besides, we got the coolest kicker in the NFL by far. He's cocky and he knows what he's doing. He's one of those kickers who knows exactly what he's going to do. That's a chip shot for him."'
Colts 18, Bills 16 [4:51 PM]
AP reports: 'Peyton Manning showed the Buffalo Bills offense how to get it done in the red zone and in the clutch.'
Colts 18, Bills 16 [4:45 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Peyton Manning showed his poise, Edgerrin James made the big plays and Mike Vanderjagt boomed the winning field goal.'
Bennett heads back to Buffalo, again [10:38 AM]
Anderson Herald Bulletin reports: 'The fans will still not boo him Sunday during introductions. He meant too much to them for too long for them to do that. With the more recent departure of stalwarts Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed from the Bills' Super Bowl years, familiar faces are tougher to come by. "We made (game days at Rich Stadium) special," Bennett said. "When I played there we had some special guys, but I thought we did a great job making it a special place." But now, the Bills and Colts are fighting the New York Jets for supremacy in the AFC East. It is still difficult to win at Rich Stadium, but that is what Bennett is about this weekend. Forget sentimentality. "It's another game. There's always going to be great memories, but right now I'm just still trying to get better and help this team win football games," he said. "That's about all it means now."'
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