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Buffalo Bills News - August 31, 2001

Marker NFL Referees can make even Marv Levy curse [9:38 AM]
USA Today reports: As the final preseason week of games began Thursday night, all eyes were on NFL replacement officials. If the lockout and bargaining impasse continue, this could get interesting.

"The type of player who thinks he can benefit from intimidation will be encouraged by this," Levy said. "It's like the (substitute teacher). Twenty-five kids are well-behaved, the other five look for vulnerability."

Marker Steelers-Bills Stats [9:15 AM] reports: Game stats from pre-season game.

Marker Bills bring new flavor - vanilla - to Heinz [9:13 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If giving the New Orleans Saints little to fear was the Buffalo Bills' mission Thursday night, they were a smashing success.'

Marker Clements could rev up return game [9:12 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It looks like rookie Nate Clements may hold the key to dramatic improvement in the return game for the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have kept their prize rookie under wraps on returns most of the preseason. But Clements gave a glimpse of his potential on kickoff returns Thursday when he had a 42-yard return in the third quarter. The Bills are trying to rebound from last season when they ranked 31st in the NFL in kickoff returns.'

Marker Steelers finish preseason with shutout of Buffalo [9:11 AM]
Beaver County Times reports: '"The first offense, and the first defense, I was very pleased with how they played," said Coach Bill Cowher.'

Marker Replacement refs hardly noticeable [9:10 AM]
Beaver County Times reports: '"It was pretty good," quarterback Kordell Stewart said. "They made a few mistakes, and the fans got on them a little bit. But there was not much of a difference on the field."'

Marker Donahoe quiet during return [9:08 AM]
Beaver County Times reports: 'Donahoe, who's in his first year as vice-president and general manager of the Buffalo Bills, declined to be interviewed Thursday night at Heinz Field..."I wish Tom Donahoe the best of luck," Steeler running back Jerome Bettis said. "He's a good football man. I should know. He's the guy who brought me to Pittsburgh."'

Marker Steelers rip Bills to end preseason [9:07 AM]
Washington Observer Reporter reports: 'The Steelers secured the shutout in the second half with the benefit of two missed field goals by Buffalo's usually-reliable Steve Christie. Christie, who has struggled this preseason having made just 4-of-9 field goal attempts entering the game, missed attempts from 22 and 40 yards.'

Marker Stewart's start provides hope for '01 season [9:06 AM]
Washington Observer Reporter reports: 'Playing in the opening two series, Stewart completed 9-of-14 passes for 105 yards and led the team on a pair of long field goal drives.'

Marker Bills stumble into season [5:09 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills closed the preseason with a dreadful 20-0 loss to the Steelers as their West Coast offense remains stranded somewhere out in California.'

Marker Stillers vs. Bills Pre-season Post-game [4:45 AM] reports: 'The Stillers beat the hell out the Bills last night, 20-0, in a game that was not nearly as close as the score might indicate. Buffalo was never in this game; in the 1st half, the Stillers thrashed them on both sides of the ball.'

Marker Steelers' offense, defense shine in shut out of Buffalo in final preseason outing [4:42 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'It was a better game than Johnson had. Given the reins this year after two seasons of slugging it out with Doug Flutie, Johnson has not played well in the preseason, and he continued that way in the final game, completing 2 of 4 passes for 23 yards and having one intercepted by cornerback Deshea Townsend.'

Marker Vanilla offense drives long way [4:41 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'Against Buffalo last night, the Steelers started with two 12-play drives for field goals in the first quarter, putting them well on their way to a 20-0 victory at Heinz Field.'

Marker Martin's long look does little to settle backup QB question [4:39 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: '"We didn't move the ball as efficiently as I would like to. But it would be wrong of me to put it all on the quarterback."'

Marker For most part, replacement officials go unnoticed [4:38 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'If you ask me, the replacement officials -- it's popular to call them "scabs" in this town, isn't it? -- didn't look much different from the regular guys. In some ways, they were better. They didn't need even one of those tedious, annoying huddles to get their story straight.'

Marker Steeler Report [4:37 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'Jerome Bettis was the only healthy starter Coach Bill Cowher did not play last night, figuring The Bus had nothing to prove.'

Marker Steelers defense pitches shutout [4:36 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Sitting high above the field that he once thought would be his team's new home, Donahoe was at once proud and disheartened. Edwards (first round), Brown (seventh round) and running back Zereoue (third round) were members of the last rookie class drafted by Donahoe in 1999 before he was forced to resign.'

Marker Second-stringers headline Steelers' final preseason game [4:34 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Game 2 at the Mustard Bowl was, appropriately enough, a night for second-stringers. Second-string quarterbacks and second-string referees.'

Marker Steelers make effort to involve Burress [4:33 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Kordell Stewart looked for Burress on the Steelers' first snap. And again on their second. And again on their fourth. And yet again on third-and-2 from the Buffalo 3-yard line.'

Marker Bettis held out as safety precaution [4:31 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'The Buffalo Bills are extremely pleased with backup quarterback Alex Van Pelt, who has lost 13 pounds - down to 217 from 230 - and has proven to be adept at running the West Coast offense. Entering last night's game, Van Pelt had completed 29 of 47 passes for 275 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Van Pelt, 31, was an eighth-round draft choice of the Steelers in 1993.'

Marker Steelers 20, Bills 0 [4:28 AM]
AP reports: 'There's no quarterback controversy in Buffalo -- and, right now, not much offense, either.'

Marker Pittsburgh 20, Buffalo 0 [4:27 AM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Rob Johnson played only one series for Buffalo (2-2) and was 2-of-4 for 23 yards. Steve Christie missed field goals of 22 and 40 yards for the Bills. Alex Van Pelt replaced Johnson and was 4-of-7 for 25 yards.'

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August 30, 2001

Marker Triplets ready to lead Colts in AFC East [7:50 PM]
AP reports: 'Predictions: Indianapolis (11-5); Miami (10-6); N.Y. Jets (10-6); Buffalo (9-7); New England (6-10).'

Marker Ranking the NFL's 31 starting quarterbacks [6:30 PM]
ESPN reports: 17. RJ: Ah, now we're getting into more controversy. Obviously, he has to stay healthy and take fewer sacks. In terms of pure physical ability, Johnson has it all -- size, arm strength, accuracy, athleticism. Now, he must show up for 16 games and show what he's got.

Marker Bills Report: Inside Slant [2:50 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: Is the West Coast offense and a re-tooled offensive line the answers to keeping QB Rob Johnson healthy?

The players who have struggled the most in camp are the unit's most experienced and highest paid, left tackle John Fina and left guard Ruben Brown.

Marker Former Bill CB Ray Hill put on Patriots injured reserve list [2:23 PM]
AP reports: The Patriots put cornerback Ray Hill on the injured reserve list along with three other players.
Hill played for the Bills in 1998 & 1990 as well as for Miami in 1997 & 1999.

USA Today reports:
#3 Johnson. Without Flutie looking over his shoulder, he finally reaches the stardom long predicted for him.
#2 Improved special teams. Units cost Bills at least 3 wins last year so maybe they turn the tide.
#1 Nobody thinks they can and the Bills play the easiest schedule on paper in the NFL.

Marker Stillers vs. Bills Pre-game [1:56 PM] reports: 'All in all, the Bills have looked decent in pre-season but, of course, that means little.'

Marker Chris Mortensen on Bills RB's [12:58 PM]
ESPN reports: What is the progress of Travis Henry in Buffalo? Who do you think will be the starting RB for the Bills?

Chris Mortensen: Travis Henry has made a real run for the starting job, but I think the Bills will start off using all 3 backs - Henry (the most potential but still inexperienced in the passing game), Sammy Morris (tough, can catch) and Shawn Bryson (speed, catches).

Marker Pompei's Picks - Bills #3 in AFC East [12:50 PM]
The Sporting News reports: 3 Bills. They lost some defensive firepower but still could have enough to be in the playoff hunt.

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09/13 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
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