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Buffalo Bills News - December 18, 2001

Marker Bills' attendance drops 9 percent [10:49 AM]
Buffalo Business First reports: The Buffalo Bills have concluded the home portion of the NFL schedule and as the losses mounted, attendance fell. The attendance figures are the lowest for the Bills since 1987 (437,187), a season which was interrupted by a strike by NFL players.

Marker Bryson ready to rush [9:14 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm glad to be on the field any time," he said. "I just want to help the team win some games."'

Marker Team shakes its head over obscure rule [9:13 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Just to say the ball is dead because he's asleep on the sideline, I don't understand that."'

Marker Fans decrease as losses increase [5:20 AM]
D and C reports: '"I'm not worried about the crowds," he said. "We're going to really get better over the next two or three years with Tom (Donahoe) and our drafting crew. I'm very optimistic. "I'm not just saying this. We have some good young players that'll improve, some that won't and they'll be gone. But with another draft and maybe two, we're going to get much better."'

Marker A day later, loss and referee's call still stings [5:19 AM]
D and C reports: '"We understand the interpretation and how it was interpreted, but the thing is there's a lot of interpretation in that rule, it's tough in the possession part of it," Williams said. "There will be a lot of discussion the rest of the season and into the off-season on that type of thing."'

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December 17, 2001

Marker Bills still can't get over fumble ruling [9:02 PM]
AP reports: '"Sometimes when we think the breaks are going to go our way, there's always something. They come out with a rule like this to take it away from us. It just takes the breath out of your team."'

Marker Bills lose controversial OT game to Pats [3:02 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: The controversy arose with the game tied at 9-9 and 5:05 into overtime, as David Patten was hit along the sideline by Keion Carpenter after making a 13-yard catch at the Buffalo 42, and apparently fumbled the football with Nate Clements recovering. However, after a lengthy review, the referees ruled after watching the replay that Patten's helmet hit out of bounds, nullifying the fumble, and allowing New England to keep possession, which eventually led to the game-winning 23-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri with 5:45 gone in overtime.

Marker 5th Down: Trade a rule for a rivalry [3:00 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: All week, we?re going to hear on talk radio how the NFL officials are out to get the Buffalo Bills. We?re going to hear that pro sports leagues hate small-market Buffalo. That?s why the Sabres lost the Stanley Cup. That?s why the Bills have so many tough calls against them.

Marker Beleagured Bills bow to a Pat hand [1:28 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'They didn't surrender a touchdown, they forced two turnovers and they logged five sacks. But the controversial takeaway they didn't get and what may have been an ill-considered decision not to challenge a potential touchdown conspired to hand the Bills a 12-9 overtime loss to the New England Patriots before 45,527 curious observers.'

Marker Pats took advantage of lucky bounce [1:27 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'But luck is only half the story in this world. Luck only opens the door, presents an opportunity. It's your job to do the rest, to walk through and take advantage of your good fortune.'

Marker Upon further review, Bills lose another one [9:12 AM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'One minute, it looked as if the Buffalo Bills were on their way to a rare highlight in a dismal season -- a win over a legitimate playoff contender. But one loooong replay review and one broken tackle later, the Bills left the field shaking their heads for the 11th time in 13 games. Nate Clements' apparent recovery of New England wide receiver David Patten's fumble seemed to give Buffalo the ball at its own 42-yard line with 9:50 remaining in overtime. After consulting the replay monitor and huddling with his crew, though, referee Mike Carey ruled that because Patten's head was out of bounds and the ball touched his leg before Clements grabbed the ball, the Patriots kept possession. On the next play, former Buffalo running back Antowain Smith broke out of Bills linebacker Jay Foreman's arms in the backfield, cut to the right and sprinted down the sideline. Antoine Winfield's tackle saved a touchdown, but one play later, Adam Vinatieri's 23-yard field goal, his fourth of the game, gave New England a 12-9 win. Rule 3, Section C, Article 2, Paragraph C of the National Football League rule book reads: "The ball is out of bounds when ... a loose ball touches a boundary line or anything on or outside such line." No one aside from the officials knew of that clause after Carey made the call.'

Marker After further review: Bills lose [9:11 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"For some reason, the ball doesn't bounce your way as many times when you have the kind of record we have," said fullback Larry Centers.'

Marker Bills learn to expect the worst [9:10 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But Sunday's loss will be harder to take than the others because it was the result of a rule no one had ever seen or heard of.'

Marker Luck pays a visit, Pats make it stay [9:09 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I feel very fortunate to sneak out of here with a win, especially with the call on the field going in our favor. We've got to have a little luck somewhere along the way."'

Marker Defensive backs' hit parade bodes well for future [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Maybe it's the holiday spirit, but can't there be times in a 2-11 season when you have positive feelings after a loss?'

Marker Offense plays it again (and again) [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'There's more variety in the pope's closet than in the shamefully predictable "We're Toast" attack offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard flung at the Patriots, who could have - and probably did - defend Sheppard's game plan in their sleep.'

Marker Underneath it all, Smerlas is still a Bill [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"When I was in New England, I took my shirt off and my shoulder pads off and I had a Buffalo Bills jersey on underneath," he recalled. "The guy that just happened to stand next to me said, "No matter what uniform you put on you'll still be a Buffalo Bill underneath.' I thought that was kind of fitting."'

Marker Monday billboard [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Quote of the Day: When Brady was asked if he was woozy after getting his helmet knocked off, he shook his head: "No. Who was it, (No.) 22, who hit me? He's a little guy."'

Marker One more heartbreaker [6:25 AM]
D and C reports: '"Losses are losses, I don't know how you qualify them, they're all difficult," Donahoe said. "We haven't had many things go our way this year and sometimes that's just the way it goes."'

Marker Smerlas can relate to this year's team [6:24 AM]
D and C reports: '"Making plays, that's all great. Kicking someone's butt, that's all great," Smerlas said. "But to have the memories of all the great people I met here, that's what made football special for me."'

Marker Making a big mess of the rules [6:23 AM]
D and C reports: 'No one has ever seen a play like that. Hopefully, we never will again.'

Marker Hard-hitting defense deserved to win [6:22 AM]
D and C reports: 'For the second time this season, they made New England quarterback Tom Brady play like Marcia Brady.'

Marker Bills report card [6:21 AM]
D and C reports: 'A good effort by a calm-and-cool Gregg Williams against the wily Bill Belichick. Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray did a nice job juggling his unit in the face of injuries in this epic battle of field goal kickers. Another tough loss but hey, the Bills are back in the race for the No. 2 draft pick.'

Marker Patriots replay favour [6:20 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Bless the young, injury-riddled Bills for playing hard and hitting harder, but there was little entertainment yesterday outside of the Buffalo Jills cheerleaders dolled up as elves. The first two quarters featured nine punts and three field-goal attempts (one missed). Fear sweeping through the empty seats was that a soccer game might break out.'

Marker Bills find another way to fold [6:19 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'The latest chapter in the voluminous collection of Buffalo heartbreak classics was written here yesterday, giving western New Yorkers yet another story to cry over into their Genesees.'

Marker Favorable review [6:18 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'After all, four of the Patriots' last five games against the Bills have gone to overtime.'

Marker Defense earns points by being stingy [6:17 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'It's been said that if you score, you may win, but if your opponent doesn't score, you can't lose.'

Marker Still tackling job with enthusiasm [6:16 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'The sight of Tom Brady's helmet spinning like a top near midfield was proof enough yesterday to something every Buffalo player will profess: the Bills have not given up.'

Marker After crucial play, Bills left unsettled [6:16 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '''Our guys play hard,'' first-year Bills coach Gregg Williams said. ''And that's a reflection of when these two teams have played here. Five of the last seven times ... these two teams have played, it's been tough, hard-nosed football.'''

Marker For Smith, better late than never [6:15 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '''Their defense did a good job of reading where the run was going,'' center Damien Woody said. ''Antowain just didn't stop on the play, reversed field, and it was wide open. That was huge.'''

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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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