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Buffalo Bills News - December 27, 2004

Marker Do playoff teams have an obligation to try? [4:45 PM]
AP reports: 'In other words, what are the obligations of the Colts and Steelers? To ensure they are ready for the playoffs? Or to preserve the integrity of the playoff system by using their best players? In most cases, it's the former -- the ``Me First'' attitude.'

Marker Buffalo's playoff dream looks quite possible [4:15 PM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'But the fact that Jan. 2 will indeed matter, one way or the other, might be this Buffalo team's most remarkable accomplishment of all.'

Marker Bills on cusp of postseason [4:14 PM]
The Sports Network reports: '"This whole season has come down to one game for a long time," said Drew Bledsoe, who completed 21-of-32 passes for 172 yards with a touchdown. "We've been playing playoff games for months and we put ourselves in that situation by losing the first four. We took a big hit against the Patriots and had to bounce back from that and we've been playing for our lives for a long time and that's what we're doing this week also when we play the Steelers. If we win, then we've got a shot, if we don't, we're home."'

Marker LB Spikes keys Bills' playoff run [1:54 PM]
San Francisco Examiner reports: '"I love it to death that I have the Pro Bowls and everything. But if I wouldn't have got it I wouldn't trade it for the position I'm in right here," Spikes said. "This is what you come and play the game for. This is what it all boils down to."'

Marker An interesting week ahead for the Bills [12:08 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'This is going to be a fun week.'

Marker Playoff push may stop short for Panthers, Bills [12:04 PM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: 'The Bills' Mike Mularkey was on the hot seat by October, dropping five of his first six games as a head coach. They turned it around after a 29-6 loss at New England in Week 10. Trailing 10-0 to the Rams the following week, Buffalo rallied to win 37-17. The Bills havenít lost since, scoring 38 at Seattle, 42 at Miami, 37 vs. Cleveland, 33 at Cincinnati and 41 yesterday at San Francisco. They donít, as we say, control their own destiny. Instead, the Bills have to beat Pittsburgh and hope the Broncos lose to the Colts. The catch is, the Colts have no incentive to beat the Broncos, not at the risk of having Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James or even P Hunter Smith, for that matter, suffer an injury.'

Marker Two hot teams might not make playoffs [9:03 AM]
NFL.com reports: The Bills have won eight of their last nine and the Panthers have reeled off six of seven. Both are riding a huge wave of momentum as the last week of the season approaches, and that's a dangerous trait for a team to have.

Marker Californa gold rush [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It's easy to sit there and try to watch what's going on around you," Mularkey said. "To me that's just something you can't even let cross your mind because it does . . . not . . . matter. It doesn't matter unless we go out on the field and do our part."'

Marker No question: McGahee was ready to play [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I knew he was going to play early in the week," said center Trey Teague. "I mean, he didn't tell me for sure, but you can just tell by somebody's mannerisms if they're going to give it a shot."'

Marker Lethal receptions [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We just took advantage of the matchups that we had," said Evans, who finished with eight catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns. "We really got into rhythm with the no-huddle, and we were able to pick them apart and take our shots accordingly. Whether Drew (Bledsoe) was hitting me, Eric or someone else we just kept them off-balance."'

Marker Bills turn 49ers into Buffalo believers [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"This is probably the best football team coming in that we've played," Erickson said. "They physically got after us in all aspects of it. They are a very physical football team on defense and very physical offensively."'

Marker Defense comes close to blanking Niners [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Everybody is playing disciplined as far as their assignments, and when the defensive calls are made everyone is playing them out," said cornerback Nate Clements, who had one of the Bills three interceptions. "Every week we try to get three or more turnovers in every practice. When everybody is playing sound and playing together, it's hard to beat us. When everybody gets involved in forcing turnovers it becomes contagious."'

Marker Having a ball [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If the Bills make the playoffs, they should send a thank-you card to Houston owner Bob McNair. McNair chartered an extra-large plane so wives and family members could accompany his team to Jacksonville on Christmas Day. The Texans responded with a 21-0 victory, dropping the Jaguars a game back of Buffalo in the AFC standings.'

Marker Grading the Bills [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'When it mattered, Bills stopped the run. Niners had just 33 yards at halftime. Another day at the office.'

Marker A good Sunday for the Bills [8:41 AM]
Niagara Gazette reports: 'The Bills, who started the season with four straight losses, now have a six-game winning streak, their longest streak in 14 years.'

Marker Bills have gone other way since matching 49ers at 1-5 [6:58 AM]
San Francisco Chronicle reports: 'Although Buffalo lost 29-6, Milloy -- who was cut by the Patriots before the start of last season -- said New England represented the consistency the Bills wanted to achieve. They haven't lost since. "That was pretty much our wakeup call," said Milloy, who picked off Cody Pickett in the third quarter. "It wasn't like we came out of the block the week after that. We gradually got better. But we understand that if we wanted to get where we want to be, we'll have to beat them at some point in the season. We're working hard to get back to the point where we can play them."'

Marker Monday's San Francisco Coverage (Updated 1:45 p.m.) [6:57 AM]
TwoBillsDrive.com reports:
Pick of the litter (San Francisco Chronicle)
Bills have gone other way since matching 49ers at 1-5 (San Francisco Chronicle)
Where have all the good times gone? (San Francisco Chronicle)
One player's pumped up in 34-point loss (San Francisco Chronicle)
Game grades (San Francisco Chronicle)
Instant replay (San Francisco Chronicle)
Lack of appreciation (San Francisco Examiner)
LB Spikes keys Bills' playoff run (San Francisco Examiner)
Johnson's homecoming (San Francisco Examiner)
Pickett finally plays (San Francisco Examiner)
Making the Grade (San Francisco Examiner)
49ers finally win for losing (Contra Costa Times)
Cold, hard facts -- 49ers leave little to appreciate (Contra Costa Times)
Looking forward to more of same (Contra Costa Times)
Lloyd's injury paves way for rookie receiver (Contra Costa Times)
Still the pain keeps falling (San Jose Mercury News)
Hospitable hosts (San Jose Mercury News)
Little sympathy for this sorry outfit (San Jose Mercury News)
Never say never: It's 49ers' worst ever (San Jose Mercury News)
Woods fares worse in tale of two receivers (San Jose Mercury News)
49ers rewind (San Jose Mercury News)
Few good signs at stadium (Sacramento Bee)
Ex-49er has fond memories of White (Sacramento Bee)
Rookies Woods, Pickett play (Sacramento Bee)
SF finally hits bottom (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Appreciate fans? Niners should beg for forgiveness (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Pickett-to-Woods incompletion typifies season (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Monster Bills pile up on 49ers (Oakland Tribune)
Rookie QB crosses Pickett line (Oakland Tribune)
No big rookie numbers for Woods (Oakland Tribune)
Pickett Makes Debut Against Bills (SF49ers.com)
Williams Has Big Day; Injury Report (SF49ers.com)

Marker Door still open for the Bills [5:05 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"We were playing a team that has struggled this year and we wanted to make sure there wasn't a lull and we didn't take them lightly," Buffalo center Trey Teague said. "There's always a team in this situation that overlooks somebody and loses, and we didn't want that to be us."'

Marker Bills earn kudos for turnaround [5:04 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'But it is a testament to the Bills' character, talent, focus and resolve that they have reached Week 17 with a legitimate chance to make the playoffs.'

Marker How the West was won, sort of [5:03 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Really, why be angry with the NFC West? We should be sending those teams flowers and candy. Think about it. Would Buffalo's historic resurrection from the depths of 0-4 have been possible without the good fortune of four games against one of the weakest divisions in years?'

Marker Buffalo needs help in final week [5:02 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'If the season ended today, the Bills would fall short of the playoffs. But Buffalo can still make the playoffs with a win at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers (14-1) Sunday and a loss by either the New York Jets (10-5) or Denver Broncos (9-6).'

Marker Two-minute read [5:01 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '49ers QBs Ken Dorsey and Cody Pickett: The two young pros were taken to school, going a combined 9 of 20 for 109 yards, 0 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 3 sacks and a 22.7 rating. Gray's blitzes would've challenged the most experienced of players, and Dorsey and Pickett looked like two guys trying to run across five lanes of traffic at rush hour.'

Marker Report card [5:00 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'The fake punt when leading 20-0 was silly, but hey, you've got to do something to keep it interesting against yet another JV opponent.'

Marker Bills still in playoff picture [4:52 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"I knew what the scores were," Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe said in his post-game press conference. "But at the same time, you've got to do your job and go about your business. Otherwise it doesn't mean anything."'

Marker On The Brink Of The Playoffs [4:50 AM]
Erie Times News reports: 'The jolly old fat man delivered all four gifts on Sunday afternoon, making an improbable playoff appearance by the Buffalo Bills something that is extremely possible if two of three things occur next Sunday.'

Marker Bills won't fold in finale [4:50 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'I don't know if the Buffalo Bills make the AFC playoffs, but I know they should.'

Marker The Bills Take The Playoff Race To The Very End [4:49 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'The only reason the 49ers got on the board late was because Buffalo had its second team defense in.'

Marker Bills Rout San Francisco [4:47 AM]
RNews.com reports: 'The Bills scored 30 or more points for the sixth straight time.'

Marker Buffalo Closing in on Postseason Berth [4:45 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'The defense tied a record for most turnovers in a six game span in NFL history with 26. Special teams threatened to score all day and gave the offense great field position throughout the game. The offense scored 41 points with two touchdowns coming from running back Willis McGahee. It was a complete team effort.'

Marker Team Wins In Dominating Fashion [4:44 AM]
BillsDaily.com reports: Another week, another dominating win, another solid performance by all three phases of the team. The offense moved the ball well while the defense forced four turnovers and the special teams gave them great field position with a few nice returns. Here are our position by position grades:

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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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