Patriots Mailbag - Ask Nick [11:33 PM]
Boston.com reports: The more you watch Tedy Bruschi, the more you realize how important he is to the Patriots defense. In the Kansas City game that he missed, the Chiefs were able to score at will and part of the reason is because the Patriots were lacking Bruschi's fire in the middle of the field.
Bruschi was scheduled to be out of this weekend's Buffalo game, and this is a huge loss for the Patriots. Bruschi makes up in pure desire and adrenaline wheat he lacks in physical size. That adrenaline is contagious to the rest of his defensive teammates. It will be interesting to see whether the Patriots defense struggles without that presence in the middle.
Bledsoe returns with Bills needing win [7:15 PM]
AP reports: '''I'd hoped all along that when we got to these games that they'd be important games from the standpoint of the playoff race,'' Bledsoe said. ''That's really turned out to be the case.'''
Bills' Robertson tests positive again [4:20 PM]
ESPN reports: Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Tyrone Robertson, who earlier this year served a four-game suspension for a repeat violation of the NFL substance abuse policy, has tested positive again and now will be banned for a year from the league.
For Pats, this is best time of the year [9:53 AM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: '‘‘The intensity goes up in December,'' said linebacker Roman Phifer, who played in his first playoff series last year after 13 years in the NFL. ‘‘There are so many teams in contention in our conference it's going to be like a playoff atmosphere. We must step up like we did a year ago.'''
Moulds, Law know each other all too well [9:37 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We're two competitive guys, competitive on the field but friends off the field," Law said. "We're both looking to push our teams to the next level. Every time we compete, hey, it's war out there but afterward, all said and done, may the best man and best team win."'
Gumbel warms to the task of Bills games, even if he hates cold [9:36 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'CBS' top play-by-play man and analyst Phil Simms will be calling their fifth Bills game of the season Sunday when they do the Bledsoe Bowl rematch with the New England Patriots for 65 percent of the country.'
Law not easy for Moulds to break [5:40 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Patriots have won four straight games against the Bills and in those games, Moulds has averaged just four catches for 38 yards and no TDs.'
Defensive lineman faces 1-year suspension [5:39 AM]
D and C reports: 'Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Tyrone Robertson has been suspended for a second time for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.'
Toronto the good for Bills defender [5:38 AM]
Toronto Star reports: '"Canadians are nice to a fault. Very cordial, very hospitable. They say, `Pardon me?' Instead of, `What'd you say,'" he says, curling his lip into a snarl. "Compared to Americans, who are kind of crass, they're polite and proper. I like that. It's nice."'
Answer is to keep them guessing [5:37 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Or do the Patriots, as another example, continue playing their ''Dollar'' (no down linemen) defense in an attempt to surprise the Bills because they might think Buffalo is probably thinking there's no way New England will try to confuse their inexperienced offensive line again with linebackers and defensive backs walking and talking amongst each other near the line of scrimmage, then seemingly improvising in their pass rushes/coverages?'
He's been a priceless addition for Buffalo [5:36 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '''Oh, yeah, he's good. He's not as big as Moulds or as physical, but he's fast and a really smooth athlete,'' Bill Belichick said of rising star Peerless Price, the Bills' fourth-year receiver who has the numbers (72 receptions, 1,020 yards, 9 touchdowns) but perhaps not yet the reputation to join his teammate in the Pro Bowl. ''He's a glider. He's a tremendous athlete who makes route-running look easy, effortless. ''He's a real polished receiver in addition to a real talented receiver.'''
Middle of the road [5:35 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The defensive keys to winning, according to Johnson: Stop the Bills on third down and stop their running game on every down.'
An AFC trend has reduced the risks of passing game [5:34 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The top 17 quarterbacks in the AFC have combined to throw 5,728 passes. Of those, 3,619 were completed -- 63 percent. Of the 2,109 that weren't caught, only 163 fell in the arms of the opposition.'
Belichick: All things considered, Simms should be Hall of Famer [5:33 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The first time the Patriots faced the Bills this season and won, 38-7, they exploited backup corner Chris Watson. He was playing in place of starter Antoine Winfield . Now Winfield's back and he's covered everyone from Wayne Chrebet to Santana Moss to Tony Gonzalez. He's better than Watson. He and fellow corner Nate Clements are a pretty good pair.'
Bills benefit if Bruschi's out [5:32 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'Bruschi's injury is considered significant because Bledsoe has completed 75 passes to his primary backs, Travis Henry and Larry Centers.'
Patriots’ no-name offense just works [5:31 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'As game day approaches, the Buffalo Bills are facing the unenviable task of trying to figure out what kind of offense the Patriots run. Good luck. The Patriots don’t even know themselves.'
Vrabel and Bruschi molded to fit [5:30 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: '"You’re not trying to transform a guy that you know that this just isn’t what he is," Belichick said. "Mike is not really a defensive end in this league so he needs to be a linebacker.I mean, Pittsburgh saw the same thing, and that is all he can be."'
NFL: Officials erred on Bills' TD call [8:32 PM]
Miami Herald reports: 'During a game, the back judge, who stands behind the secondary, is in charge of calling the delay of game penalty. The back judge looks at the clock and then looks to see if the ball has been snapped.'
Short passing game still key [8:31 PM]
Patriots.com reports: 'In the first game in early November a combination of good execution by the Patriots and poor tackling by the Bills allowed New England to rack up over 186 yards of offense after the catch. Tom Brady and company transformed what has been referred to as a "dink and dunk" offense into big plays and touchdowns.'
Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 12/06/2002 [8:30 PM]
Patriots.com reports: 'Q: What do you think Buffalo did well in the first game that they might want to go back to and do this game? BB: Well, let's just say what they think they did well. They said that they thought they moved the ball well, they just didn't score in the red zone. They said that they thought that they played pretty good defense, they made good on the screen passes. So there are two things right there that I'm sure they feel like they were close on a couple of kickoff returns. Those are some things right there that they said that they thought went pretty well, I guess a couple of things that didn't go well, they overrode them. Move the ball into the redzone, then you are not effective on offense.'
Bledsoe in big game on and off field [8:29 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '“I know that I still have a lot of fans out there and a lot of people appreciate what I did while I was there so it will probably be a mixed reaction (during the game). There will probably be some people that cheer for me. (But) during the course of the game I would expect the New England fans to do what they did the whole time I was there... which was to support their team.”'
Under Phillips, Falcons defense is for real [7:44 PM]
ESPN reports: In his first year with Atlanta, former Bills HC & DC Wade Phillips has the Falcons ranked in the league's top 10 in several defensive categories: Sacks (2nd), Interceptions (4th), Giveaway/Takeaway (6th), Forced fumbles (T8th)
2002 WNY H.S. Football All-Academic Team [3:28 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: For the 16th consecutive year the top high school football student-athletes in Western New York are being honored by the Buffalo Bills for their participation on the football field and in the classroom. All of the 41 scholar-athletes are seniors who played varsity football and have maintained an academic average of a 90 or above in their studies. The 2002 "All Academic Team" is co-sponsored by the WNY High School Sports newspaper.
Bills To Honor Three H.S. Football Teams Plus "Coach Of The Year" Prior To Dec. 15 Game [3:28 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: The Bills will honor three high school football championship teams from the region during pregame ceremonies prior to the Bills-San Diego Chargers game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, December 15. This is the eighth straight year that the Bills have honored the Harvard Cup championship team and any teams from the region that play in the NY State Championship games played in Syracuse.
Bills To Honor 11 WNY H.S. "Coach of the Week" Winners & Present the "Coach of th [3:27 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: ORCHARD PARK - The Buffalo Bills will honor the top 11 high school football coaches in Western New York on Sunday, December 15 when the coveted "Coach of the Year" award is presented during ceremonies at the Bills-San Diego game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Patriots to work magic? [1:18 PM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: 'The Pats were so dominant in the first meeting - a 38-7 victory in Orchard Park, N.Y., in November - that they are faced with an interesting quandary. Do they stick with what worked so well back then? Or do they try something new, figuring that the Bills won't get fooled twice by the same game plan? Or maybe the Bills will be expecting them to change, so the Pats could really trick them and do just what they did the last time.'
Hayes still trying to catch on with Patriots [1:17 PM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: 'Hayes' struggles this season have been well documented. Signed away from Carolina in the offseason, he was supposed to use his 6-foot-4 frame to provide Brady with a big target. Instead, he couldn't dislodge David Patten from the starting lineup and couldn't prevent rookie Deion Branch from assuming the No. 3 position.'
Bledsoe gets to see yard he helped build [10:32 AM]
Nashua Telegraph reports: '“We were a hot topic early and then we went on a little three-game slide that put us behind the eight ball,” Bledsoe said. “The bottom line is, we’ve just got to play better. Even in this last game (38-21 over Miami), we were fortunate to come away with a win. We still made too many mistakes, and made the kind of mistakes that will really hurt us against a team like the Patriots.”'
Wind can play tricks at Gillette Stadium [9:12 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'In old Foxboro Stadium, the wind ran up or down the field most of the time. It was either in a player's face or at his back. "In this (Gillette) stadium, it looks like as the wind increases it has a little bit of a swirling effect," New England coach Bill Belichick said. "It runs part of the way down the field at the open end, at the lighthouse end, but then it seems to quarter more toward from the home bench to the visiting bench.'
Brown is the man for Pats [9:11 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'Seattle ranks dead last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game and rushing yards per attempt, but Buffalo is not too much better than the Seahawks in either category. The Bills rank 31st overall in rushing yards per game and but 27th in yards per attempt. They cannot be feeling all that confident after Miami's Ricky Williams ran for 228 yards last Sunday in Buffalo. The Dolphins lost 38-21 despite the fact that Williams had touchdown runs of 45 and 55 yards.'
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